Statement on the Attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue

Press release

Montreal, October 29th, 2018

Palestinian and Jewish Unity condemns the odious and criminal attack by the extreme-right militant and Trump devotee, Robert Bowers which resulted in the deaths of eleven members of the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and the wounding of six others, all at prayer at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday morning, October 27th, 2018. This crapulous hate-crime is the bitter fruit of the rise of the new fascism which calls itself the ‘Alt-Right’ movement. We express our deep sympathy with the bereaved families and friends of the victims of this senseless crime.

What we are witnessing at present – growing out of a terrain sown with the seeds of neo-liberal austerity planning and the accompanying job loss, impoverishment and breaking down of the social fabric – is the emergence of ever-increasing xenophobic, anti-immigrant and anti-visible minority extreme-right movements, akin to those which rose in the Twenties and Thirties of the previous century on the heels of the Great Depression.

The massacre of the Jews at prayer at the synagogue– like the massacre of the Muslims at prayer in the Quebec City mosque, like the too numerous killings of religious and ethnic groups elsewhere in the world, impose upon all right-minded people to stand in solidarity against the rise of ultra-nationalism wherever it shows itself. It is also incumbent upon us all to see with clarity the causes of the rise of the new fascism so as to defeat it. We must stand against any attempt to target as scapegoats particular religious or ethnic groups for political ends. We must stand for the principle that every individual citizen – regardless of origin or gender, whether religious or non-religious – is equal before the law. It means accepting ‘difference’ in principle.

PAJU also points the finger at Benjamin Netanyahu who has from the outset been an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and whose own extreme-right government has pursued close ties with certain American anti-Semites, most notably Robert Jeffers (1) and John Hagee (2), both of whom delivered speeches in Jerusalem at the ceremony marking the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s hawkish extreme-right government does not reflect Jewish values or Jewish intellectual traditions. It is also incumbent upon Jews as a whole to draw a distinction between Judaism the religion and Israelism, the cult.

(1) Pastor Who Thinks Jews Are Going To Hell Speaks At Jerusalem Embassy Opening

(2) McCain Backer Hagee Said Hitler Was Fulfilling God’s Will (AUDIO)

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