Columns Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

Why Pittsburgh matters

A person pauses in front of Stars of David with the names of those killed in a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh, on Oct. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(RNS) — We are shocked, but we are not surprised.

How could we be surprised? The novelist Rebecca West once said that Jews, having suffered so much, have an “unsurprisable mind.” Did we think that we, the American Jewish community, could splash blood upon our communal door and thus ward off the twin angels of hatred and death?

When we witnessed the madness in Charlottesville — “The Jews will not replace us!” — could we not have imagined that this could happen?

This Shabbat, American Jews drank from the bitter cup of tears from which other groups have already sipped. Blacks. Blacks praying in churches. Sikhs. Muslims. LGBTQ.

Anti-Semitism is the oldest hatred in history. It might also be the oldest “ism” in history, the oldest living ideology. It is the only cultural thread that binds our civilization to that of the ancient Egyptians, and the ancient Persians, and the ancient Greeks, and the ancient Romans, and the early Christians, and to medieval Christians, and to Islam, and to modern scientific racist theories. It is the one thing that all of those cultures have in common.

As Gavin Langmuir, in his book “History, Religion, and Antisemitism,” writes: “anti-Semitism is the hostility aroused by the irrational thinking about ‘Jews.'”

We are shocked — but, if we are surprised, it is because we American Jews have had so little actual experience of lethal anti-Semitism — despite the increase in anti-Semitic acts.

Consider the American Jews who have died — simply because they were Jews.

  • Leo Frank, the factory manager in Atlanta, who was falsely accused and lynched for the murder of a young factory girl, in 1915.
  • Alan Berg, the Denver talk radio host, killed in 1984 by members of the white nationalist group The Order.
  • Yankel Rosenbaum, killed during the Crown Heights riots in 1991.
  • Ari Halberstam, 16, riding in a van of Chabad students, shot to death in 1994 on a ramp, which has been renamed in his memory, leading to the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Pamela Waechter, director of the Seattle Federation annual fundraising campaign, who was shot to death in the Seattle Federation offices in 2006.

Yes, there were also non-Jews who died in attacks aimed at Jews, Jewish institutions or places that evoke Jewish memory.

According to my estimate, the total number of Jews killed, before yesterday: five.

Which means — that the death toll in Pittsburgh immediately tripled the number of American victims of lethal anti-Semitism. Yesterday was the worst day in American Jewish history.

The victims:

  • Joyce Fienberg, 75
  • Richard Gottfried, 65
  • Rose Mallinger, 97
  • Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
  • Cecil Rosenthal, 59
  • David Rosenthal, 54
  • Bernice Simon, 84
  • Sylvan Simon, 86
  • Daniel Stein, 71
  • Melvin Wax, 88
  • Irving Younger, 69
Please note, in the midst of our tears and rage:
  • David and Cecil Rosenthal were brothers.
  • Bernice and Sylvan Simon were husband and wife.
  • Rose Mallinger survived to age 97 only to die in a hail of gunfire in shul.

Note, as well, the heroism of the first responders, and the police officers who were injured defending Jewish lives and common decency.

Police respond to an active shooter situation at the Tree of Life synagogue on Wildins Avenue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018. (Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette via AP)

The attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was not only an attack on Jews. It was not only an attack on Judaism. It was an attack on all that we hold sacred.

First, sacred places. The entire Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill is a sacred place. It is hardly an accident that Fred Rogers located his neighborhood of make-believe in Squirrel Hill, because it is a magical place. It is unique: perhaps the last Jewish shtetl in the United States, a small town in which generations of Jews and Jewish institutions flourish; a neighborhood of such beauty, diversity and dignity that, typically, when Jews became wealthier they did not leave — they simply moved to a different house.

In the words of the TV sitcom “Cheers”: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” That is Squirrel Hill. It is the sort of place where you would want to live, because it is a place where your soul would want to live.

And then, of course, Tree of Life Synagogue itself — a place, like many of its neighbors, that has nurtured the spirits of generations of Pittsburgh Jews.

Second, sacred times. The attack happened on Shabbat. If the synagogue is where Jews are, then Shabbat is when Jews are.

No surprise, as well; some of the most prodigious Jew-haters in history deliberately chose Jewish sacred days as the days for attack — the Nazis, who chose Jewish holidays for aktionen; the Arabs, who attacked Israel on Yom Kippur; Palestinian terrorists, who attacked a seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

Third, a sacred ritual. The attack on the service coincided with a brit ceremony for an infant boy. A grisly irony: At the moment that a Jewish covenantal life was beginning, Jewish lives — in the midst of fulfilling the covenant — were ending.

Fourth, sacred values. The gunman attacked Tree of Life Synagogue’s building for the institution’s linkage to HIAS. HIAS began its noble history by taking care of Jewish immigrants; it continues that sacred mission by taking care of all immigrants and refugees.

The shooter hates immigrants. Therefore, he hates HIAS. Therefore, he hates the Jews who have supported HIAS. He hates the Jews because of our values. He hates the Jews because we are the descendants of Abraham, who kept his desert tent open on all sides.

What do we do? We double down. We lean in. We affirm our values. We affirm the centrality of the synagogue in the lives of Jews. Rather than be afraid of bringing ourselves and our children to synagogue, let us triple our efforts to do so. Maintain your membership in the Jewish community. Your presence is a fist that you shake in the face of the haters.

And, finally: Do not despair. We have many friends.

My dear friend, the Rev. Richard Burnett of Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, Ohio, told me that his church would be ringing its bells this morning — 11 times.

Once, for each victim.

I like bells. But, I also like shofars. It is time for us to blow the shofar, again — as a sign of mourning, and of rage, and of warning.

The late David Bowie got it right.

“This is not America.”

(This post has been updated. An earlier version misidentified Rose Mallinger as a Holocaust survivor).

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

87 Comments

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  • Rabbi, anti-Semitism is unfortunate. Christians owe a great debt of gratitude to the Jewish communities down through the ages for the Scriptures they have written and preserved. As a Christian, I believe that the Messiah (Mashiach-anointed) has come in fulfillment of the Tanakh-Old Testament laws, feasts, covenants, sacrifices, and Kingdom victories, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. I know most Jews do not believe this, but I, and many Christians like me, are deeply grateful to the Jews of history for the Tanakh, especially the scholars, priests and rabbis.
    It is my sincere hope and prayer that many Christians on the Pittsburgh area pitch in and help the many Jews and others connected with the Tree of Life Synagogue in the name of Yeshua Hamashiach. Adonai bless!

  • Another example of evil in the world. Another example of non-believers attacking believers for their belief in the Creator. Another example of the suffering that the faithful must endure to witness to this world.
    Eternal rest grant unto them o Lord; Let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest In Peace.

  • Leo Frank was guilty. Ari Halberstam was shot by an illegal alien from Lebanon. Black Democrat Al Sharpton helped incite the black Crown Heights rioters. Pamela Waechter was shot by a Pakistani.

  • Stop lying and blaming others for this and the entire week of right wing violence. The shooter was a neo Nazi. “Alt Right” as they call themselves.

    White Christian.

    Don’t try to pin this hateful murderous garbage on non believers. Doing so dishonors the deceased here and only makes things worse.

    Far Right wing murderers are feeling emboldened by mainstream conservatives. Especially with their ready made excuses and dishonest blaming others. Why worry when you have a coterie of liars ready to run cover for you?

    You have done this before with right wing violence. You are part of the problem.

  • It’s nice to see you trolling here and elsewhere spewing your anti-trump, anti-Christian rhetoric; always trying to tie evil to your average conservative who loves God and the country.
    Regardless of what someone calls themselves; the killing of innocents is not Christian. The actions of the bomb guy and the guy who committed mass murder on Jews is not Christian. In fact, their actions are a perfect example of what is not Christian.
    They are also not the actions of conservatives nor the Republican Party; nor white-evangelical Christians; and your attempt to tie one with the other is disgusting.
    Again, your ability to go from zero to 100 and spew blame and hate is the real problem; both on the left and the right.

  • You are dishonoring the victims here by cheap deflection. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    “Regardless of what someone calls themselves”

    Except you deliberately pretended the murderer here was an atheist, which was a flat out lie. Evidently labels are important enough for you to avoid owning up to obviously sharing views with this person. It is not anti-christian to call out the bad acts that people do in the name of Christianity. Any sane person who values this country, ethics, and sanity is anti-trump. None of that shows I am being dishonest in any way. But it does point to your need to deflect and avoid.

    The average conservative nowadays is in bed with neo-nazis. Repeating white supremacist rhetoric and trying to implement their positions.

    If you lay down with neo-Nazis (including hiring them as advisers), you get anti-semitism and attacks on Jews. If, according to Trump, the Democrats are ruining America, then a serial bomber would, using Trump logic, be a hero savior.No one should be surprised that any of this happened. We should be shocked, given Trump’s rhetoric and his reach, that it doesn’t happen more often.

    ” the killing of innocents is not Christian”

    There is a long history of atrocity to refute such a self-serving statement. It is too ridiculous to even begin to take seriously. (No True Scotsman argument in its most extreme).

    “They are also not the actions of conservatives nor the Republican Party; nor white-evangelical Christians; and your attempt to tie one with the other is disgusting. ”

    Wrong. It is the result of the violent anti-semitic, fact free bigotry bandied about by them. Republicans have gone out of their way to normalize the acts of right wing murderers. They have repeated the talking points and positions of neo-nazis. Several outright neo-nazis are/have run for office as Republicans. This shooter used talking points of Republican politicians directly as his justification.
    https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/alleged-synagogue-shooter-robert-bowers-endorsed-gop-talking-point-that-jewish-groups-funded-migrant-caravan/

    You have done contributed to it yourself. Usually by blaming “the left” for the actions far right extremists, or deflecting altogether rather than address the issue.

    Ask yourself:
    How many times have you made a reference demonizing George Soros?
    How many times have you referred to “globalists”
    How many times have you blamed “leftist mobs” or other groups when white supremacists commit violence and murder?
    How many times have you referred to immigrants &/or refugees as “invaders”

    If the answer is 1 or more times, you have common ground with this mass murderer.

  • In retrospect it seems then Georgia Governor John Slaton’s doubts about the evidence against Leo Frank were well-founded when he commuted Frank’s sentence to life imprisonment. Frank was posthumously pardoned in 1986.

    In any case, his abduction and lynching were a blot on the state of Georgia, an offense against law, and poke in the eye of American justice, and an affront to every decent American.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Frank

  • Parker their actions are heinous/reprehensible period. Stop trying to claim that Christians are better people than other people. There are good Christians, and not so good Christians and down right evil Christians just as there are good folk, and not so good folk and down right evil folk in all the world religions and non-religions.

    With or without religion good people will be good, and not so good people will be not so good, and downright evil people will be evil. Religion can help some people become better people it can, and has been ans is being weaponized and used to bring out the worst in people. It can and has been and is used over the centuries to justify and sanctify some heinous acts against the “others” all of those that are different, those that reject their beliefs, those that aren’t just like them.

    Religious leaders and political leaders and everyday folk have and continue to belittle, demean, denigrate and demonize their ENEMIES–all of those they dislike for a variety of reasons–because they are Jews, or homosexuals, or Sikhs, or belong to the wrong Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian sect/church, or are Atheists, or transgender folk, or immigrants both legal and illegal, or their skin color isn’t lily white, or they are educated.

    It is this demonization that is responsible for the hate. It is this demonization that must be stopped.

  • “You average conservative is in bed with neo-nazis”…
    Uhh, no….

    That statement alone displays your lack of intellectual integrity and your desire to paint ugliness with a broad brush.

    Your average Christian is sickened and saddened by what occurred this week; but you, CNN, the Democratic Party and other opportunists are out letting the world know that this is trumps fault.

  • Um, you are a l1ar.

    Trump hired at least 3 outright white supremacists on his staff (Bannon, Miller, Gorka). David Duke endorsed him. He constantly retweets neo-nazi material. He frequently appeals to neo-nazi rhetoric and positions
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/31/the-fearful-and-the-frustrated

    You have frequently run cover for white supremacists by trying to pin blame on “leftists” for their murderous rampages.

    The average Christian is sickened by the attack. You are not. You are looking for excuses and deflection here by lying. You are enabling those who did it.

  • Susan,
    Have you addressed any of spuddies commentary on the issue? He seems well versed on assigning blame and the belittling that you mention.

  • LOL a distinction becoming meaningless. Especially as white supremacist rhetoric and positions have become the norm for Republicans. So much so that flat out neo-nazis are running for office under the GOP banner
    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/record-breaking-number-of-white-nationalists-run-for-office-in-u-s-1.6272263
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-candidates-went-on-white-power-podcasts-in-past-two-weeks

    Even joining in as they form a lynch mob to threaten and harass democrat politicians!
    https://thinkprogress.org/ron-desantis-florida-proud-boys-rally-carlos-curbelo-miami-republicans-9e3afafbfacb/

    https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a23067179/ron-desantis-florida-governor-white-supremacists/

    Keep telling yourself, you are not part of this crowd. Maybe you might believe it. Just don’t expect everyone around you to.

  • What he claimed is not that Christians are better people than other people.

    What he stated is that the killing of innocents is not Christian, the actions of the bomb guy and the guy who committed mass murder on Jews is not Christian, that these actions are a perfect example of what is not Christian. That certainly seems true enough.

    On the other hand your trying to palm Christianity off as the source of evil goes beyond the facts and reason.

  • Frank was evil, he molested and killed a girl. I didn’t bring him up though, the article I’m responding to did.

  • If facts mean anything at all, believing otherwise is more ludicrous.

    In any case, his abduction and lynching were a blot on the state of Georgia, an offense against law, and poke in the eye of American justice, and an affront to every decent American.

  • I’ve read the trial transcripts, unlike you. It’s hilarious I have to point this out, but Georgians in those days held racist attitudes toward blacks, and had zero tolerance for black crimes. Yet we are supposed to believe they pinned a sexual assault and murder of a white girl on Frank for no reason.

  • Your silence on the commutation, your silence on the abduction, and your silence on the lynching are deafening.

  • I don’t condone lynching perverts who molest and kill children, but I don’t lose any sleep over it either.

  • So, American law, the concept of due process, the right to an appeal and to a fair hearing, the blatant violation all of those don’t bother you much, eh?

  • It is much more disturbing that anyone who calls himself an American would take the position that the end justifies the means, even it involves abducting an individual in violation of the law and executing him or her ad hoc with no more authority than a sense of righteousness and hatred for the victim’s race, creed, or color.

  • I’m not defending Frank’s lynching. Those falsely claiming he was innocent are defending a child molesting killer.

  • “That certainly seems true enough.”

    Not in the least.

    It is the excuses of people who bear some responsibility in enabling this kind of violence. Even the members of the community where the shooting happened know where the blame lies
    https://splinternews.com/members-of-pittsburghs-jewish-community-tell-trump-to-s-1830067545
    “For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.”

    Lynnette Lederman, former President of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, says of Trump, “I do not welcome this President to my city … He is the purveyor of hate speech. The hypocritical words that come from him tell me nothing.”
    https://splinternews.com/members-of-pittsburghs-jewish-community-tell-trump-to-s-1830067545

  • UNFORTUNATE?????!!!!!!!!?????????
    Antisemitism is horrible, reprehensible, evil — not merely “unfortunate”.

  • Mark by saying these are not “Christian” implies that those that aren’t Christian approve of them. My POINT is that these acts are reprehensible for people of many faith traditions and people of no faith traditions.

    You better re-read what I wrote since I mentioned all the world religions in my post.

    Get that chip off of your shoulder.

  • No, saying that this or that is not Christian does not imply those that aren’t Christian approve of them.

    He was responding to someone who said that those acts are characteristic of Christians.

    Your

    “Religious leaders and political leaders and everyday folk have and continue to belittle, demean, denigrate and demonize their ENEMIES–all of those they dislike for a variety of reasons–because they are Jews, or homosexuals, or Sikhs, or belong to the wrong Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian sect/church, or are Atheists, or transgender folk, or immigrants both legal and illegal, or their skin color isn’t lily white, or they are educated.”

    suggests you need to get that chip off of your shoulder.

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  • Actually, what Mark Sil said was that the shooter was a “classic anti-Semite”, but that “evidence indicates that it was Jewish support for migrants that caused him to take up his guns on Saturday.”

    Since the shooter did not shoot up any of the many churches which support refugee resettlement, it seems to me that it’s clear that anti-Semitism was also a motivating factor.

  • Hi Alexandra! Thanks for your response. Yes, all sins need to be repented of and receive Jesus Christ into their lives. That’s why I was encouraging Christians in the area to assist in the tragedy in the Name of Jesus Christ. Alexandra, I wish you a blessed day with Savior Jesus Christ!

  • Re: “Another example of non-believers attacking believers for their belief in the Creator.” 

    Anti-Semitism, in any form, has nothing to do with non-belief — at all! Quite the opposite, its genesis lies in belief … belief that Jesus was the Messiah, which the vast majority of Jews refuse to acknowledge. Since at least the 2nd century CE, Christians have nursed a massive, sanctimonious grudge over Jews insolently (as they see it) refusing to believe as they do. 

    Whether or not one is willing to admit it, there’s a profound streak of hatred for Jews throughout Christianity’s history. It’s been complicated by the way Jews were treated … they were marginalized, relegated to their own hamlets/villages/ghettos, and even professionally walled off; only certain kinds of work were open to them during the Middle Ages. Due to Christians’ belief about usury, one of the few things Jews could do was to lend money — but the fact that they did this, and lived in their own communities, only made Christians distrust them even more than they already did. This marginalization, and ensuing distrust, led to a vicious spiral. 

    (Yes, you read that right: Christians actually contrived to treat Jews in ways that they were then able to turn around and use as added rationales to have them even more. Yeah, that’s “the Religion of Love” at work.) 

    It erupted in violence at many points … e.g. when the so-called “People’s Crusade” crossed eastern Europe on its way to the Holy Land, they intermittently stopped to massacre thousands of Jews in the Rhineland. There was no compelling reason for them to have done this; they were simply indulging their sanctimonious outrage at Jews’ existence. 

    And that’s merely one example I could point to, out of thousands, through the last two millennia. I’m not even going to get into the horrors of the mid-20th century. Those speak for themselves. 

    The bottom line of all this is, there’d be no reason for any of that, if not for Christians’ self-righteousness and indignation at the perceived insolence and resistance of Jews to their religion. In other words, anti-Semitism exists solely because of belief, and not for any other reason

    So be careful about pointing the finger at non-belief. Non-believers quite literally have no reason at all to hate Jews in the first place, much less to have nursed a grudge against them for so many centuries. 

  • Trying to make a great deal sense out of a lunatic’s rantings is probably not a productive use of time, but to most folks it’s clear anti-Semitism was the motivator.

    I threw Mark Silk in since I found his take, spinning it onto a favorite cause of his own and away from anti-semitism, moderately amusing and rather typical of his viewpoint.

    Amusing, that is, until I read Yonat Shimron’s take this morning:

    https://pantheon-live.religionnews.com/2018/10/29/pittsburgh-suspects-hatred-of-jews-hias-part-of-larger-anti-immigrant-surge/

    Apparently this week’s talking heads spin is that this is a great opportunity to puff up the open border movement, bootstrapping a pet political position off the deaths.

    I also note other talking heads off RNS this morning – the Washington Post for example – have picked up the chant.

    Let’s be clear: this shooting took place at a synagogue and Jews and only Jews were murdered because the perpetrator hates Jews.

    Spinning mass murder into an anti-Administration political narrative is not acceptable. But those to whom politics IS a religion never miss a chance to do it:

  • It does in the eyes of those that aren’t Christians Mark. AND that is the point.

    No chip on my shoulder. I just state the facts that you seem unable to deal with! It is time for you to grow up.

  • Trump and his supporters and those on the right and the left need to take responsibility for their WORDS as well as their actions.

    Trump is responsible for giving extremists approval for acting out their extremist beliefs.

    Studies show that inflammatory rhetoric (WORDS) can send a nut case over the edge, and spur his/her action.

    Why on earth do you think Trump says the things he says if he didn’t want to rile up his base and send them into a mob induced frenzy?

    Trumps support comes from a coalition of “average conservatives”, neo-nazis/white supremicists, and libertarians. So by aligning themselves in this coalition to support Trump the “average conservative” has climbed into bed with the neo-nazis.

    IF you don’t like that then get out. Refuse to vote OR vote for Democrats in this coming election. The choice is yours to make.

  • Now Spuddie Parker is right those guys are not average conservatives! They are extremists.

    The “average conservative” is a person like Parker who is unable to make his own decisions, obedience for him is the greatest virtue, to dis-obey the greatest sin. He doesn’t have the tools a person needs to think critically. These folk have aligned themselves in a coalition (which is got into bed with the other members of the coalition which includes new-nazis and libertarians) AND they are unable to get themselves out of the mess they have gotten themselves into.

    ALL men like Parker can do is deny, deny, deny, that they aren’t like those other guys. BUT they don’t have the courage and integrity it takes to get out of the coalition. They can never admit they sold their souls to the Devil and turned their back on the God they pretend to worship.

  • No, it’s time for you to grow up.

    You attributed all manner of evil to religious leaders and plain folks, just admitted that the problem lies in the perceptions of non-Christians rather than any objective offense on the part of Christians, and now have the chutzpah to call that “facts” and suggest I grow up.

  • You have a problem.

    “I am an Atheist, a Democrat and very Liberal.”

    And unfortunately very Intolerant.

  • The only intolerance her is from you. You can’t accept the idea that we human beings need to stop talking about “Christian values” and start admitting that “good values” are UNIVERSAL values, that cross cultural, ethnic, religious lines. These UNIVERSAL values, condemning the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue, condemning the mail bomber, condemning the shooting at the Republican ball game a year ago, condemning the shouts of ‘lock her up’ at Trump rallies, condemning the separation of children from parents at our borders and the treatment of the people seeking asylum in this country–to name a few items—this condemnation is UNIVERSAL. It isn’t a Christian value it is a Universal value to respect the rights and freedoms and basic dignity of ALL people.

    AND until you realize this you will continue to be a child in your moral maturity, and judgment. Grow up.

  • Ok, I agree.
    I will wait for you to condemn the following:
    1) Maxine waters
    2) Hillary Clinton
    3) Chelsea handler
    4) Eric holder
    5) Elizabeth warren
    6) the entire left-wing media
    7) bill mahar
    8) Samantha bee
    9) Adam schiff
    10) Kathy griffin
    11) etc, etc, ad nauseum

  • I hope you keep quiet while you wait because you will be waiting a VERY long time!

    By the way I have often pointed out Hillary Clintons problems! I really like Elizabeth Warren and hope she runs for president!

  • So you will not condemn the vile that that list of people has made to/about trump and / or his supporters?

  • let me clarify because it seems that my comment didn’t come across as intended – which is apparent by your comment and that of my good friend spuddie; who goes from zero to 100 like the Tazmainian Devil of cartoon lore whenever (s)he gets an opportunity to spew DNC talking points.
    The person who committed this act was not Christ-like in his actions; he was not Christian- not a true follower (believer) of Christ.
    In fact, by definition; his actions were against the teachings of Christ and are outright evil.
    I can see how you associated my original comments as an affront to atheists.
    Don’t get me wrong; I still disagree with atheists, but my comment above was that anyone who commits those types of acts are not a believer in Christ.

  • You constantly pontificate the high and mighty “UNIVERSAL values, that cross cultural, ethnic, religious lines.”

    And then you launch an attack on religion and people with religious beliefs. That, of course, is your area of bigotry.

    From that position you’re hardly able to make the argument that someone else is a child in moral maturity and judgment, and suggest she or he grow up.

  • Well, apparently, this man posted much anti-immigrant ranting on a gab.com account, blaming Jews for the caravan that has come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, traveling to the US. So, that connection is clear.

    The stuff that Trump has been tweeting about the caravan has been inflammatory, as well as what he has been tweeting and saying about immigrants from the very beginning. Various sociologists have pointed out that when a president uses such rhetoric, he normalizes it. Sadly, such behavior is not unique to Trump, but in today’s world of instant 24-hour news reporting and social media repeating of content, it is having a magnified effect. Pretending that this is not so is not really helpful.

  • A connection is clear.

    The motivation of the shooter was, no doubt about, anti-semitism.

    Speaking of normalizing rhetoric, you ought to follow Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton, and Eric Holder.

    But none of them, nor the President, was the reason why this anti-semite and probably mentally ill individual murdered 11 people.

  • I think that in that sentence he was referring to US groups. The Baptist Church in TX would be an example of US Christians attacked. An overlap would be Black Christians in North Carolina.

  • Maxine Waters ought not to have said that people ought to create a crowd wherever they see a member of the administration. However, I believe that anyone ought to feel free to approach politicians in public — they have chosen to be public figures — and tell the politician if one disagrees or agrees with them.

    Hillary Clinton calling people “deplorables” was, itself, deplorable.
    Holder’s comment about kicking people when they are down was also highly inappropriate.

    However, those comments are more than outweighed by the tweets and the ginning up of racism, xenophobia, and other types of hatred by Trump.

    I don’t know the direct reason for the man’s behavior. However, I think that there is a great need for the president of this country to stop ginning up hatred.

  • https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/25/politics/maxine-waters-trump-officials/index.html

    Maxine went a bit past suggesting people have a right to approach politicians in public.

    A bit.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/politics/hillary-clinton-civility-congress-cnntv/index.html

    “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/10/eric-holder-when-they-go-low-we-kick-them-thats-what-this-new-democratic-party-is-about/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f2050124ae9e

    During a campaign swing in McDonough, Ga., on Sunday, former attorney general Eric Holder notes former first lady Michelle Obama’s high-minded 2016 slogan, “When they go low, we go high.” Then he makes clear he disagrees.

    “No, no,” Holder says. “When they go low, we kick ’em. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”

    ***

    Let’s not be – like Silk – partisan twits and pretend that the President owns all incivility, discord, and the Pittsburgh shootings.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/our-descent-into-vitriol-began-long-before-trump–and-democrats-are-culpable-too/2018/10/30/e5c1b6b6-dc51-11e8-85df-7a6b4d25cfbb_story.html?utm_term=.1ed0f824ad71

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/10/trump_didnt_start_the_fire.html

  • I do not condemn those that criticize Trump or those that criticize his supporters. They are deserving of criticism. I will criticize someone if they call for violence.

  • I said that Maxine ought not to have said what she did about creating crowds. I don’t think that it’s good to encourage anyone to bully other, and I think that’s what she was doing. I also said that Holder’s comment was highly inappropriate. Suggesting that anyone kick anyone else is not good.

    Although HIllary Clinton is not one of my favorite people, for many reasons, I don’t think that saying that someone cannot be civil with someone else is in the same ballpark as saying that she ought to be imprisoned.
    You talk of not engaging in partisan twists, yet you seem loathe to acknowledge that the commander-in-chief has notched incivility and all kind of animus in a major way.

  • “Classic NY businessman”??????????
    Most NY buinesmen publicly diavov racism and misogyny, rather than flaunting it.

    And pointing out the bad behavior of Trump is not equivalent to blaming Republicans for it.

  • The actual statements of President Donald Trump disavow racism and misogyny.

    Your personal dislike does not constitute a fact, nor a datum.

  • How long ago was that?

    Would you like a litany of activities from FDR, John F. Kennedy, Jr, and Bill Clinton WHILE THEY WERE IN OFFICE?

    After two years of this nonsense, isn’t time to move forward?

  • I’m sorry you see it as politicizing. This is what we actually think. So what we have here is a difference of opinion. Our reading of the evidence is that Trump is encouraging white supremacists and violent racists. Anti-Semitic attacks have gone up 57% in one year. People beating other people while yelling “TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP”. A noticeable increase in racist violence between citizens, from people claiming to support Trump. Children taunting other children that they are going to be deported, based on the color of their skin. I agree completely that none of this is Christian. So why are you keeping company? Trump and Fox News say that HIAS is bringing in dangerous refugees. That is a lie. This person believed that lie. He killed Jews because of that lie. That is the connection we see. It’s not politics. It’s not the Democratic Party. It’s not CNN. It’s what we — as Jews — see. I don’t blame these attacks on Christianity or Christians. i blame them on white supremacy. If you say, “I love you and I oppose all hated and violence”, I believe you. I believe in your intention and your good will. America has been the safest country for Jews in Jewish history. Obviously, our safety is created by millions upon millions of good people like you. But if you also say, “I don’t see how Trump is connected to this” — i don’t know what to say. The connections between someone who encourages violence against vulnerable people and actual violence against vulnerable people is obvious to us. There are six refugee agencies who all do exactly the same work — one of them is Lutheran. Why hasn’t the work of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service been mentioned on any conservative news outlets? Why not the Catholic one? Only HIAS? Why? People are responsible for the evil they do. News outlets and politicians and other leaders have a moral responsibility not to engage in anti-Semitic lies.

  • “Our reading of the evidence is that Trump…,,”
    I would be curious to know what evidence you base your opinion on.

  • Nonsense?
    He has not, to the best of my knowledge, stepped back from any of his past behaviors or statements.

    Someone who refers to specific countries as “s—h—-“, who focuses on evil, where none exists, who believes that brown-skinned people are uniformly dangerous, who openly supports men who credibly have been accused of child molestation — need I go on?
    Neither FDR, nor JFK, nor Bill Clinton are in office now. And although I was not around when FDR was president, I do remember much criticism of JFK and, more clearly, of Bill Clinton.

    It’s kind of funny that you think that 2 years of criticism is too much, yet bring up someone from the 1930’s.

    Why is the current occupant of the White House supposed to be immune from criticism?

  • I am certainly glad you conditioned your statement with “to the best of my knowledge”.

    Dodging with “(n)either FDR, nor JFK, nor Bill Clinton are in office now” does not improve your argument, which appears to be that Satan resides in the White House, and pay no never mind to what transpired there in the recent past.

    I don’t “think that 2 years of criticism is too much”.

    What concerns me is that is beyond that and into attacking the very system by which govern, calling into question election results, sleazing nominating hearings, suggesting there “will be blood in the streets”, and so on.

    To gain some idea of the rapid degeneration, the Democrats two years after finding their message was rejected, have no front runners for the next attempt and no new messages.

  • I was just listening to a snippet of an interview on Fresh Air with Mc Kay Coppins, who did an interesting profile of Newt Gingrich for The Atlantic. It’s worth a read.
    “Sleazing nomination hearings” …. That’s an interesting view ….

    I’m not sure what was rejected by whom. The fact that so few people voted in this election seems to point to the fact that the majority of the electorate rejected the two choices that they had.

  • Voter turnout in 2016 was higher than in 2012:

    https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/324206-new-report-finds-that-voter-turnout-in-2016-topped-2012

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/no-voter-turnout-wasnt-way-down-from-2012/

    PBS and CNN both reported a low turnout. Both were wrong.

    There’s nothing particularly interesting about noting that the Democrats tried Clarence Thomas II. Fortunately it all seems to have worked out for Dr. Ford after Feinstein threw her under the bus:

    https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2018/10/27/nothing_to_gain_kavanaugh_accusers_coffers_are_growing.html

    Her two GoFundMe accounts have raised more than $840k and she is getting book offers.

  • I can’t find the source for the figures that I had found before. So, you’re right. If that’s true, than the situation is much more frightening than I thought. Many more people than I realized voted for a demagogue and serial liar and failed businessman, who continued in business only because his father had left him so much money, that it was almost impossible to lose enough to make a difference. This is a man who had a history of not paying contractors and employees. He also demonized immigrants and minorities. He had a history of racist behavior and publicly admitted to assaulting women.

    It’s awful that so may would vote for a man like that……

    Anyone who defends a man like that……

  • Let’s try a more honest accurate presention:

    “The situation is much more frightening than I thought. Many more people than I realized voted for the person I did not vote for because I consider him a demagogue and serial liar.”

    “Based on next to no data, I think he’s a failed businessman, who continued in business only because his father had left him so much money, that it was almost impossible to lose enough to make a difference.”

    “Similarly although he has a number of businesses minting money and, I heard from the sources I like, he is a man who had a history of not paying contractors and employees.”

    “By adopting almost verbatim the positions of Bill Clinton when he was president, he also demonized immigrants.”

    “I understand he had a history of racist behavior, although I can’t cite particulars, and he supposedly publicly admitted to assaulting women, unlike Bill Clinton who posed, obfuscated, and outright lied about his escapades.”

    “It’s awful that so may would vote for a man that I would not vote for.”

    “Anyone who defends a man like that apparently disagrees with me.”

    I think that gets the message out without the recitation of rumor and unsupported invective.

  • Mr. Connolly,

    This conversation is over. You have no clue what goes on in my head. Your assumptions regarding that are erroneous.

    Please don’t reply. I will no longer engage with you.

  • Alexandra, you never seem to have trouble reading what goes on in the heads of those with whom you disagree.

    I thought that doing the same in your direction would be instructive.

    Apparently it was; your reaction indicates the nerve was hit.

  • It’s good to see that you have provided no citations or evidence for your claims. Your pre-conceived notions (as a Democrat) and desired outcomes lead you nowhere except where you desire to be.