Pittsburgh: the world reacts

October 28, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In the aftermath of the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder is sounding the alarm on the very real threats facing Jewish communities worldwide and urging government authorities to ramp up security efforts to prevent such an attack from happening again.

Ronald S. Lauder

“The horrific act of terror that took place on Saturday at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh has left all Jewish communities, both in the US and abroad, in a state of absolute shock. We have long warned about the sharp rise in antisemitism, on both the far-right and the far-left and have prayed that the many incidences that we have witnessed of late, of vandalism and desecration of property, would never end in loss of life.

“This Shabbat, our worst nightmares came true. Innocent people were killed and wounded for the simple crime of being Jewish. This was an attack specifically targeting the Jewish community, in a deliberate and callous manifestation of antisemitism and hatred, and it should serve as a wake-up call to all Americans that such horror can and has happened here. We must be vigilant in making sure that this never happens again.

“The Pittsburgh police department was quick to respond to this heinous attack, and for that we are grateful. It is imperative that the authorities across the US, and in every country that has a Jewish community, take every threat seriously, no matter how innocuous it might seem. It is the responsibility of governments and all official authorities to ensure that the Jewish communities, and their institutions, are secure and protected.

“The World Jewish Congress’ Security of Communities Department is actively working with national and local authorities in more than 50 countries to help to provide some of our communities with the proper infrastructure and crisis management tools to defend themselves against any threat. We will continue to do so with vigour, and we stand ready to assist in every way possible.

“Each and every one of us, from the average citizen to government official, has the moral obligation to stand up and strongly condemn every form of antisemitism or xenophobia as it rears its head. We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to the very real dangers that can unfold. Vandalism, hate speech, and other demonstrations of the kind must not be ignored or downplayed. We must be united in unequivocal denunciation and clear in our message that we will not let terror win.”

UN Sec. Gen. condemns attack, conveys solidarity with World Jewish Congress

On Saturday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres conveyed in a personal message to WJC President Lauder his solidarity with the World Jewish Congress following the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The UN Secretariat released the following statement following the attack:

“The Secretary-General is deeply shocked at and strongly condemns the shooting today at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh in the United States. He expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

“The shooting in Pittsburgh is a painful reminder of continuing antisemitism. Jews across the world continue to be attacked for no other reason than their identity. Antisemitism is a menace to democratic values and peace and should have no place in the 21st century.

“The Secretary-General calls for a united front — bringing together authorities at all levels, civil society, religious and community leaders and the public at large — to roll back the forces of racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and xenophobia gaining strength in many parts of the world.”

In Israel, following the Pittsburgh attack, Minister Naftali Bennett has flown to the United States.
The Minister will visit the scene of the attack, meet the local community and participate in the funerals of those killed in the attack.
Bennett said. “When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel pain. All Israel are responsible for one another.”
He added, “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.”
“I am going to offer strength to the community and its leaders, and to examine how we can offer assistance.”
“May the memory of the murdered be blessed.”
Earlier this evening, Minister Bennett directed the Director General of the Diaspora Ministry to prepare to assist the Pittsburgh Jewish community, including the need for emergency and resilience teams that immediately left Israel for psychological assistance and community rehabilitation.
Yad Vashem,  Jerusalem

Yad Vashem strongly condemns the unprecedented antisemitic attack against the Jewish community of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. In our post-Holocaust global society, there is no room for antisemitism, racism or xenophobia. Yad Vashem deeply identifies with the victims, their families, neighbours and community.

“We are particularly sensitive to the toxic dangers of antisemitism, in its many forms and contexts, and to its destructive implications – not only for Jews, but for all of civilized society,” Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev comments. “At Yad Vashem, we have learned, and ardently teach, about the painful truth of the fragility of democratic societies, and the need to perpetually buttress their effective commitment to tolerance, pluralism and human rights.”

For this very reason, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center has increased its educational activities devoted to combating contemporary forms of antisemitism. Specifically, the Yad Vashem online course “Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present“, which has engaged thousands of people from all over the world, examines two thousand years of antisemitism and its expression in modern-day forms of hatred.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi

“I was shocked to hear about the murder of innocent Jews in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, simply because they were Jews, by an abhorrent murderer who was driven by anti-Semitic hatred. My heart is with the bereaved families and with all of our Jewish brothers and sisters who live in the US. To our sorrow, anti-Semitism has recently reared its head again in the US. Based on the precept ‘Take good heed for yourselves’ (Deuteronomy 4:15), the Jews must act with due caution, in accordance with the security directives of law-enforcement authorities; out of mutual responsibility, we must all pray for their well-being. May we yet hear better news.”….Rabbi Yaakov Yosef – Israel



2 Responses to “Pittsburgh: the world reacts”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    Bennett almost got it right; when Jews are killed all Jews feel pain because we are family and because the killing goes on and on over the centuries. But as Jews, we are a light onto the nations and like most Jews, I grieve for the Yazidis, for the various Christians killed and abused in mohammedan realms and for any other group that is the victim of baseless hate.

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    Another shocking fire arms related US massacre which happen almost weekly in that deranged country.

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