U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Tree of Life Synagogue Rabbi Jeffrey Myers as they stand at a makeshift memorial to the victims outside the synagogue where a gunman killed eleven people and wounded six during a mass shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 30, 2018. .
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett has strongly defended US President Donald Trump from accusations that he bears any responsibility for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, calling such attacks “unfair and wrong.”
In the wake of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, claims have been made that Trump’s nationalist rhetoric and heavy focus on immigration contributed to the toxic political background against which the shooter Robert Bowers acted.
Bowers made several references to his opposition to immigrants on the social media site Gab, including in his final post when he referenced the HIAS immigrant resettlement organization and how it brings “invaders in that kill our people.”
Bennett, currently on a visit to the US and Pittsburgh, said that “some people are using this horrific antisemitic act to attack President Trump,” something which is “unfair and wrong.”
Said the minister “President Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel and to the Jewish people. With President Trump we never have to worry if he has our backs… He is fighting terror worldwide including Israel’s greatest enemy, the murderous regime of Tehran. He recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and kept his promise to move the embassy there.”
Bennett said that Trump’s condemnation of antisemitism after the shooting, including his vow to destroy those seeking to harm Jews, “was the strongest condemnation of antisemitism that I have ever heard from a politician outside the State of Israel.”
The minister said that there is no excuse for antisemitism and that “antisemites do not ask if you are a Republican or Democrat. They do not ask if you are Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform.
They only act because of their hatred of Jews.”
In the week before he carried out the shooting, Bowers was clearly focused on the issue of immigration, especially the caravan of several thousand migrants from Honduras and other Central American nations currently making its way towards through the region towards the US.
Bowers reposted comments on Gab about the caravan and how Honduras and El Salvador have extremely high murder rates.
In his final post he said “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Trump has spoken out fiercely against the migrant caravan
on numerous occasions, calling it “an assault on our country” and alleging that “Middle Easterners” and members of the MS-13 crime gang were amongst the people making their way to the US.
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