Pittsburgh: Australia and New Zealand reacts

October 28, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Members of the Australian and New Zealand communities have reacted to the horrific news from Pittsburgh where at least 11 worshippers were gunned down as they participated in Shabbat services at The Tree for Life synagogue.

The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a mass shooting took place during Shabbat services on Saturday, October 27. Credit: Google Maps screenshot.

But firstly. a message from Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel:

 

Prime Minister of Australia

“The evil shooting of innocent Americans gathering together in faith in their Synagogue in Pittsburgh is truly awful. We send our love to their families and their community and to our own Jewish community here in Australia as they hear this terrible news.” Scott Morrison

The Opposition Leader

“All Australians have been shocked by the terrible news from Pittsburgh and the evil attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue. Our hearts go out to those who have lost a loved one and to everyone who shares in their grief, pain and fear today.”  Bill Shorten

Federal Treasurer and deputy leader of the Liberal Party

“So sad to hear of the senseless tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. To gun down the innocent in prayer is utterly incomprehensible. Our love is with all those affected, congregants and first responders.”   Josh Frydenberg

The Shadow Foreign Minister

Such tragic and awful news out of Pittsburgh. Our deepest sympathy to all grieving. We mourn those lost and join with all who stand against anti-Semitism and hate.  Penny Wong

Likely Independent Member for Wentworth in the Australian Parliament

Kerryn Phelps told J-Wire: “It was with a sense of horror that I woke to the news of the tragedy in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh overnight. 

I extend my heartfelt sympathies to those who have lost loved ones, to the congregation and to the Pittsburgh community.

There have been reports of a rise in anti-Semitism in Australia. 

We must act to protect the diversity and harmoniousness of our Australian community. 

Once again the world cries out for leadership that unites people rather than seeks to divide.”

The Board of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand: Wellington

“We offer our deepest heartfelt condolences to the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh. A synagogue is a place of worship, a house of peace.

This unspeakable atrocity serves to redouble our efforts to stand up to hate crimes – wherever they occur.

We respond to anti-Semitism not with violence, but with an unstinting determination to educate, inform and unify.

We share in the mourning of families who have lost their loved ones. Their grief is immeasurable”.

The Great Synagogue: Sydney

“The Great Synagogue mourns with the families and communities in Pittsburgh whose loved ones were slain for the sanctification of God’s Name as they stood in Synagogue in prayer. We pray that the injured find healing and the bereaved find comfort. The vile stain of anti-Semitism must be discovered and defeated wherever it exists. At this time we think of our own CSG and thank them for all they do to keep us safe.”  Rabbi Ben Elton.

Mount Scopus College: Melbourne

To learn of this horrific crime, to try to imagine the horror of those engulfed in carnage in the midst of a Shabbat morning service, teaches us of the need vigilance against hatred and antisemitism from wherever it comes. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the injured.

The New Zealand Council: Auckland

The New Zealand Jewish Council is devastated to learn of the murder of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

An attack on Jews anywhere is an attack on Jews everywhere. Our thoughts are with the Jewish community, and all the people of Pittsburgh, and we pray for the recovery of those injured, including police, who acted bravely and swiftly to prevent further bloodshed.

We will continue to do all we can to fight the scourge of antisemitism, wherever we see it.

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) expresses outrage at the murderous assault on The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which targeted Jewish people who were involved in prayer and worship on the Sabbath. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the community which was targeted. To murder innocent people in their house of prayer is a crime of unspeakable evil.

We have no doubt that the murderous action was fueled by words. Antisemitism promoted by ultra-right wingers, the far left, Islamist groups such as Hamas, conspiracy theorists  and even prominent figures such as Mahathir Mohamad singularly and together contribute to a world in which such violent actions are all but inevitable.

All good people will stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, and give them all the support they need at this difficult time.

Responsible and moral leadership is also essential, from political, religious and others in leadership positions.

Racism and Antisemitism should never – can never – be tolerated.

Anti-Defamation Commission: Melbourne

“Through tears and broken hearts, we decry this depraved and evil act. Our grief knows no bounds, and this is a black day for Jews in Australia and around the world who thought that such monstrosity, inside a house of worship, was unthinkable.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims,  whose depth of anguish is unimaginable and whose lives have been scarred forever. We wish the injured a speedy and full recovery. This sickening attack and barbarism once again shows that anti-Semitism is on the rise and can result in real-world violence. We call on all religious leaders in Australia to come together and condemn this hate crime, and the growing threat of Jewish bigotry and white-supremacism. The ADC stands in solidarity with the American-Jewish community as it deals with this devastating attack.”  Dr Dvir Abramovich

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry

We are deeply saddened, appalled and outraged by the news that at least 11 Jews have been murdered and 6 wounded during a Sabbath service in a synagogue in Pittsburgh in the US.  Reports indicate that the gunman at one point shouted ‘All Jews Must Die’.

This act of terrorism, targeting Jews joined together in peaceful prayer, is a crime of irrational hatred and base cowardice. We stand united with our Jewish brothers and sisters throughout the world to pray for the souls of the massacred, for the community of Pittsburgh, and for the strength of those left behind. We pray that the wounded make a swift and complete recovery.

No person or group should be made to live in fear of being targeted simply because of who they are and where they choose to worship. This was an attack no t just on the Jewish community, but on individual freedom itself, and freedom of religion and belief in particular.

We thank the police and government officials in Australia who have contacted our community about the incident to reassure us that the events in Pittsburgh do not portend any additional threat to Jews in Australia.  We urge the community to remain calm and vigilant.

Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group

“We are deeply saddened, appalled and outraged by the news that at least 11 Jews have been murdered and 6 wounded during a Sabbath service in a synagogue in Pittsburgh in the US.  Reports indicate that the gunman at one point shouted ‘All Jews Must Die’.

This act of terrorism, targeting Jews joined together in peaceful prayer, is a crime of irrational hatred and base cowardice. We stand united with our Jewish brothers and sisters throughout the world to pray for the souls of the massacred, for the community of Pittsburgh, and for the strength of those left behind. We pray that the wounded make a swift and complete recovery.

No person or group should be made to live in fear of being targeted simply because of who they are and where they choose to worship. This was an attack not just on the Jewish community, but on individual freedom itself, and freedom of religion and belief in particular.

We thank the police and government officials in Australia who have contacted our community about the incident to reassure us that the events in Pittsburgh do not portend any additional threat to Jews in Australia.  We urge the community to remain calm and vigilant.”  Senator Eric Abetz Chair

The Union for Progressive Judaism, representing 25 congregations in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, reaffirms our bonds of love and solidarity with the Jewish people and people of decency and conscience everywhere in mourning the senseless loss of life today in Pittsburgh.

We note the stark contrast between those exercising their right to free expression of their religion and those who promote hate and violence.

An attack on a Masorti/Orthodox congregation is an attack on all Jewish congregations. At times like this, we are reminded that the Jewish people are united and are one people.

May the Holy One embrace those who have been murdered, extend comfort to those who have been deprived of their loved ones, healing to those who have been injured and strength to the entirety of the House of Israel.” Roger Mendelson – president.

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) expresses outrage at the murderous assault on The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which targeted Jewish people who were involved in prayer and worship on the Sabbath. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the community which was targeted. To murder innocent people in their house of prayer is a crime of unspeakable evil.

We have no doubt that the murderous action was fueled by words. Antisemitism promoted by ultra-right wingers, the far left, Islamist groups such as Hamas, conspiracy theorists and even prominent figures such as Mahathir Mohamad singularly and together contribute to a world in which such violent actions are all but inevitable.

All good people will stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, and give them all the support they need at this difficult time.

Responsible and moral leadership is also essential, from political, religious and others in leadership positions.

Racism and Antisemitism should never – can never – be tolerated…Dr Colin Rubenstein – executive director

The Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand

Once again we are faced with the tragic murder of our fellow Jews and confronted by the ugly face of a growing anti-Semitism throughout the world. Our hearts go out to the families of those martyred and we pray that Almighty G-d comforts them in their hour of sorrow.

We also call on all governments and all those in positions of power to acknowledge this growing scourge and to direct law enforcement to do everything necessary to bring those who engage in the spread of anti-Semitism to justice before they can carry out dastardly acts of terror. Rabbi Moshe Gutnick – president.

The Zionist Federation of Australia

Australia awoke this morning to the devastating news of the shocking attack on the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh.

Our thoughts and our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community of Pittsburgh, who are no doubt reeling with grief, compounded with shock at the blatant anti-Semitism which motivated the attack.

An attack on people at prayer is abhorrent in any circumstances. An attack on the Jewish community, be it in Pittsburgh or anywhere, touches us as part of the global Jewish community.

The Zionist Federation of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms this vicious attack and the baseless hatred that incited it. We call upon all people to stand up against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and discrimination.   Danny Lamm – President

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel

“It is unimaginable that anyone would be struck down while they are in the middle of a religious service – praying to their God. This has been an act of barbarism.

“I join Australian political and community leaders to express my sorrow at the murder of Jewish worshippers at an American synagogue on the weekend – and to publicly stand against the scourge of antisemitism.

“My deepest and heartfelt condolences, as well as my thoughts and prayers, go out to those who have lost loved ones in the monstrous Pittsburgh attack. Those condolences also go out to the Australian Jewish community as they try to grapple with the horrific news.

“This attack has been felt deeply by the Australian Jewish community. An attack on Jews anywhere in the world is an attack on Jewish people everywhere in the world.

“I stand united with the Jewish community at this tragic time.”

“Finally, it is a prescient reminder to us all that the Australian Jewish community, in this day and age needs security guards to protect them as they go to school and worship. That is an absolute shame in a modern society.”  Deputy chair and NSW Labor frontbencher, Mr Walt Secord

 Emanuel Synagogue, Sydney

“Emanuel Synagogue, its clergy, leaders and community are devastated by the tragic and horrific shooting at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. We pray for healing and strength for all who were injured and comfort for those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones. We send our support and blessings to the Tree of Life Congregation and all who have been touched by this tragedy.“ Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins – Senior Rabbi

Chabad ACT

We stand with our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community of Pittsburgh at this devastating time.

May those who were killed Rest In Peace. May their families be consoled. May those injured have a speedy recovery. May the perpetrators be brought to justice.

Finally, we are witnessing anti-Semitism going from bad to worse. It is reported that many people on a social media App were notified of the murderer’s intentions and did not stop him.

It is up to each of us to do our utmost to put a stop to this dreadful disease of hate. This can be achieved by doing something every day to foster more love in the community. Only the light of Love can expel the darkness of hate.” Rabbi Shmueli Feldman.

Federal Labor MP for Melbourne Ports:

“Again shows how threatening comments by Jihadists or neo-nazis on Social media must be taken seriously by security authorities throughout the Western World. These terrorists need to be stopped as they are in Israel when they make these anti-Jewish threats on Facebook, Twitter or other blogs.” Michael Danby.

Masorti Beit Din of Australasia

We stand in sorrow with the congregation of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved, the wounded and the entire community.

We are appalled by this attack on Jews at prayer, and on the police who tried to defend them. We stand with all upright people, of all faiths, in profound condemnation of such murderous violence. We stand with our fellow Jews around the world in solidarity and mourn side by side with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.

We are horrified by this heinous act and, despite recent trends in increasing hate crime and public violence towards Jews and other minorities, may we never become numb to the heart-wrenching evil of these atrocities, nor let these purveyors of evil unravel the fabric of a diverse and peaceful society and world.

The Union of Progressive Judaism includes congregations in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

There are no words to express the sadness that we feel after the horrific attack on the tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Though a world away, all Jews are connected one to another, and therefore their pain is ours as well. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, and we wish a complete and speedy recovery to those who were wounded. We stand with people of all faiths in condemnation of such murderous and senseless violence.

Sadly, we live in a world where people are increasingly turning towards hate and division. Where violence and derision, rather than respectful dialogue is the mode of choice. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Instead, we must use these as an impetus to change the world, to make it a better place for our children and grandchildren. May we never stand silent or fail to act in the face of hatred and bigotry.

Let us partner with all who pursue a world free of baseless hatred, and who condemn acts of violence against our people and all peoples. May these acts only strengthen our resolve to teach our children to love: to love kindness, to love being Jewish, to love the stranger, to love peace, and to love God.

Despite our grief, our tenacity and strength as a people draws us even more closely together. In the face of violence and destruction, we loudly respond, “Am Yisrael chai! – The People Israel Live.”

 

Australian Jewish Association (AJA)

AJA is shocked and saddened by the news that a synagogue was attacked killing 11 and injuring 6 people. The victims had gathered in “Tree of Life” synagogue in Pittsburgh for Shabbat prayers and a baby naming ceremony.

This attack is by all reports an extreme cowardly antisemitic incident against people who had gathered in peace and prayer.

The shooter identified as Robert Bowers yelled: “All Jews must die”. His social media records many antisemitic expressions.

AJA President, Dr David Adler said: “We condemn this attack in the strongest terms without reservations and extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who died and pray for the complete and speedy recovery of the injured.”

Additionally, we feel obliged to call out the extraordinary political point scoring by extreme leftists including regrettably some Jewish representatives.

Rarely will you see anything as disgusting and disgraceful as the leftist anti-Trump extremists using the massacre of Jews for cheap political point scoring based on their FAKE NEWS fantasies. The bodies of the victims were not yet cold before this disgrace commenced – Have they no shame?

Bowers hated Trump as he hated Jews. The perpetrator was NOT a Trump supporter. He opposed Trump.

This sort of evil, twisted manipulation by the hard left has no place in a civil democratic political discussion…Dr David Adler.

 

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