World cries out in aftermath of Chabad shooting attack

There has been a worldwide outpouring of support and concern after California synagogue attack.

April 28, 2019 15:01
World cries out in aftermath of Chabad shooting attack

A candlelight vigil is held at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church for victims of a shooting incident at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, California.. (photo credit: JOHN GASTALDO/REUTERS)


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How does the world react to a second shooting attack against in a synagogue in six months and the fourth large-scale, faith-based massacre in the same time period?

Politicians and thought leaders from across the spectrum took to Twitter and Facebook to express their sorrow in learning about the shooting attack on Chabad of Poway, a city in San Diego County, which took place on Saturday. A woman, 60, was killed and three others injured in the hate-based attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that within an hour of the shooting, he spoke to Israel's consul in Los Angeles, Avner Saban,  directing him to provide any assistance possible to the synagogue and to continue to update him on developments.

“We were shocked and grieved to hear of the shooting at Chabad of Poway,” said President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday. “The murderous attack on the Jewish community during Pesach, our holiday of freedom, and just before Holocaust Memorial Day, is yet another painful reminder that antisemitism and hatred of Jews is still with us, everywhere."

He said that the Jewish people will never allow antisemitism and hatred to triumph.

“We are strong and we are proud of our heritage, and our identity of love for each other and our fellow humans,” the president added.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said, paraphrasing the Passover Haggadah, that “in every generation they rise up against us to destroy us, but we will fight antisemitism in all its forms and wherever it raises its head.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon took a different approach, insinuating that the attack was made possible by the antisemitic language used by certain left-wing congresspeople and by the antisemitic cartoon that ran that morning in The New York Times, the latter portraying a Jewish US President Donald Trump being dragged along by the “dog” Netanyahu.

“The words, the demonstrators and the cartoons turn into shootings against worshipers in synagogues,” Danon said. "This is the time for action - for a determined war and not for weak and hollow condemnations that allow the forces of hate to revive dark periods in history."

American politicians also opened up on social media, calling out antisemitism and baseless hatred as having no place in the United States.

"My deepest sympathies go to the people that were affected,” Trump said immediately after the shooting, adding that “it looks like a hate crime" and that authorities will "get to the bottom of it."

Despite the numerous accusations on Twitter calling out Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s recent statements as a catalyst for the attack, she herself spoke out in support of the victims.

"My heart is breaking after today’s deadly shooting at Chabad Congregation in San Diego - on the last day of Passover and 6 months to the day after the Tree of Life shooting," she said on Twitter. "We as a nation must confront the terrifying rise of religious hate and violence. Love trumps hate."

Similarly, Vermont's Democratic senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said, "We must work every day to eradicate all forms of hatred and bigotry, and take serious action to protect Americans from gun violence."

Another Democratic presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren, described herself as “heartsick for the victims.”

Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt called on the people to “gather and fight” the scourge of antisemitism.

And in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “On the last day of Passover, we grieve with Jewish communities in the San Diego area & around the world after today’s attack at a synagogue.”

Jewish organizations - from the American Jewish Committee to the Anti-Defamation League and the World Jewish Congress - offered condolences.

"There is absolutely no justification or explanation for such violence, and it is inconceivable that, yet again, innocent people have been targeted simply for their religion and for choosing to attend a place of worship,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

"From Charleston to Pittsburgh to Oak Creek and from Christchurch to Sri Lanka, and now Poway, we need to say 'enough is enough,’” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said. “Our leaders need to stand united against hate, and address it both on social media and in our communities."

"These murders did not occur in a vacuum,” said the Israeli-American Council in a statement. “They are the product of an age-old hate that continues to infect millions around the world. Today’s events sound yet another alarm about the growing danger of antisemitism in our country.

"History’s lessons call on us as to act together with strength and unity to fight antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head,” the statement continued.

Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog also responded with a statement that included the simple phrase: “It must be stopped!"

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