US condemns Copenhagen attacks, vows to stand with Denmark against anti-Semitism

State Department issues statement after multiple shooting attacks in Danish capital left a synagogue guard and filmmaker dead.

By REUTERS
February 16, 2015 01:10
1 minute read.
Copenhagen synagogue

A Jewish man at a memorial for the victims of the deadly attacks in front of the synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen, February 15, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The United States on Sunday condemned the deadly weekend attacks in Copenhagen at a free speech event and a synagogue and said it stood with Denmark and others in defending freedom of speech and opposing anti-Semitism.

A synagogue guard and a filmmaker were killed and five police were wounded in the two attacks in the Danish capital on Saturday and Sunday. Police on Sunday shot and killed a gunman suspected in the shootings.

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"The people of the United States stand united with the people of Denmark and all others who defend the universal right of freedom of speech and stand against anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms," the State Department said in a statement.

Denmark's small but vibrant Jewish community rebuffed Israel's call to emigrate on Sunday after an attack on Copenhagen's main synagogue that shook the sense of security Scandinavian tolerance had long provided.

Jewish communities around Europe have been reporting rising hostility against them and an attack last month on a Paris kosher supermarket killed four Jews.

That assault came two days after Islamist militants gunned down 12 people at the weekly Charlie Hebdo, which had published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad.

As in the French case, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Denmark's 2,500 Jews they would be welcome in Israel. "Israel is your home," he said in Jerusalem.

"We appreciate the invitation, but we are Danish citizens, this is our country," Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, chairman of the Jewish Society in Denmark, told Reuters as he offered condolences to mourners at the synagogue.

Copenhagen’s envoy to Israel also urged the Jewish community in Denmark to remain in the country despite this weekend’s terror attacks.

“The solution for the Jews of Denmark is not to leave in the wake of the terror attacks in Copenhagen on Saturday,” the ambassador, Jesper Vahr, said on Sunday.

“Our prime minister said that an attack on the Jewish community is an attack on all of Denmark’s citizens. I echo this sentiment. We will do everything in our power so that the Jewish community in Denmark feels safe,” he added.

Aviram Zino/Maariv Hashavua contributed to this report.


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