John Podhoretz: The Slaughter in Pittsburgh
The shooter is to blame.
The synagogue in Pittsburgh is called the Tree of Life. The name is a translation into English of the Hebrew phrase etz chaim. We sing those words as the Torah is put away on every Shabbat. They are words from the Book of Proverbs: “She is a tree of life for those that cling to her and all who do are happy.” The “she” in that sentence is “wisdom,” and the verse that precedes it is especially poignant in light of what has happened: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Today the paths of peace were befouled by a monstrous anti-Semite who stormed the Tree of Life shouting something about Jews needing to die as he murdered and injured and then shot at some cops for good measure.
In every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. In a classic act of anti-Semitic violence, which is what this is, Jews hear the echoes of every violent anti-Semitic act that has preceded it in history. And we hear those echoes because they are there. That which motivates Jew-hatred today is what has motivated it from time immemorial—the poisonously attractive idea that Jews need to be extirpated because our existence is an offense or a threat to an existing larger order. The blessing of Jewish life in America is that this notion has largely been consigned to the dregs from which today’s human malignancy rose. Despite the fact that most hate crimes in America are aimed at Jews, the actual number is vanishingly small—especially compared to France, from which Jews are now fleeing, and England, whose Labour Party is in the hands of an actual Jew-hater.
Because we are obliged by the sickness of our political culture to analyze every despicable event in a manner designed to confirm our priors, we have already, mere hours after the barbarity, sunk into a nauseating discussion about how much blame to assign to the president for this unspeakable act. The obvious answer is: None. Donald Trump should be assigned no such blame, even if the shooter were the president of the Donald Trump Fan Club, because he pulled no trigger and committed no crime. Period. To do that, to assign blame, is to whitewash the crime itself and the criminal’s responsibility for it. He becomes a cultural robot, seized by an evil collective unconscious that drove him to his crimes.
Based on the early evidence, the shooter was not only consumed with a hatred of Jews but possessed a kind of sneering contempt for Trump on the grounds that Trump was basically a Jewish agent or a Jew-lover himself. Trump can only be blamed for the murderous Jew-killing actions of someone who thought of him that way by people who are so consumed by hatred of him that there is nothing they won’t blame him for.
Ben Shapiro: Why We Cling To The Tree Of Life
In that Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday morning, the Jew-hating murderer rushed into a room in which a brit milah was taking place: a circumcision ceremony, a ceremony as old as the Jewish people, a ceremony welcoming an eight-day-old child into the community of the Jews. In other parts of the synagogue, different minyanim were reading the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac on a mountain.
Why would Jews continue to inaugurate children into the most targeted community in human history? Jewish destiny may be inescapable, but why embrace that destiny? The members of the Tree of Life Synagogue were shot to death in a synagogue. So why continue to cluster in synagogues, fulfilling age-old commandments, the elderly passing down their traditions to infants?
Because, as the Tree of Life Synagogue’s name attests, the Torah – the Jewish destiny – is a “tree of life for all those who cling to it.” (Proverbs 3:18) And we are enjoined to choose life. That, after all, is the story of Abraham and Isaac: a story not of God asking Abraham to kill his son, but a story of God asking if Abraham is willing to place his son in mortal danger in service to God – and God’s grace in saving Isaac thanks to Abraham’s commitment. That is the story of the Jewish people. That is the story members of the Tree of Life Synagogue were reading as they died al kiddush Hashem, in the sanctification of God’s name.
And that is the story of our civilization. An attack on the Tree of Life is an attack on all of us – those of us who wish to imbue our own children with a sense of Godliness in a dark world, a sense of eternal value in a society eating away at itself. Inside the sanctuary, all was peaceful on the Sabbath — until the gunshots rang out.
The only proper response is the same response Jews have given throughout time: to fight back. To stubbornly cling to that which stamps us with the image of God. To fight darkness with light, untruth with truth, and death with life.
Victor Rosenthal: Thoughts after a mass murder of Jews
I lived in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood for a few months when I was in grad school. It was a nice, safe, relatively friendly neighborhood.
Now it will be known as the site of the worst mass murder of Jews in US history.
Eleven are dead and numerous others wounded, including four responding police officers. The terrorist, Robert Bowers, as shown by this archive of social media posts, is apparently an obsessed Jew-hater, a Holocaust denier and a Nazi admirer. He appears to have become inflamed by the idea that liberal Jews were supporting uncontrolled immigration into the US (he mentions both Hispanics and Muslims), in particular the “migrant caravan” that is presently making its way through Mexico. Interestingly, Bowers criticized Donald Trump for being “a globalist, not a nationalist,” said that Trump was surrounded by Jews, and that he did not vote for him.
His decision to act seems to have been triggered by an event held in Pittsburgh by the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), an organization that once brought Jewish refugees out of Europe, but now works to resettle refugees from Syria, Central America, and even Africans in Tel Aviv.
There have been various, mostly predictable, popular responses to this atrocious act. Many, if not most, miss the point. So here is what I think:
This is nothing new. Synagogues and other Jewish institutions around the world and in the US are attacked all the time. Attacks in the US have been carried out by both neo-Nazi and Islamic extremists, and their number has been increasing along with polarization and anger in the country.
Bowers was “ideologically insane.” One common theme among extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists is that Jews, especially George Soros, are trying to destroy the “white race” in America by introducing non-white immigrants. They will then take over (although they are already in charge by means of controlling politicians, even Trump), or they will somehow make a lot of money out of the collapse of the nation. Bowers seems to have believed some version of this. Social media seems to feed this kind of insanity, which often erupts into violence.
The 11 Jews massacred on Saturday by a white supremacist gunman at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh have been identified.
The victims included:
– Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland, City of Pittsburgh
– Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township
– Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
– Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough
– Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
– David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil), of Squirrel Hill
– Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg
– Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice), of Wilkinsburg
– Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
– Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
Six other people — among them four police officers — were wounded in the attack.
GoFundMe has verified a contribution page for victims of the #PittsburghSynagogue
massacre. Contributions already coming in at rapid pace. Small point of light on a horribly bleak day. https://t.co/Fod8FrS3Y9
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) October 28, 2018
JPoist Editorial: There should be no Left or Right when Jews are massacred in America
There is no Right or Left when assessing the reasons for how the groundwork could have been paved for such a horrendous act as Saturday’s Pittsburgh massacre.
In the worst mass attack on Jews in US history, 11 people, most of them worshipers, were killed when a gunman, apparently poisoned with timeless anti-Jewish tropes and vitriol, entered the Etz Haim Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill suburb of Pittsburgh and opened fire. When he was eventually subdued by police, he declared “all these Jews need to die.”
The shooter, Robert Bowers, has an active life on alt-right and antisemitic social media platforms, where he frequently engaged in Jewish conspiracy theories and trolled Jewish groups.
As the tragedy unfolded and Israelis became aware of the news after Shabbat on Saturday night, there was a sense of experiencing a death in the family. Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett announced that he would depart immediately to Pittsburgh, meet the local community and participate in the funerals of those killed in the attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video message Saturday evening saying, “The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead. We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh.”
Opposition leaders like Avi Gabbay and Yair Lapid emphasized that although the attack took place in a Conservative synagogue, when Jews are targeted, the attacker is not looking at affiliations.
“If you are murdered for being Jewish, you are Jewish,” said Lapid, in a dig to those in Israel who do not recognize non-Orthodox Jewry as valid.
Seth Frantzman: A massacre in Pittsburgh
In 2012, someone spray-painted swastikas and other graffiti on two synagogues in Bangor, Maine, not far from where I was born. In 2013, someone drew swastikas on a Cape Cod synagogue in Hyannis, not far from where my mom lives. When I was in high school, there used to be a middle-aged man in Prescott, Arizona, who would hold a sign downtown blaming “the Jews” for a variety of crimes: global banking conspiracies, 9/11, the USS Liberty, etc.
I always thought these things aren’t really a threat. He’s a crazy guy with a sign, I thought. Yes, he hates the Jews, but he’s just ranting. Yes, there is some graffiti here and there. But the larger picture is that according to the FBI antisemitic incidents accounted for half of religious hate crimes in the US and 11% of all hate crimes in 2016.
The mass murder in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on Jews in US history, comes from this milieu. It came from a swamp of hatred that percolated online. We know this because the murderer, named as Robert Bowers by authorities, left behind a large trail of hatred on social media. The last target of his hatred was HIAS, which helps refugees. He was outraged that HIAS supported a “national refugee Shabbat.”
A post he made targeted ZOG, the “Zionist occupied government” as controlling America. The perpetrator also mocked “Christian conservatives” for liking Jewish people, claiming that Jews only care about themselves. He thought US President Donald Trump was “controlled” by Jews and being used to “control Whites.”
Bowers expressed a worldview, parts of which we’ve all become familiar with in the last few years which alleges that “globalists” are taking over America. Globalists is a stand-in for “Jews” often, a code word or “dog whistle.”
But Bowers believed that Trump was a globalist. Those he reposted wrote things like, “Stop the kikes, then worry about the Muslims.” They also hated Israel. “Refugees welcome to every nation, except Israel.” They were accusing Jews of bringing in refugees, while claiming Jews protect Israel from the same refugees. One article the perpetrator reposted noted “we gave them Jerusalem, they gave us ISIS,” with other references to America having recognized Israel, only for Jews to “give us anti-Christianity.” The racist posted photoshopped images of Auschwitz with the sign reading, “Lies make money” over the gate.
When we look at this worldview, what is striking is how it turns up in other forms, among other antisemites.
“Today’s Israelites are not real Jews,” one post says. Yes, we’ve seen that in other forms where Jews are called “fake Jews.” A Washington lawmaker was called a “fake Jew” in April at a rally. Bowers referred to a “kike infestation,” and it turns out Louis Farrakhan has claimed he’s not just “anti-semite” but “anti-termite.” Same terminology.
There is a city councilman in Washington, DC, who claimed the Rothschilds control the weather, which is the same kind of “dog whistle.” Recently, we also learned that some of those connected to an ostensibly “left-wing” pro-Palestine group in the UK mocked the Holocaust as the “muh Holocaust,” and noted that it was a “hoax.” The online milieu in which the Pittsburgh massacre was committed is a web that unites anti-Jewish racists.
In 1881, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was founded to assist Jews fleeing pogroms and violence in eastern Europe.
In 2018, a murderer killed 11 people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, citing his hatred of HIAS as justification for his heinous crime.
What has HIAS done in its 137 years of operation, and why did it motivate such horrific violence?
The organization has its roots on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a neighborhood which served as a hub and home for Jewish immigration for many decades. HIAS worked to facilitate the legal, financial and physical needs of Jewish immigrants arriving in the United States.
The organization offered language services, resettlement aid, hot meals, legal representation, job training and much more for new Jewish arrivals in the United States.
In 1905, according to The New York Times, HIAS offered aid to a Jewish family arriving from Poland who was told that their 10-year-old son was not fit to enter the country. In 1923, according to JTA, HIAS organized a mass protest against then-president Calvin Coolidge against the detention of 3,000 Jewish immigrants on Ellis Island who surpassed the immigration quota. After World War II ended, HIAS set about aiding and resettling the tens of thousands of displaced persons and refugees in Europe after the Holocaust. In 1967, HIAS aided thousands of Jews fleeing riots that broke out in Libya after the Six Day War.
For more than 100 years, HIAS has operated around the globe to bring Jewish refugees to safety. The organization estimates that it has aided “more than 4.5 million people escape persecution” since it was established. While HIAS’s operations have often centered around Eastern European Jews, it has also worked to help and rescue Jews in Egypt, Cuba, Morocco, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria and more.
In the wake of Saturday’s deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a team of volunteers from the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit of United Hatzalah of Israel will arrive in the cityon Sunday to provide aid to the community and the victims.
The United Hatzahal team is working in cooperation with the Diaspora Ministry and the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh to provide psychological assistance to those affected by the mass shooting, which claimed eleven lives.
“We are heading to Pittsburgh in order to treat those who witnessed the attack and anyone else from the community who feels the need for our assistance,” said Miriam Ballin, director of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, who is leading the team. “We will be utilizing techniques and tools that we have developed here in Israel and have proven to be highly successful in assisting those who have suffered from similar incidents here.”
The team will assist the families of those who were killed and injured in the shooting attack as well as providing psychological and emotional stabilization and treatment to anybody in the community who is in need.
“We hope that our work will give the community a sense of solidarity on behalf of the people of Israel,” Ballin added
Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett announced Saturday night that he would depart immediately to Pittsburgh following the shooting incident at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in which 11 people were murdered.
The minister will visit the scene of the attack, meet the local community and participate in the funerals of those killed in the attack.
“When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel pain,” Bennett said. “All Israel are responsible for one another the State of Israel is deeply pained by this terrible antisemitic murder. Our Jewish brothers and sisters came under a murderous attack while at prayer. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed, and we pray for the swift recovery of the injured, as we pray this is the last such event. Jewish blood is not free.”
Bennett said he would offer strength to the Pittsburgh Jewish community and its leaders and examine how Israel can offer assistance. As Diaspora Affairs Minister, Bennett has made a point of assisting American communities when tragedies have happened, including following last year’s Hurricane Harvey which caused flooding in Houston.
The weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday began with a minute of silence to honor the 11 Jewish worshipers killed in an anti-Semitic shooting attack a day earlier at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in the US state of Pennsylvania.
“It is hard to overstate the horror of a murder of Jews gathered in a synagogue on Shabbat, who were murdered just because they were Jews,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting, held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
“The entire people of Israel is mourning with the families of those murdered in the shocking massacre at the synagogue,” he said after the moment of silence was observed. “In my name and in the name of the people of Israel, I send our condolences to the grieving families. We all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.”
Noting that the shooting apparently constituted the “biggest anti-Semitic crime in American history,” Netanyahu added that Israel “stands in a united front with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, with the American Jewish public and with the American people. We stand together in a single front against anti-Semitism and these expressions of barbarity.”
The gunman, identified as Robert Bowers, is said to have yelled, “All Jews must die” as he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue, a Conservative congregation in the city, and began firing. He engaged in a shootout with responding police officers and barricaded himself inside the building before surrendering. In all, 11 people were killed and at least six wounded in the attack, at least four of them police officers, according to authorities.
Throughout Israel, the attack was greeted with expressions of shock and mourning.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who also serves as Israel’s minister for Diaspora affairs, announced late on Saturday that he was “flying tonight, as Minister of the Diaspora, to Pittsburgh to be with our sisters and brothers on their darkest hour. When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel the pain. Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters and with the entire American people.”
In an additional statement Sunday morning, Federal prosecutors revealed that the shooter sustained multiple gunshot wounds in a shootout with police, but was taken alive and is expected to recover.
Pittsburgh prosecutors have already charged the shooter with “11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation;” Federal prosecutors added an additional 26 charges including weapons offenses, incitement to violence, Federal firearm offenses, and U.S. civil rights violations.
“The actions of [the shooter] represent the worst of humanity. We are dedicating the entire resources of my office to this federal hate crime investigation and prosecution,” the U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania told reporters in a press conference Saturday night.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also announced Sunday that the Federal government may seek the death penalty against the shooter.
Authorities are still struggling to understand how the shooter selected the Tree of Life Synagogue, and how law enforcement missed signs the shooter may have been intending an attack. FBI officials, processing the crime scene and conducting an initial investigation, told reporters late Saturday that the shooter was unknown to law enforcement, though he appeared to have issued anti-Semitic threats, and posted in anti-Semitic online forums, regularly.
The shooter was allegedly known to have been virulently anti-Semitic, posting on Gab — a social media network designed to be a “Twitter alternative” — that organizations like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which helps Jewish refugees relocating from overseas, often from Communist countries, “like to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
He also expressed hatred for President Donald Trump, claiming the President was a puppet leader.
President Trump responded to the shooting late Saturday, calling it a ” wicked act of pure evil” and a “devastating situation.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Saturday released a statement thanking the FBI and Pittsburgh police in response to Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“Hatred and violence on the basis of religion can have no place in our society,” Jeff Sessions said. “Every American has the right to attend their house of worship in safety. Today 11 innocent people were suddenly and viciously murdered during religious services and several law enforcement officers were shot. These alleged crimes are reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation.”
He went on to say that Department of Justice will file hate crimes and other criminal charges against Robert Bowers, the defendant, including charges that could potentially lead to the death penalty.
“It has been an important week for us to show gratitude for the hard work of our law officers around the country,” Sessions said. “And today was no exception. I want to thank the FBI, ATF, Pittsburgh police, and especially the heroic officers who were so quick to respond to the shooting, including the multiple officers who were shot. These officers ran to danger to save others, which reflects the highest traditions of policing in this country. There can be no doubt that they saved lives today.”
The suspect in the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue told officers that Jews were committing genocide and that he wanted them all to die, according to a charging document made public early Sunday.
Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him, police said in the affidavit, which contained some previously unreported details on the shooting and the police response.
Calls began coming in to 911 from the synagogue just before 10 a.m. Saturday, reporting “they were being attacked,” the document said. Bowers shot one of the first two officers to respond in the hand, and the other was wounded by “shrapnel and broken glass.”
A tactical team found Bowers on the third floor, where he shot two officers multiple times, the affidavit said. One officer was described as critically wounded; the document did not describe the other officer’s condition.
Two other people in the synagogue, a man and a woman, were wounded by Bowers and were in stable condition, the document said.
Bowers told an officer while he was being treated for his injuries “that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people,” the affidavit said.
Robert Bowers, who was identified as the gunman who opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, reportedly killing 11 people and injuring others before being taken into custody, had a history of promoting anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant conspiracies and had called in the past to exterminate the Jews.
Bowers, a 46-year-old resident of Pittsburgh, is said to have yelled “All Jews must die” as he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue, a Conservative congregation, in the city and began firing.
He engaged in a shootout with responding police officers and barricaded himself inside the building before reportedly surrendering. Police say he was injured and crawling when he was taken into custody.
The suspect is in “fair condition” with multiple gunshot wounds, and is being treated at Allegheny General Hospital, according to Pittsburgh’s public safety director.
Bowers was an active poster on the social network Gab, which is considered by many to be a hub of the alt-right.
In the description on his account, Bowers wrote “jews are the children of satan.” The cover photo featured the neo-Nazi symbol “1488.” The first two numbers refer to the white supremacist “14 Words” slogan, while “88” stands for “Heil Hitler” since “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet.
Bowers last reported post read: “HIAS likes to bring invaders to kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
A website that hosted anti-Semitic posts apparently authored by the man who allegedly killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday said it was being forced offline following the attack.
Gab.com, which is popular with white nationalists and members of the so-called alt-right, said its hosting provider Joyent would be suspending its services as of Monday morning, while PayPal has also reportedly banned the site.
“Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this,” the site, which advertises itself as a “social network that champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online,” said on its Twitter account early Sunday.
“We will continue to fight for free expression and individual liberty online for all people. Big tech can not stop us. The mainstream media can not stop us. The People will defend freedom against tyranny as they always have and always will,” it tweeted.
It later said it was “back online.”
As news spread of the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Jews — and Americans of all backgrounds — across the country were reeling from the shock. With at least 11 confirmed casualties, the Anti-Defamation League “believe[s] this is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.”
The alleged gunman, a 46-year-old white male named Robert Bowers, shouted “All these Jews need to die,” according to reports.
As details continue to emerge about the shooting, JTA took a look at other times that U.S. Jewish institutions were targeted and the attackers’ affiliations.
1999 Los Angeles Jewish Community Center shooting
Date: Aug. 10, 1999
Dead: 0 in JCC, 1 nearby
Shooter’s affiliations: Neo-Nazi, white supremacist
2006 Seattle Jewish Federation shooting
Date: July 28, 2006
Shooter’s motivation: Muslim who said he was angry at Israel
2009 U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting
Date: June 10, 2009
Shooter’s affiliations: Neo-Nazi, white supremacist
2014 Overland Park JCC shooting
Date: April 13, 2014
Shooter’s affiliations: Neo-Nazi, white supremacist
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, along with other UN agencies, officials and experts tasked with combating racism, should join the EU, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and many others, and condemn today’s massacre of Jews praying in a Pittsburgh synagogue, said UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental human rights monitoring group.
As of 11:40 pm tonight in Geneva, the twitter accounts of both the UN human rights office and its chief Michelle Bachelet were silent on the Pittsburgh attack.
“At a time when Jews continue to be targeted worldwide, it’s vital that the UN’s top human rights official speaks out,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
“Sadly, as found by our recent report on UN actions over the past decade, the world body’s highest officials tasked with combating racism have failed to act against hatred, incitement and violence against Jews.”
“Our report’s findings were disturbing and clear: key UN agencies, officials and experts are, with limited exceptions, turning a blind eye to escalating antisemitism worldwide.”
For example, an examination of the 2014-2018 tenure of former UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al Hussein, which included a search of all of his statements, press releases and reports on the UN rights office website, found not a single stand-alone statement condemning anti-Jewish attacks or incitement.
Similarly, Navi Pillay, who served the longest as UN rights chief, from 2008 to 2014, also failed to speak out in the face of murderous physical attacks against Jews, including the 2012 massacre at a Toulouse Jewish school.
“Too often,” said Neuer, “it seems UN human rights bodies see racism everywhere, and antisemitism nowhere.”
U.S. President Donald Trump condemned “vile” anti-Semitism following a deadly mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue Saturday.
The president suggested the person responsible should face the death penalty.
“I think one thing we should do is we would stiffen up our laws with guns with the death penalty,” Trump said.
“When people do this they should get the death penalty.”
He said those responsible for such crimes should “pay the ultimate price” without having to wait “years and years.”
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sunday the gunman who stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 worshippers was a coward and the “poorest excuse for a man you could ever come up with.”
“If there is one person responsible, this individual, I won’t even call him a man, he was (the) poorest excuse for a man you could ever come up with, who would use a weapon in a house of worship on unarmed innocent people,” Mattis told a group of reporters traveling with him to Prague.
“This is a coward and he is not a man by any definition that we use in the Department of Defense,” Mattis said.
Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh, was taken into custody after a shootout with a SWAT team on Saturday. Federal prosecutors charged him with 29 criminal counts including violence and firearms offenses, and violating US civil rights laws.
“That is tough, on the neighborhood, on the members of that synagogue, on all of us who believe in freedom of religion, it is one of our most fundamental rights that our country was founded on,” Mattis said.
Pope Francis on Sunday called a deadly attack on a synagogue in the United States “an inhuman act of violence,” expressing his “closeness to the Jewish community.”
Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services before a tactical police team tracked him down, shot him and arrested him.
“We are all, in truth, wounded by this inhuman act of violence,” Francis said at the end of the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square.
“May the Lord help us put out the flames of hate that develop in our societies, strengthening the sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values and holy fear of God,” he said.
Francis has frequently spoken out against religiously inspired violence and has denounced the easy availability of guns, calling arms manufacturers the “merchants of death.”
In an unusual move, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar have all made official statements on Sunday condemning Saturday’s mass shooting in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The Palestinian Authority and Turkey also spoke out, calling it an act of terrorism.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington tweeted, “The Embassy expresses its sincere condolences to the American people and to families of victims of the violent incident at a synagogue in Pittsburgh today. Houses of worship are meant to provide safe and spiritual refuge. Those who desecrate their sanctity attack all humanity.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry said that it condemned “the shooting that targeted a synagogue” and “expresses its deep condolences to the victims’ families, wishing a speedy recovery to those injured as a result of this heinous act.
“The Ministry also affirms its support and solidarity with the United States, in all the measures it takes to ensure safety and security, reiterating the Kingdom’s firm stance against all forms of violence and extremism,” it said.
The state run Qatar News Agency said that Qatar “strongly condemns Pittsburgh shooting in Pennsylvania, in the United States, which resulted in several deaths and injuries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Qatar’s firm stance rejecting violence and criminality regardless of their motives and reasons.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called it an act of terrorism. “I condemn the terror attack against a Pittsburgh synagogue and extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the American people. Turkey unequivocally condemns all forms of terrorism in all parts of the world regardless of their targets,” Erdogan said.
It’s a particularly dangerous form of terrorism because it exists with the society itself and targets any who disagrees with it, the PA said.
PLO Ambassador Husan Zomlot, who heads the PA mission to the United Kingdom tweeted in English.
“This murderous attack is pure evil & must unite Jews, Christians and Muslims for an uncompromising fight against all forms of hatred and racism. My heart goes with the families of the victims and the American people,” Zomlot said.
I usually link to the pieces I call out. But I make special exceptions for the truly vile stuff.
Franklin Foer’s widely circulated Atlantic screed is the vilest media hot take on the Squirrel Hill synagogue shootings by a Neo-Nazi. It’s bad enough that the media is using the act of terrorism by a Trump-hating Neo-Nazi to smear Trump, Foer goes one step further by then using it to attack conservative and pro-Israel.
What better way to respond to the murder of Jews than with a blood libel.
Truly vile, as I said.
“After the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Gary Cohn couldn’t bring himself to resign from his job. After Squirrel Hill, Jared Kushner and Sheldon Adelson will likely stand their ground… Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.”
This is an actual blood libel.
How exactly have Kushner and Adelson placed their community in danger?
Foer, like the rest of the left, lets innuendo and hysteria stand in the place of actual facts or evidence. Meanwhile, when it comes to importing synagogue shooters and bombers, it’s the left that has done a fine job importing the Islamic terrorists, who when they target synagogues are defended by the left.
Foer has always been an execrable creature, but he’s somehow managed to blame Kushner and Adelson for a massacre committed by a Neo-Nazi. Such Neo-Nazi attacks predated Trump. They will unfortunately postdate him.
As will the vileness of leftists like Foer.
Jewish-American writer David Simon slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter, claiming Netanyahu aided US President Donald Trump to be elected and that, in turn, enabled the rise of American fascism.
In response to a tweet by Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett, who flew to Pittsburgh in support of the Jewish community, Simon wrote that the minister should “Go Home.”
“Netanyahu’s interventions in US politics aided in the election of Donald Trump,” wrote Simon, who argued that the US President provides “raw and relentless validation of white nationalism and fascism.”
Simon further wrote that “the American Jewish community is now bleeding at the hands of the Israeli Prime Minister.”
Disgraced Baroness Tonge, who was twice suspended from the Liberal Democrats over allegations of antisemitism and eventually resigned as pressure mounted, has suggested that the Israeli government bears some responsibility for today’s horrific far-right terrorist attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Her immediate response to the attack was to post on Facebook: “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi [as the Israeli Prime Minister is nicknamed] and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be re-igniting antisemitism? I suppose someone will say that it is antisemitic to say so?”
Attempting to blame the Jewish state for the actions of a neo-Nazi terrorist while, the bodies of his innocent victims are not yet cold, is utterly abhorrent.
We consider that Baroness Tonge’s ongoing membership of the House of Lords and the medical profession are stains on both institutions and we have formally complained to both the House of Lords and the General Medical Council in the past. The Liberal Democrats, which secured Baroness Tonge’s seat in the House of Lords must now campaign for her to be removed from the legislature and stripped of her title.
Baroness Tonge has a long history of using inflammatory, and sometimes antisemitic, language. In 2003 she compared conditions in Gaza to those in the Warsaw Ghetto, for which she was criticised by the chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. The following year, during a spate of suicide bombings targeting Jews in Israel, she said that she “might just consider becoming [a suicide bomber] myself” if she was a Palestinian. After her comments were condemned as “completely unacceptable” by her own Party leader, Charles Kennedy, she told the BBC that suicide bombers’ actions are “appalling and loathsome”. Two years later in 2006, she told a fringe meeting at her Party conference: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our Party.” Once again, her Party leader, then Sir Menzies Campbell, said that her comments had “clear antisemitic connotations”, but she was unapologetic.
In 2010, in response to an antisemitic blood libel alleging that Israeli soldiers providing aid in Haiti were secretly harvesting victims’ organs, Baroness Tonge suggested that Israel should conduct an inquiry to “clear the names of the team in Haiti”. The Party leader, who by then was Nick Clegg, called the comments “wrong, distasteful and provocative”, and removed her as the Party’s health spokesperson. In 2012, the situation worsened when Baroness Tonge told a group at Middlesex University: “Beware Israel. Israel is not going to be there forever in its present performance.” Party leader Nick Clegg challenged her to apologise or resign for her remarks, following which she resigned the Party whip.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Authority To Pay Lifetime Pension To Pittsburgh Shooter (satire)
President Abbas issued an official statement that stressed the location of the attack on Jews should in no way prejudice the payment policy against the perpetrator of the act, and that he will ensure that such an exception is specifically negated in the regulations governing those payments. “It would be a disservice to our resistance and their families to exclude such deeds from eligibility simply because they take place overseas,” the statement read.
Even before the release of the gunman’s identity by law enforcement, Abbas instructed his financial officials to discover the relevant information so that payment could be arranged as soon as possible. The fact that the killer was not Palestinian, stressed Abbas, should not be factor in his family’s eligibility for a pension. “The fact that this brave wielded a weapon and yelled, ‘All Jews must die!’ is enough,” he observed. Abbas added that it would constitute discrimination to reward attempts to kill Jews only in one part of the world.
The final amount Bowers will receive remains unknown, as several of the wounded may yet succumb. Aburdeineh explained that the payments reflect the simple calculus of how many Jews were killed by the attacker.
“We can’t encourage noble resistance if we equate all achievements,” he acknowledged. “Of course we have to scale the incentives to favor larger casualty figures. With the economic desperation hitting so many people, there’s bound to be someone who picks up the gauntlet for such a guaranteed lifetime income.” Aburdeineh disclosed that there had yet been no contact between Palestinian representatives and the shooter or his family, but that the establishment of direct ties was a matter of time. “We can even put him in contact with organizations that provide free legal defense in such cases,” he boasted. “The New Israel Fund provides support for a whole bevy of them.”
Israel will not accept any ultimatums from Hamas and its policy in Gaza will be dictated solely by its security interests, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu dismissed a demand by Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar, who reportedly urged Israel to pay Gaza’s rulers $15 million in cash every month or face an escalation in border violence and arson terrorism. “There is no way Israel will accept any ultimatum posed by Hamas,” Netanyahu said.
The terrorist group further demanded that the first payment be made by this Thursday, according to Channel 12 news.
According to the report, Sinwar said the funds would go toward paying Hamas functionaries’ wages. The demand seeks to circumvent the financial sanctions imposed on Gaza by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Ramallah-based government has frozen the transfer of funds used to pay Hamas’ wages as part of efforts to wrest control of Gaza from Hamas.
The cabinet was to discuss Hamas’ threats, as well as the recent border flare-up in its weekly session.
The Israeli Air Force bombed 80 terrorist targets in Gaza over the weekend, after Islamic Jihad terrorist fired some 40 rockets at southern Israel.
Oman publicly called on Middle East countries to accept Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday made a historic visit to the Arab Muslim state, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
In a speech he delivered at the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain, Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi said, “Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this. The world is also aware of this and maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as other states] and to also bear the same obligations.”
Netanyahu traveled to Oman at the invitation of the country’s leader, Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said, so that the two could discuss regional issues.
The visit, which was kept secret until after Netanyahu’s return to Israel on Friday, came just two days after a Palestinian delegation led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Oman. Abbas also met with Sultan Qaboos.
Oman is offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together but is not acting as mediator, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, told the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain.
Seth Frantzman: Oman visit only latest point of support for Israel
Across the region, Israel appears to be enjoying points of support. For instance, the visit to Muscat was celebrated in Omani media. Israel’s national anthem was also played in Doha during a sporting event, and Israeli athletes were recently in the UAE. Some voices in the Gulf are sharing the news online with obvious approval. The National in the UAE highlighted the visit and had a special photo gallery devoted to it, while noting that UAE ally Saudi Arabia had stressed that “Iran is the primary driver of instability in the region.”
The subtle message was that Iran is the problem, and Oman’s gesture to Israel is good for the region.
The Oman visit has caused many to wonder about the hypocrisy in the Middle East. For instance, a commentator on Al Jazeera in Arabic said she rejected “normalization” with Israel, but many on Twitter kept asking why it is that Doha hosts Israeli athletes with the Israeli flag. Kurdish commentators in northern Iraq also noted that the Kurdish region has often been excoriated for having relations with Israel, while the Omanis are now reaching out. Halal for them, haram for us, wondered one man, using the Arabic words for acceptable and forbidden.
Iranian media is perplexed by such a public welcome to Israel in Oman. For many years, Tehran has tried to keep alive the notion that Israel is the sole problem in the region, with annual “Jerusalem Day” events, and by constantly talking about Israeli threats. But the Syrian civil war, in which Iran partnered with the regime in Damascus and was seen as aiding the slaughter of civilians, has harmed Tehran’s image. All that the Iranian media could do was stress that Israel’s visit to Oman was not as good as it seems. The “sultanate was only offering ideas to help Israel and Palestinians to come together,” Iran’s Press TV, claimed. Tasnim News carried an article about IRGC commander Mohammed Ali Jafari giving a speech for Arba’een, a Shi’ite pilgrimage, claiming Muslims should unite against “global arrogance,” which tends to be a reference to the US and Israel.
— Mark Regev (@MarkRegev) October 27, 2018
MB TV Host Moataz Matar Slams Qatar, Oman, Abu Dhabi for Normalization of Relations with Israel: “The Gulf Staggers under the Feet of the Zionists Like a Slaughtered Chicken” pic.twitter.com/kksFVF5AOS
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 28, 2018
Al-Jazeera TV in Rare Criticism of Qatar: Our Freedom of Expression Is in Fact Freedom to Normalize Relations with Israel pic.twitter.com/gBTe0i5PCA
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 28, 2018
Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah Fends Off Al-Jazeera Criticism of Netanyahu-Qaboos Meeting: “Why? Are We Not Allowed to Do So?” pic.twitter.com/BLZmdIhWTz
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 28, 2018
The Knesset Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria Affairs of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee held a discussion on the Temporary International Observers in Hebron (TIPH) organization on the initiative of MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home). TIPH has come under fire for actions taken by its members against the Jewish community of Hevron, including an incident where a foreign national struck a Jewish child.
The representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office, who are authorized to provide answers regarding the mandate given to the force, did not attend the discussion.
Hevron District Commander Chen Morris told the committee: “In the past two years, I have observed exceptional incidents involving members of the organization. The first occurred on 16 July 2017. An observer [from the organization] punctures vehicle tires. He was not interrogated, but sent back to his country. In another incident, fresh from last summer, an attack by an organization observer against a boy from the settlement occurred. He wore a uniform, signed up for a Breaking the Silence tour and was filmed striking [a child]. He was not interrogated and returned to his country on Saturday night, on July 18, 2018.”
“There are other incidents, there is almost daily friction between the TIPH and the [Jewish] settlement [in Hevron], in one way or another,” he added.
Acting Director General of the Yesha Council, Yigal Dilmuni, presented a study by the Yesha Council, in which many cases were raised in which TIPH members harmed Israeli residents, soldiers and Israel’s image in the world: “The residents of the Jewish community in Hevron benefit 1,000 times more peace and tranquility than this organization, which only provokes and causes friction, as the police chief presented here. It’s time to remove TIPH.”
After signing the legislation, Trump spoke before a large gathering to mark the 35th anniversary of the October 1983 bombing that took the lives of 241 service personnel at a Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
Regarding Hezbollah, the president said:
The attack was carried out by Hezbollah, which Iran was instrumental in founding a year earlier to advance its radical agenda, and remain its main patron today – and we are doing a big number on Iran today …
Over the past year we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds – and they are starving of funds.
We will target, disrupt, and dismantle their operational and financing efforts, of which they have plenty – they don’t have plenty now – and we will never forget what they did to our great Marines in Beirut. We will never forget.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev attended an international judo competition that began Saturday in the United Arab Emirates, as three Israeli players were awarded bronze medals and had their country’s flag displayed on a screen.
Gili Cohen, Baruch Shmailov and Timna Nelson Levy all finished third in their respective weight classes at the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam.
This was a significant change from last year, when UAE organizers singled Israel out with a ban on displaying its flag or playing its anthem during the tournament when one of its athletes was awarded a gold medal in the 66 kilograms (145 pounds) category.
Judoka Tal Flicker defied the ban, singing the Israeli anthem, “Hatikvah,” on the podium, with the International Judo Federation’s flag and anthem in the background.
The UAE does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Israel’s national anthem was played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the first time, after one of its athletes won gold.
A visibly moved Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who was at the contest to support the Israeli team, presented the medals and hung the gold medallion around the neck of judoka Sagi Muki.
The playing of the Israeli national anthem and Regev’s attendance at the tournament were the latest milestones in Israel’s gradual rapprochement with some Arab states.
Muki beat Belgian competitor Matthias Casse to take first place in the under-81 kilogram category at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
Following the medal distribution, the tournament presenter announced, in English, “Ladies and gentleman, please rise for the national anthem of Israel” after which the “Hatikva” melody began playing.
A glimmer of joy amidst today’s gloom, as Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, plays in Abu Dhabi for the first time ever after Israel’s Sagi Muki wins gold at the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam. 🇮🇱🥇🇦🇪 #JudoAbuDhabi2018 pic.twitter.com/DRKCAez91T
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) October 28, 2018
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