Pittsburgh synagogue massacre: A wake-up call for anti-Semites?

In response to the horrific murder of 11 Jewish people in Pittsburgh, US President Donald Trump wrote, “This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.” However, if Trump meant that those uniting to fight anti-Semitism should not themselves be anti-Semitic, that fact appears to have been missed by some.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the attack, saying: “My thoughts are with those killed or injured in this horrific act of antisemitic violence, and with their loved ones. We must stand together against hate and terror.” This is the same Corbyn who called the anti-Semitic terrorists, Hamas and Hezbullah, his “friends” and that former UK chief rabbi Lord Sacks called “a dangerous anti-Semite”.

Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour wrote, “I am SHOOK. This is absolutely devastating and so scary. Sending love to our Jewish family. We promise to stand in solidarity with you. We are in this together. We have to be. Pittsburgh – stand up.” This is the same Sarsour who openly declared her hatred of the Jewish state and who warned Muslims not to “humanize” Israelis.

British House of Lords lawmaker Jenny Tonge wrote about the attack, “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act.” This is the same Tonge who shared a Facebook post that depicted an anti-Semitic image and referred to the “Jewish lobby” and who was forced to resign as Liberal Democrat party whip after she called for the Jewish state’s destruction. Tonge even used the massacre as an opportunity to blame Jews for anti-Semitism when she added, “does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism?”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote, “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.” This is the same Erdoğan who wrote, “Hamas is not a terrorist organization” and who rules with an iron fist a country accused by Shin Bet of aiding Hamas’ military build-up.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote, “Extremism and terrorism know no race or religion, and must be condemned in all cases. The world deserves better than to have to live with weaponized demagoguery. Thoughts and prayers with victims of terrorist attack on Pittsburgh synagogue and their loved ones.” Zarif belongs to a regime that has several times called for the destruction of Israel and that holds Holocaust denial conferences as part of what the Washington Post called “the mullahs’ anti-Jewish worldview.”

The Palestinian Authority published a statement in its official news agency Wafa stating, “The Foreign Ministry condemns this terrorist act that targeted a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. The ministry condemns the targeting of places of worship by these terrorists who hold fascist and rotten beliefs based on the supremacy and dominance of white people.” This is the same PA that has steadfastly refused to stop funding terrorism against the Jewish state and whose leader claimed that “Jews’ behavior, not anti-Semitism, caused the Holocaust”.

Hamas official Basem Naim said that the group was “sorry to hear about the terror attack” and added, “This heinous attack, especially in a place of worship, proves that terror has no religion or nationality.” This is the same Hamas that declares in its charter, “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious” and “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” Always keen to outdo the PA in foulness, Hamas even claimed that “as Palestinian victims of Israeli ‘terror’, the group relates to the shattered Pennsylvania Jewish community’s pain”.

Of course, no intelligent and educated person believes that this bunch of anti-Semites has suddenly reformed and they have become friends of the Jewish people. However, the fact they made the effort says that they are convinced that enough dupes will believe them that it is worthwhile to condemn an act for which, had it occurred against Israeli Jews, they would have been the perpetrators, the enablers, and the apologists.

These anti-Semites saw the condemnation of an anti-Semitic crime that occurred far from Israel as serving their needs, especially since the perpetrator appears to be a white supremacist, a group not known to support the Palestinians and a group that President Trump has been accused of encouraging.

In short, this was an easy opportunity to convince a few more naïve people of the myth of anti-Zionism not being antisemitism, with the bonus of sticking it to Trump. For them, it was too good to pass. For the rest of us, it was nauseating.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Fred Maroun writes for Gatestone Institute.
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