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Responses to the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh

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Yesterday was a tragic day in U.S. history, the murders of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue in what the evidence shows was a hate crime. The accused killer was enraged by Jewish community support for refugees. We join with so many others in lamenting the horror and in urging Americans to face down the demons that have been unleashed by the license that the Trump administration has given to bigotry.

Yesterday was also a big news story, and the responses to the killings are of great importance for all wrestling with issues of anti-Semitism, gun violence, white nationalist anger, and the place of Jews and other minorities in America. Below we convey many political responses to the killings.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s minister of education in Israel, announced within minutes of the news that he was going to Pittsburgh.

I’m flying tonight, as Minister of the Diaspora, to Pittsburgh to be with our sisters and brothers on their darkest hour. When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel the pain. Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters and with the entire American people.

David Simon the television writer responded sharply to Bennett–the US Jewish community is bleeding at the hands of the Israeli prime minister:

Go home. Netanyahu’s interventions in US politics aided in the election of Donald Trump and his raw and relentless validation of white nationalism and fascism. The American Jewish community is now bleeding at the hands of the Israeli prime minister. And many of us know it.

Richard Goldwasser also told Bennett to stay home:

Where have you been for the last two years while Trump and Bibi have courted anti-Semites around the world?

Ran Shauli points out that Naftali Bennett has urged the expulsion of refugees in Israel.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says he is heartbroken and appalled. In his weekend cabinet meeting he blamed radical Islam but did not mention the evident source of the killings: white nationalism.

I call upon the whole world to unite in the fight against anti-Semitism everywhere. Today, regretfully, we refer to the United States, where the largest anti-Semitic crime in its history took place, but we also mean, of course, Western Europe, where there is a tough struggle against the manifestations of a new anti-Semitism. Of course there is also the old and familiar anti-Semitism, and that of radical Islam. On all these fronts we must stand up and fight back against this brutal fanaticism.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach placed the blame for the killings on anti-Zionism, on the “delegitimization of Israel and the Jewish people.” He cites those who look away when Jews are “intimidated on campus by a growing anti-Israel movement,” and “those who excuse Islamic attacks on Jews as freedom-fighting.” Boteach praised Trump, saying that he has been a “huge supporter of Israel, and has a Jewish daughter and Jewish grand-children” and that he would have a positive role in addressing the killings.

Simone Zimmerman of IfNotNow was emphatic in rebuking Boteach:

Jewish fascists abusing white-supremacist terrorism to stoke Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate. Your collaboration with our Nazi-friendly administration is part of what allowed this to happen, and you are a disgrace to our people.

Julia Ioffe, a Zionist and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, who was subject to anti-Semitic death threats over her profile of Melania Trump two years ago, blamed the murders on the move of the embassy to Jerusalem by Trump, pushed by rightwing Zionists in the U.S.– in a tweet that has drawn a lot of scorn:

And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president makes this possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it.

The Forward has removed its paywall over the news. Peter Beinart notes that many rightwing Jewish supporters of Trump (including Mort Klein and Sheldon Adelson) have justifed bars on Muslim refugees but says the murders affirm a Jewish tradition of openness to immigrants and refugees.

For Jews, the lesson of yesterday’s massacre is very simple and very old: Protecting the strangers among us is not charity. It is self-defense. Every time Jews defend the right of American Muslims to follow sharia, we protect our right to follow halacha….

Robert Bowers accused Jews of “bringing” Muslims and refugees to the United States. To him and all the other white nationalists Trump has emboldened, our answer should be: Damn right. We will demand a humane policy for people seeking refuge in the United States and defend those immigrants — no matter their race or faith — who are already here.

Beinart does not address the obdurate stance of Israel toward refugees, which the accused killer evidently remarked upon himself with irony.

Jane Eisner at the Forward says it’s time for the Jewish community to take Trump on frontally:

It’s time for the Jewish community in all its many facets to confront the complicity of the man in the White House, and all who support him — with money, votes, political expertise and moral cover.

Because if you excuse the radical divisiveness spawned by this man, you are part of the problem. If you ignore his hateful tweets because you like his policies on Israel, you are part of the problem. If you silently cheer at the fascist-like rallies before only adoring audiences because you’ve got a few more dollars in your pocket, you are part of the problem.

Hamas condemned the killings in a statement:

It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we received the news about the terrorist attack on a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh, which resulted in killing 11 innocent Jews and injuring six others.

As Palestinians who have been enduring the terrorism of the Israeli occupation, we are the most to realise what terrorism means and its destructive consequences.
On this sorrowful occasion, we would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.
This aggressive act against ‘worship places’, which is highly condemned, highlights that terrorism has no religion nor ideology.

A Muslim-led campaign to help the victims has raised nearly $50,000 overnight.

A British Zionist group also blames the left:

All over the world, far-right, far-left and Islamist extremists are stoking the flames of Jew-hatred, with too little done to stop them.

Josh Block, leader of the Israel Project, singles out anti-Zionists:

In light of today’s shooting in Pittsburgh… It is important to talk about how growing anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are creating a toxic brew coming from both the fringe right & left.

Peter Feld responds:

Of course the lobby is already exploiting the horrific Pittsburgh shooting—directly caused by Trump stirring up racist mobs, with his Israeli allies fully complicit and making their own alliances with anti-Semites—to bully and silence pro-Palestinian voices.

The liberal Zionist group J Street focuses on Trump’s America:

This is a nightmare for Jewish people across the United States and around the world, and for our country…

This moment calls for responsible leadership. We must all join together in condemning the rising tide of white nationalism, racism and hatred directed at Jewish people and other vulnerable minorities in our country. And we must call for an end to the extreme rhetoric, laced with bigotry and racism, that is dominating our national discourse and breeding violence.

There are many vigils for the victims. Here is a site where you can find one near you. For instance, the description of the vigil tonight in Madison:

we come together to offer support to one another and to stand against hate, white supremacy, and religious bigotry.

Jewish Voice for Peace is organizing this online session of grief and strength in the face of anti-Semitism, at noon.

Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador, is politicizing the murders in a special way: calling on the Israeli right in the person of Naftali Bennett to recognize American strains of Judaism, Reform and conservative, that it has resisted– so as to fight Jewish assimilation in America.

“Liberal Jews were Jewish enough to be murdered, but their stream is not Jewish enough to be recognized by the Jewish State. The murder would weaken communities that are already fighting assimilation. Israel must strengthen the communities by tightening the connections with them,” he said. “I call on Minister Bennett not to suffice with condolences, but to recognize liberal Jewish streams and unite the people.”

Bari Weiss, a pro-Israel writer at the New York Times, retweeted the Oren comments as a form of needed “leadership.” Weiss is from the community of Squirrel Hill, PA, where the murders took place. She has called on Jews to give to HIAS, the refugee-supporting organization that the accused killer was fixated on, and to affirm Jewish culture. She echoes the message, “Do something Jewish this week.”

Batya Ungar-Sargon of the Forward says that the chief rabbi of Israel refused to describe the scene of the murder as a synagogue because Israel doesn’t recognize such Jewish belief.

JR’s mural in New York city on the “Gun Chronicles” was annotated with large red graffiti overnight: the number 11, a memorial to the Pittsburgh victims.

And from the Center for Jewish History in New York:

The evil of anti-Semitism that has persisted throughout history has struck yet again this weekend in Pittsburgh. The Center for Jewish History was created in part so that we may learn from past atrocities in order to combat the devastation that hatred can cause. We stand now with all Jewish communities in sadness and mourning at this shocking act of violence.

Thanks to Adam Horowitz, Allison Deger, James North and Scott Roth.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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115 Responses

  1. Mooser on October 28, 2018, 1:19 pm

    “Jane Eisner at the Forward says it’s time for the Jewish community to take Trump on frontally”

    You bet! Throw the Jerusalem Embassy right back in his face, and refuse to accept any money for Israel’s qualitative arms advantage. We’ll show him!

    • Kay24 on October 28, 2018, 2:32 pm

      Now Mooser, you know THAT ain’t gonna happen. What should happen(okay that will not happen either), is Adelson demanding that Trump pass some tighter gun laws, and ban semi-automatic weapons too. The piper should call the tune again. He got Jerusalem, surely he should do something for the safety of the American people for a change? Or is he buddies with the NRA too, I wonder.

      What happened in Pittsburg is terrible, and sad, and as many people say, the country has become one with many angry people, and many are racist. Whether it is a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a Black church in SC, or a Mosque in Quebec, these racist attacks should not be happening in our part of the world. People should be able to pray at their places of worship with no fear, and in peace. The tone is always set by the White House, and due to years of campaigning on hate, and racist attacks on minorities and immigrants, and bombarding his supporters with lies, Trump has set the ugliest tone this country has ever seen. The Republicans control all three branches of government, and they are still very angry, bitter, and some have carried that anger too far.
      When will America wake up to what is really going on here?

      • Mooser on October 28, 2018, 4:17 pm

        “Adelson demanding that Trump pass some tighter gun laws, and ban semi-automatic weapons too.”

        I don’t think Trump will make it harder for Americans to defend themselves just because Adelson asks him to.

      • Maghlawatan on October 30, 2018, 12:50 am

        Pittsburgh Muslims have raised $70k – this is how Israel/Palestine should be

      • Kay24 on October 30, 2018, 9:21 am

        Maghlawatan, it was a great gesture by the Muslims in Pittsburgh to raise funds for the victims.
        You are right, when the Palestinians are in dire need, aid cut off, hospitals not given funding for urgent medical care, you wish someone somewhere would do the same for them too, disregarding their occupier.

    • Marnie on October 29, 2018, 1:02 am

      If tRUMP is going to be taken anywhere, how about to the nearest dumpster fire he started and see if he can continue to fan the flames when his actual ass is on fire.

      I can’t imagine an hour so dark that the sight and sounds of naftali bennett, benjamin netanyahoo or any other representative of the patch of dirt that is responsible so much death and destruction, would do anything more than rub salt into my wounds. Especially as their brand of comfort is as cold as an iceberg and would sound like I told you so and not how can I help. They’re ambulance chasers of the worst order. I only hope that most jews would be able to see through their very thin veneer of civility, humility and compassion and see if for what it is: A publicity stunt. A chance to scold and shame american jews for their murmurs (whispers really) of dissent and distaste for the ‘state of israel’, its colonization of and death grip on palestinian lives, its treatment of the poor and the elderly among them and its vilification of african asylum seekers and among other things, it’s constant interfering in american politics and american life, which they want in the worst way, but cannot have because apparently there is a god somewhere putting the brakes on that at least.

      So how is old bibs going to spin this tragedy?

    • Misterioso on October 29, 2018, 9:15 am

      @Mooser, et al


      Al Jazeera, Oct. 28/18

      “Muslims crowdfund for victims of Pittsburgh synagogue attack”

      • Marnie on October 29, 2018, 12:53 pm

        They’ve already raised almost 130,000 of their 150,000 dollar goal. Amazing.

  2. Maghlawatan on October 28, 2018, 3:07 pm

    Fair play to Hamas. Very impressive. Shows how much Israeli spin on Gaza is projection

    This is a primer on the real deal :

    Réal antisemitism happens at the end of credit expansion systems- Russia 1880s (Protocols), Germany 1930s and now

    I feel very sorry for people like Maggie Haberman.

    Maggie Haberman


    Folks – the question today is about anti-Semitism as well as gun laws.

    Binyamin Appelbaum


    This nation is under attack by white supremacist terrorism.

    Howard Fineman


    I’m not sure that there’s been a more deadly attack on a synagogue in America. Or this kind of mass shooting in #Pittsburgh. And it happened in #SquirrelHill, one of the safest, quietest, most pleasant, city communities in the nation. No one is safe, no one is immune. Anywhere.

    Ben Tarnoff


    Can’t overstate the extent to which antisemitism is the base layer of fascism. Everything else is built on top of it.

    This was a very sad tweet



    « Making an exception and posting on Shabbat. Our hearts are broken. »

    The world is broken. We need a new economic system. We do not need real antisemitism this time around. We do not need a world war.

    Trump’s war came to Judaism yesterday.

  3. Maghlawatan on October 28, 2018, 3:19 pm

    There is a real feeling of the boy who cried wolf in the aftermath. Real antisemitism is murderous.

    There was always something naive about pinning it on anti Zionists. Or people like Corbyn.

    Some awful stuff happening in the US

    It is all linked to
    macroeconomics and inequality. Trump is darkness.

    People like Kushner and Adelson are enablers.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 28, 2018, 3:46 pm

      “There was always something naive about pinning it on anti Zionists. Or people like Corbyn.”

      There was and is nothing in the least bit naive about it. It’s the opposite of naive – it’s the height of cynicism.

      The aim is to use antisemitism as a tool to criminalise all pro-Palestinian advocacy and dialogue. None of these people give a damn about real antisemitism. They just think it’s an ace way to smear anyone who’s not on track with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. And they’re at it even now – the Manchester Guardian couldn’t resist prefacing Corbyn’s condemnation of this crime with a snide reference to his alleged ‘antisemitism’. Naive? Not on your life.

      • Maghlawatan on October 28, 2018, 4:15 pm


        Naïve because white supremacism and its friend debt are and always were the enemy. That is why the model is the boy who cried wolf.

        Once Thatcher and Reagan reintroduced crédit growth as the system real antisemitism was inevitable. Think about all the times Netanyahu spoke about defeating all of the enemies of the Jews or Zionists spoke about Israel normalizing the Jews. Or even Phil Weiss arguing that the US was safe.

        Israel needs to find a modus operandi with the Palestinians. That little old lady whose name I can’t remember said « they told me the Palestinians were my enemy »
        And she replied « the Palestinians are not my enemy » She survived the Holocaust.

        The Palestinians are not the enemy. They are just ordinary decent schmucks.

        The enemy is out there . This is the great game.

      • RoHa on October 28, 2018, 11:10 pm

        Interesting essay on anti-Semitism by Michael Neumann.

  4. Spring Renouncer on October 28, 2018, 4:03 pm

    This is an awful crime and my heart goes out to all of those affected.

    I was watching CNN this morning and there was discussion of how the attack may have been related to Donald Trump’s bigotry. Multiple of the president’s supporters, including Anthony Scaramucci, defended him, saying that since Donald Trump loves the State of Israel, moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, has a daughter who converted to Judaism and Jewish grandchildren he couldn’t possibly be antisemitic. It was remarkable how American Jews and Israel were conflated without any push back whatsoever from the host (Jake Tapper).

    The things that Trump says about George Soros and others are based in antisemitism, and his rhetoric on race and immigration seem to have fed the hatred of this terrorist (and others). The fact that he is friendly with Israel and its reactionary government is irrelevant; he is able to be pro-Saudi and also hate Muslims in a somewhat similar way. That Ivanka Trump married Jared Kushner and converted to Judaism is irrelevant too. The entire family consists of plutocrats who enjoy 24/7 armed security and attend elite, secure institutions: they are too rich to be touched by identity.

  5. Maghlawatan on October 28, 2018, 4:24 pm

    This is a huge catastrophe for AIPAC. Gets into bed with Trump in the name of protecting Jewish interests. Trump uses antisemitism in his dog whistling.
    AIPAC is supposed to look after US Jews.

    • catalan on October 28, 2018, 5:00 pm

      “Trump uses antisemitism in his dog whistling.” Mag
      But Bernie doesn’t? The one percent, Wall Street, the billionaires, etc. Wink wink. How is Keith’s constant libel about Jewish networks and preferential treatments and so on better than the right wing’s? Birds of a feather but at least one is less duplicitous. Poland happened because Hitler and Stalin both hated Jews.

      • Maghlawatan on October 28, 2018, 5:11 pm

        It’s all part of the same problem Catalan. The rich will not abandon the system until everything is destroyed. We have to override this this time. Finance is the problem. Everyone loses.

      • Keith on October 28, 2018, 6:11 pm

        CATALAN- ” How is Keith’s constant libel about Jewish networks and preferential treatments and so on better than the right wing’s?”

        Yet another example of Catalan misrepresenting me, in this case libelously so. Let us see some quotes, bigmouth. The ludicrous claim that discussing the dynamics and distribution of power in our political economy is de facto anti-Semitic represents the aggressive tactic of intimidation in defense of power and privilege. Reality is what it is and should ALWAYS be open to discussion. Why do you find honesty so threatening?

      • Keith on October 28, 2018, 6:20 pm

        CATALAN- “Poland happened because Hitler and Stalin both hated Jews.”

        The Polish non-Jews were irrelevant? So, World War II was little more than one big pogrom? What a preposterous statement. And this from hasbarat who claims to “…care little about either Judaism or Zionism….” Have you no sense of shame?

      • catalan on October 28, 2018, 6:37 pm

        “And this from hasbarat “ Keith
        Nice word with -rat at the end, good subliminal messaging. The Nazis also were fond of the “rat” analogy; funny coming from someone more Russian than the Russkies. Keith, you are the epitome of class and elegance.

      • Keith on October 28, 2018, 8:21 pm

        CATALAN- “Nice word with -rat at the end, good subliminal messaging.”

        Hasbarat is a legitimate word for someone who engages in Hasbara. The fact that the word ends in “-rat” is irrelevant, something only noticed by a dishonest person trying to misrepresent the comment. You are one sick puppy.

        CATALAN- “The Nazis also were fond of the “rat” analogy….”

        The slimy inference being what? Calling you a hasbarat makes me a Nazi? No, it makes you a propagandist for Israel and Zionism, your claims of disinterest in the topic deceitful. So, how does a successful and “selfish” (your words) businessman such as you find the time to make so many comments on Mondoweiss? One would have thought that libeling me would have a relatively low priority for someone with your claimed background.

        CATALAN- “Keith, you are the epitome of class and elegance.”

        Compared to you, who isn’t? Haven’t you got something better to do than go out of your way to throw mud at me? And then divert the discussion to avoid dealing with the points I raise? These personal attacks on me only serve to divert attention away from the actions of Israel and of American Zionists, something which apparently serves your perceived interests.

      • Mooser on October 28, 2018, 9:22 pm

        “Hasbarat” is just short for Hasbaratchnik. Perfectly ordinary word.

      • catalan on October 29, 2018, 3:25 pm

        “No, it makes you a propagandist for Israel and Zionism” Keith
        Why is saying that Jews face hostility from both the right (Trump, Bannon) and the left (Sanders, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan) an example of Hasbara? It has nothing to do with Israel or Zionism but rather an observation about American (and general reality). In fact, the shooter in Pittsburgh was influenced by the stupid memes that Soros finances the “caravan”; Soros is one of your favorite enemies too. Hasbara has nothing to do with it. It’s a fact that both you and Trump are not fans of the Jews. Either way, I have no intention of ever moving to Israel, if only for the reason that my presence is such an aggravation for you and yours.

      • Mooser on October 29, 2018, 4:25 pm

        “Either way, I have no intention of ever moving to Israel, if only for the reason that my presence is such an aggravation for you and yours.”

        Sour grapes, “catalan”. Under the new “Nation-State Law” in Israel, you couldn’t move there.

      • Keith on October 29, 2018, 4:44 pm

        CATALAN- “Why is saying that Jews face hostility from both the right (Trump, Bannon) and the left (Sanders, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan) an example of Hasbara?”

        The first I am hearing you say this is right now. You are very dishonest. You completely ignore what has been said before and concoct some ludicrous scenario. And the notion that Trump and/or Sanders is hostile to Jews is ludicrous. All you do is make libelous assertions with no supporting evidence or logic.

        CATALAN- “…Soros is one of your favorite enemies too.”

        Soros is a jerk who attacks foreign currencies and sponsors color revolutions. Yet, conflating me with the Pittsburgh shooter is incredibly dishonest. Are you defending Soros? Currency speculation? Manufactured color revolutions? Our whole financial system is rotten to the core. And yes, I consider Soros much more dangerous than Sheldon Adelson. We need to get rid of all of these oligarchs including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, etc.

        CATALAN- “It’s a fact that both you and Trump are not fans of the Jews.”

        Two lies in one sentence. First you conflate me with Trump, someone I find loathsome. Then you falsely state that I dislike (not a fan of) Jews. There are many Jews I admire, Noam Chomsky and John Pilger good examples. I don’t know why you think that Trump is anti-Semitic, I would have thought he was rather philo-Semitic. And you are the one who keeps saying how you approve of Trump’s policies. ” Not only was the night of Trump’s election one of the happiest in my life, but his presidency has been so good to me.” (Catalan) Basically, you are a liar who suffers no guilt from simply making dishonest statements.

        CATALAN- “… if only for the reason that my presence is such an aggravation for you and yours.”

        So you get your kicks being a Mondoweiss troll. I certainly hope that the folks who administer Mondoweiss take that into consideration.

      • annie on October 29, 2018, 6:13 pm

        keith, rather amusing how he’s using the exact argument as israel’s US ambassador but fails to recognize it’s hasbara. as if it’s not the ambassador’s job to promote israel. dermer is a master hasbrat. he segues from the murder to jeremy corbyn in a heartbeat. unlike catalan, he’s a true professional. catalan is too devoted to his disguise, self promotion, and trying to incite to be effective. dermer is slippery but not slippery enough to fool anyone.

      • catalan on October 29, 2018, 8:42 pm

        “unlike catalan, he’s a true professional.” Annie
        I made the cliche comment that the political extremes tend to be unfriendly towards Jews. Both Bernie and Brannon seem to be unfriendly to Jews. Let’s say you disagree. How any of thay has to do with Israel let alone propaganda for Israel is a mystery to me.

      • annie on October 29, 2018, 9:19 pm

        The ludicrous claim that discussing the dynamics and distribution of power in our political economy is de facto anti-Semitic represents the aggressive tactic of intimidation in defense of power and privilege.

        i agree keith. as is the ludicrous claim that “The one percent” is “Wink wink” bernie sanders code for jews (somebody should tell wiki

        and since when did “wall street” become code for jews? or “billionaires” become code for jews? and when did sanders become a political extremist? it’s like this whole slew of stuff no one is supposed to talk about now because it’s code for jews? and the normalizing of bannon by putting him on some scale w/sanders (arguably one of the most, if not the most, beloved american jew, ever). seriously, it’s not worth the effort trying to discourse w/someone who slings arounds outlandish unsubstantiated presumptions. better to just grab the popcorn.

      • Mooser on October 30, 2018, 11:38 am

        “and since when did “wall street” become code for jews? or “billionaires” become code for jews?”

        “Annie”, as the Yiddish saying goes: “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” What I want to know is When did Jesus become code for Jews?!?

      • Keith on October 30, 2018, 2:22 pm

        MOOSER- ” When did Jesus become code for Jews?!?”

        Interestingly, not only was Jesus a devout Jew, the early “Christians” were exclusively Jews. It was Saul/Paul who was not an apostle and never met Jesus who proselytized among the non-Jews and who was primarily responsible for establishing the Christian religion as separate from Judaism. “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” by Reza Aslan is an interesting read.

      • RoHa on October 31, 2018, 2:08 am

        “Interestingly, not only was Jesus a devout Jew, the early “Christians” were exclusively Jews.”

        According to the Gospels. There may be a few words of truth in them.

        ” It was Saul/Paul who was not an apostle …”

        Technically speaking, he was not a disciple. He never knew the historical Jesus. (If such a person ever existed.) He was, however, and apostle – a chosen messenger – for his vision of Jesus.

      • Keith on October 31, 2018, 11:44 am

        ROHA- ” He was, however, and apostle – a chosen messenger – for his vision of Jesus.”

        My comment was based upon Reza Aslan’s book. “Paul may have considered himself an apostle, but it seems that few if any of the other movement leaders agreed.” (p184, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Reza Aslan) Saul of Tarsus was a self-promoter, not one of the original twelve apostles, his claim of a divine vision notwithstanding. But if you wish to defend his vision and his claim, have at it. As a non-believer, I leave theological disputes to others.

      • RoHa on November 1, 2018, 2:12 am

        Not one of the (probably mythical) original twelve, I agree. But, regardless of what they thought, he was an apostle (=messenger and salesman) for his vision.

        I haven’t read Aslan’s book, but what I have read about it leads me to suspect he treats the Gospels as history rather than as fantasy fiction.

      • Keith on November 1, 2018, 11:26 am

        ROHA- “I haven’t read Aslan’s book, but what I have read about it leads me to suspect he treats the Gospels as history rather than as fantasy fiction.”

        Aslan writes about the historical Jesus, not the Jesus of religion. I tend to agree with him that there was a man called Jesus of Nazareth who was a zealot who became the basis of a new religion just as there was a historical Mohammed (Muhammad?) who created a new religion.

      • RoHa on November 2, 2018, 2:58 am

        ” Aslan writes about the historical Jesus,… ”

        Does he explain why he thinks there was such a person?

        On the topic of the apostles, it is interesting to note that the documents currently considered to be the very earliest Christian documents only refer to apostles. It is not until we get to the Gospels and Acts that some are claimed to be disciples. This suggests to me that the idea that the twelve were people who actually knew Jesus is a later invention,

      • Keith on November 2, 2018, 5:28 pm

        ROHA- “Does he explain why he thinks there was such a person?”

        Yes, he goes at great length cross referencing passages, mostly from the New Testament, with but a few from elsewhere, such as from Flavius Josephus. All of his sources suggest that the historical Jesus came from a large family and he had a brother named James who became head of the “Christian” movement among Jews after Jesus’ death.

        These were turbulent times, historical Jesus a rabble rousing preacher, capital punishment relatively common in Rome’s brutal occupation. According to Israel Shahak, the Talmud refers to the person of Jesus in extremely vile terms. I consider this additional corroboration. There are sufficient references in various sources to reasonably conclude that it is probable that there was a real person who the Romans (and Jewish hierarchy) considered a troublemaker and executed. I consider it highly unlikely that Jesus was a myth made from whole cloth with a brother, apostles, etc.

        To conclude, while I don’t believe in the resurrection, I do believe that the crucifixion of a man called Jesus probably occurred.

      • annie on November 2, 2018, 6:03 pm

        I do believe that the crucifixion of a man called Jesus probably occurred.

        wasn’t the name jesus common, like john or something? and weren’t crucifixions also common back then? there’s no doubt Aslan knows more on the topic than me, but the idea a man called jesus was crucified isn’t saying a lot. there were probably dozens of men called jesus who were crucified, for whatever reason.

        i think it’s possible that christianity was a movement and the story of jesus (only one man) was a culmination of many people’s stories that explained christianity’s origins in a very simplified manner.

      • wondering jew on November 2, 2018, 8:34 pm

        I get a kick out of hearing nonbelieving “Christians” theorize about Jesus. I had to outgrow anti Jesus rhetoric I heard as a kid, to learn to admire the words and thus the life of who I call, Yoshke. (no offense intended, it’s kind of like a nickname. If you call him Yoshke pondrick, which is a derivation of Jesus Panteras, then it’s a put down, but just plain Yoshke, is probably too friendly for those who worship him as a son of god or blood sacrifice for mankind’s sins, but Jews feel they have a right to be possessive and friendly with him, maybe even to kid with him.) by this point of time the idea of messiah has been so tossed around that it’s like a vaudeville punch line, a line from a song: “the messiah never came; he didn’t even call.” so someone reaching for the gold ring there is something ridiculous from this perspective, but still mythic because it’s so epic. but his words were memorable quite often. i once heard mort sahl go on about jesus and say, why are you so focused on his crucifixion, you should be focused on his…
        and i was hoping he would say words, but instead he said, resurrection. which to me is in the realm of faith, a couple subway stops beyond the last stop for me. but i would say his words were important.
        i was raised with faith and even today i will read the old testament for inspiration or as a type of meditation and so when i read the new testament it was from a believer’s perspective, so I feel that you skeptics really know nothing about the person at the core of the religion that you have tossed aside. some of you might have other things aside from religion that sustain you, a belief in humanity or progress or “do unto others”. some of you seem to believe in “do unto others before they do unto you”, but it’s stupid to generalize, everyone has their own set of beliefs.

      • RoHa on November 2, 2018, 10:46 pm



        “he goes at great length cross referencing passages, mostly from the New Testament, with but a few from elsewhere, such as from Flavius Josephus. ”

        The usual stuff. But, of course, that’s all we have at the moment.
        Over many years, I did a great deal of research into the historical Jesus question. I concluded that the problem is epistemological. All the sources are dodgy and problematic. Looking for hard data was like Pooh looking for Piglet. The more I looked, the more it wasn’t there. Maybe there was a historical person behind the stories. Maybe there wasn’t.

        The information we have is simply inadequate to come to any firm conclusion. (Except, perhaps, this one.)

      • RoHa on November 2, 2018, 11:10 pm

        I forgot to add this link to some standard theories about the historical Jesus.

        You can see that the available information allows plenty of interpretations.

      • Keith on November 3, 2018, 12:26 am

        ANNIE- “wasn’t the name jesus common, like john or something?”

        Yes, that is why Jesus was usually identified as Jesus of Nazareth to differentiate.

        Annie- “i think it’s possible that christianity was a movement and the story of jesus (only one man) was a culmination of many people’s stories that explained christianity’s origins in a very simplified manner.”

        Perhaps so, however, Reza Aslan is a scholar of religions and the notion of one charismatic preacher being the central focus of the movement (much like Mohammed and Islam) strikes me as much more likely than some hypothetical potpourri of various stories agreed to by who?

      • Keith on November 3, 2018, 12:43 am

        ROHA- “Maybe there was a historical person behind the stories. Maybe there wasn’t.”

        Impossible to provide a definitive answer, however, the notion of a movement formed in response to a phantom seems to me unlikely. It seems much more likely that there was a man who inspired the movement. Are you suggesting that the Talmud is vilifying a phantom? There seems to me to be too much evidence of a person at the center of the phenomenon. I continue to stand with scholar of religions Reza Aslan on this matter. I am somewhat puzzled by your dogged insistence that there was no historical person known as Jesus of Nazareth. Considering Jesus station in life, there wouldn’t be a lot of historical references other than the scriptures. Why is it so inconceivable to you that there was a rabble rouser who got nailed to the cross? Do you have any examples of a movement led by a fictitious person?

      • Keith on November 3, 2018, 12:53 am

        WONDERING JEW- “I get a kick out of hearing nonbelieving “Christians” theorize about Jesus.”

        There is no such thing as a non-believing Christian. You are either a Christian or you are not.

      • Tuyzentfloot on November 3, 2018, 6:09 am

        Keith says:There is no such thing as a non-believing Christian. You are either a Christian or you are not.

        That is a totally redundant requirement, but indeed it’s typical for Christianity that you don’t just have to conform and do the things your religion prescribes, but you also have to believe them deep down. It should be perfectly possible to be an atheist Christian , after all, miracles are rarely more than emphasis. “Look, what this guy says is important and authoritative because it comes with a miracle”. If the message makes sense miracles aren’t that important.

      • RoHa on November 4, 2018, 1:50 am

        “Are you suggesting that the Talmud is vilifying a phantom?”

        A fictional character. By the time the Talmud wa written, the Jesus story was pretty well established. The writers then cooked up their entertaining story of Miriam the hairdresser who had a sideline in entertaining Roman soldiers.

        They also suggested Jesus lived about a hundred years earlier than the Christians said.

        “your dogged insistence that there was no historical person known as Jesus of Nazareth.”

        I don’t insist on it at all. I insist that we don’t know, and I strongly believe that we do not have sufficient information to know.

        “Do you have any examples of a movement led by a fictitious person?”

        Ned Ludd and John Frum are a couple of standard examples.

        There are strong suggestions that Laozi is a fiction, and some people hint that Confucius was a fiction as well, but neither of these have been proved.

      • RoHa on November 4, 2018, 1:07 am

        I still haven’t got hold of a copy of Aslan’s book. I note you keep calling him a “scholar of religion”. I hope you aren’t impress me with it. I, too, could claim that title.

        The reviewers are inclined to make merry over his status as professor of creative writing, and that his academic background is not quite as he implies, but that doesn’t mean he is wrong. Given the level of disagreement between the specialists, most of them are wrong about something, and plenty are wrong about most things. An amateur has as much chance of being right. Not much chance, though.

        More seriously, one reviewer alleges that Aslan does not specify how he distinguishes between the historically trustworthy parts of the early documents and the dross. This leads to an accusation of cherry-picking. (I note, though, that he rejects the Testimonium Flavianum as a forgery. It’s is a good start.)

        So I suspect that, given my own knowledge of the topic, built up over many years, I will not get carried away if I do read the book.

    • RoHa on November 2, 2018, 10:58 pm

      “wasn’t the name jesus common”

      Jesus is a Latinized version of a Hellenized version of Yeshus.

      If you threw a stone in a Judean market place, there was a pretty good chance that you would hit a Jesus, a Joseph, or a Mary. (And get a good thumping, as well.)

      “and weren’t crucifixions also common back then?”

      Crucifixion was a Roman punishment for rebellion against Rome, piracy, and for slaves who murdered their masters. Wiki is, surprisingly, again rather good on the topic.

      • RoHa on November 2, 2018, 11:03 pm

        A crucifixion that Josephus tells in his Autobiography is rather similar to that in the NT.

        It is quite short, so I can quote it here.

        “And when I was sent by Titus Caesar with Cerealins, and a thousand horsemen, to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp, as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered.”

        Life of Flavius Josephus – chap. 75. Tr. William Whiston

        Now compare that with the NT story.

        Jesus and two others crucified by the Romans – Mk 15: 25-27

        Three people crucified by the Romans – Josephus

        A man called Joseph of Arimathea Mk 15:43

        A man called Joseph bar-Matthia – Josephus

        asks the Roman authority (Pilate) for Jesus to be taken down – Mk 15:43

        asks the Roman authority (Titus) for them to be taken down – Josephus

        Permission is granted – Mk 15:45

        Permission is granted – Josephus

        Joseph takes care of the body – Mk 15:46

        Josephus has them looked after by doctors – Josephus

        One man comes back to life – Mk 16:6

        One of the men survives – Josephus

        Of course, the stories are not exactly the same. There are some important differences.

        • Josephus’ friends were still alive when they were taken down. Jesus is supposed to have been dead.

        • Josephus took down all three of the men. Joseph of Arimathea was (we are told) only interested in Jesus.

        • Josephus’ intended to save the men’s lives. Joseph of Arimathea intended to give Jesus a decent burial.

        Even so, the two stories are suspiciously similar.

        (There is a problem with the story of Joseph of Arimathea. The first is that, although suggestions have been made that this or that town in Palestine could have been Arimathea, no-one can locate Arimathea Ἁριμαθαία (Harimathaia) with any certainty.

        However, Josephus’ name was, in Aramaic, Yosef bar Matityahu. If the name Arimathea had been made up from a Greek version of Josephus’ name (Ματθίας – Matthias), that problem would be solved

        This is another reason for suspecting that Mark used Josephus to make up his story.)

        Mind you, finding bits of the NT that seem to have been lifted from Josephus is something of a cottage industry.

      • Maghlawatan on November 3, 2018, 1:49 am

        When people were amazed during the time of the Roman occupation did they not exclaim “Jesus!” ?

  6. Maghlawatan on October 28, 2018, 5:01 pm

    The apparent spark for the worst anti-Semitic massacre in American history was a racist hoax inflamed by a U.S. president seeking to help his party win a midterm election. There is no political gesture, no public statement, and no alteration in rhetoric or behavior that will change this fact. The shooter might have found a different reason to act on a different day. But he chose to act on Saturday, and he apparently chose to act in response to a political fiction that the president himself chose to spread, and that his followers chose to amplify.
    As for those who aided the president in his propaganda campaign, who enabled him to prey on racist fears to fabricate a national emergency, those who said to themselves, “This is the play”? Every single one of them bears some responsibility for what followed. Their condemnations of antisemitism are meaningless. Their thoughts and prayers are worthless. Their condolences are irrelevant. They can never undo what they have done, and what they have done will never be forgotten.  

  7. Kay24 on October 28, 2018, 5:13 pm

    Trump has shown that he does not really care about the shooting. On the day this terrible event happened he was talking about his hair, and went campaigning, just like when that “bomb thing” happened (his own words when implying it was a hindering the elections). He should have cancelled all events, and up to date he did not even do the decent thing and reach out to the intended victims of the MAGA bomber. Let’s fact it, if it is not about HIM, or not benefitting HIM, everything else, including terrorism, is a huge inconvenience.

    Just now on MSNBC the Israeli envoy (Dannon?) was interviewed by Ayman Mohyeldin, and as expected he did not say anything negative about Trump, or blame him even regarding the white supremacists chanting death threats to Jews, when Trump had said their are “nice people” on BOTH sides.
    I guess it was an opportunity for this envoy to spew about anti-semitism, and how much they have to deal with it, including a few shots at the Palestinians. I suppose they have to be eternally grateful to Trump for Jerusalem.

    • Donald on October 29, 2018, 8:57 am

      One of those impotent thugs murdered eleven people.

    • Kay24 on October 29, 2018, 11:23 am

      Neither Obama nor Clinton would have reacted to this massacre, by going on campaign the same day, and mentioning their hair. Neither Obama nor Clinton, would have said that gun control is not the answer, but having armed guards inside a place of worship would. Neither Obama nor Clinton would have referred to the MAGA Bomber, as that “Bomb thing” that hindered their political campaigns. If you cannot see the difference between the divider in chief, who has run a campaign of hate, insults, conspiracy theories, blame, inciting violence, and twitter rants attacking Americans and allies, and the others, then you are a lost cause.
      Maybe one of the mob that chants “lock her up” or ” CNN suck”. Obama and Clinton are flawed, but the beauty pageant organizer, is the worst.

    • hai_bar on October 30, 2018, 12:53 am

      “One of those impotent thugs murdered eleven people.” – Donald

      The others have killed millions of non-white non-Jews in the past 16 years (Bush -> Obama). Let’s just ignore them and focus the world’s evil on Trump and co.

      Or maybe it’s not the same, they bled different kind of blood, a cheaper one.

  8. Mooser on October 28, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Latest Sarah Sanders Tweet

    “The evil act of anti-Semitism in Pittsburg was committed by a coward who hated President Trump because @POTUS is such an unapologetic defender of the Jewish community and state of Israel.”

  9. wondering jew on October 28, 2018, 11:06 pm

    It is true that blame for yesterday’s bloodshed was a neonazi opposed to immigration. The language and rhetoric of the anti immigrant movement also deserves blame as does a president who incites and polarizes and pooh poohs neonazis.

    But how convenient that there are no lessons to be learned regarding civility by the gang of intemperate commentators who dominate this section here. What, me worry? was Alfred E Newman’s motto. And from the mw comment section we can hear a loud amen to his idiot gap toothed smile.

    • pjdude on October 29, 2018, 4:18 pm

      you do know there is a rather large gulf between being incivil and being violent

      • wondering jew on October 29, 2018, 7:38 pm

        yes. there is a large gap. but civility is a sign that people have their emotions under control. so they are related in that way. i wouldn’t expect civility to last more than a couple days in the aftermath of such an event, but obviously it didn’t occur here at all. (and yes, i realize incivility was the reaction of many people including dermer and others.)

      • Donald on October 29, 2018, 9:01 pm

        “obviously it didn’t occur here at all”

        Actually, most people here are condemning the massacre, as one expects from anyone with any moral sense. You’ve insulted literally every single person who has left a comment, while complaining about incivility.

        Many people tend to react to atrocities or other shocking events by using them to justify the opinions they already hold. Sometimes this takes some mental gymnastics. I’ve seen a conservative use this occasion to lecture the left ( in this case, liberals and leftists in general) on their intolerance. Obviously that was a guy who has trouble stepping outside his usual mental comfort zone.

        I think you’re right that we are too uncivil around here, me included. We need to remember that we are supposed to be the people who believe in equal rights for everyone, which includes people we think have immoral views.

      • oldgeezer on October 29, 2018, 11:27 pm

        @wandering jew

        We are in the midst of ongoing war crimes and Crimes against humanity which has injured many thousands, killed several hundred and withtin the past few days murdered 3 young children.

        Shove your civility. When Israel acts in a civil and humane manner we can discuss it.

        Until then your sensitivities are not on any list of priorities. If you really can’t let it go then the tell it to the GoI who make despicable racist comments against civilians as a matter of normal procedure.

      • wondering jew on October 29, 2018, 11:40 pm

        Donald- My choice of words was imprecise. I wasn’t referring to the totality of the commenting public, I was referring to the zero-ness time period a party or two allowed themselves before letting their personalities shine. (under a bushel)

        I’m angry after Pittsburgh and it’s probably best to limit myself in my time of anger.

        you do not console a man when his dead is still unburied, but the jews bury our dead quick. you do not try to calm a man at the time of his anger. so at least for now. i’ll leave it there.

        Pittsburgh is inextricably tied by association with the Trump midterm campaign and i expect election 2020 to be dangerous. the trump presidency and this tolerance for “good people on both sides” came out of left field. we always knew america was racist and we adjust to that each in our own way and i’m not proud of it, other than the fact that race makes america so interesting and its music from the 60’s so good, i realize that cops treat me better cuz i look white or because i am white. but a president that would say “good people on both sides”, this is very very new and it’s impossible for me to say that Pittsburgh and Trump are not associated in my mind.

        But enough for now.

      • eljay on October 30, 2018, 8:16 am

        || wondering jew: … the trump presidency and this tolerance for “good people on both sides” came out of left field. … a president that would say “good people on both sides”, this is very very new … ||

        It may be new to America, but it shouldn’t surprise you: Trump is a believer in and defender of Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism and his “equivalence” defence of white supremacists, their ideology and their unjust and immoral behaviour echoes the Zionist defence of Jewish supremacists, their ideology and their unjust and immoral behaviour.

    • Mooser on October 29, 2018, 4:38 pm

      “And from the mw comment section we can hear a loud amen to his idiot gap toothed smile”“wondering jew’

      Sorry, who is the “we” in your comment, “Yonah”? The Jews? Please clarify.

      • wondering jew on October 29, 2018, 7:44 pm

        we, anyone with ears.

      • Mooser on October 30, 2018, 11:49 am

        “we, anyone with ears.”

        Well, thank God people with ears have you, the one with the mouth, to speak for them.

        “WE”? Turn that “W” over, “Yonah”

  10. Marnie on October 29, 2018, 1:09 am

    I don’t recall the coverage being this intense when Dylann Roof opened fire on worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where 9 African Americans were murdered but after all, it’s america and as long as African lives aren’t ground to dust on plantations anymore making america the richest country on earch, their lives don’t really seem to matter as much to the rest of the world. But this shooting is different – how – because antisemitism? And the targeting of a black church in a southern city and murder of its African American members is what – american history as usual? Sickening.

    • hophmi on October 29, 2018, 11:33 am

      Then your memory isn’t very good. The massacre in South Carolina was covered just as intensely and the President spoke at the church.

      • Marnie on October 29, 2018, 12:46 pm

        That remains to be seen.

        My president did more than speak, which is something that tRUMP will never be asked to do at Tree of Life synagogue.

      • Mooser on October 29, 2018, 1:41 pm

        ” The massacre in South Carolina was covered just as intensely and the President spoke at the church.” “Hophmi”

        That’s right, “Hophmi”! As Sarah Sanders said:

        “The evil act of anti-Semitism in Pittsburg was committed by a coward who hated President Trump because @POTUS is such an unapologetic defender of the Jewish community and state of Israel.”

      • Mooser on October 29, 2018, 3:37 pm

        Oh, sorry, I forgot to wish Pres. Trump a speedy recovery.

      • Mooser on October 29, 2018, 6:44 pm

        That’s the way, “Hophmi”! You stick up for Trump, and Trump sticks up for you!

      • Marnie on October 30, 2018, 12:43 am

        Did this get any coverage hophni? Do you remember this?

        “While insults on receipts predate Trump’s presidency, his rhetoric has been linked to a general breakdown in civility as well as to a rise in hate crimes. Most recently, 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue were killed Saturday by a man with anti-Semitic beliefs. Last week, a Trump supporter reportedly tried to break into a black church before shooting two black people at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky.”

        Racial slurs and fat-shaming insults keep popping up on receipts. Is Trump worsening the trend?
        A Wendy’s customer found a receipt with the word “chubby” on it. He’s far from alone.
        By Nadra Nittle Oct 29, 2018, 5:00pm EDT

  11. Marnie on October 29, 2018, 1:29 am

    “Few of us seem to realize how insidious, how radical, how universal an evil racism is. Few of us realize that racism is man’s gravest threat to man, the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason, the maximum of cruelty for a minimum of thinking.” Abraham Joshua Heschel

    Jewish leaders tell Trump he’s not welcome in Pittsburgh … – The Hill…/413558-jewish-leaders-say-trumps-not-welcome-in-pittsburgh-u…
    Jewish leaders tell Trump he’s not welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism.

    That makes a nice headline. However, would these jewish leaders also tell Bennett, Netanyahoo, et al, that they’re not welcome in Pittsburgh until they denounce jewish nationalism? tRUMP’s white nationalism is no different than the nationalism of the ‘nation-state of the jewish people’. Or Pence’s racism when he claims there’s no place in amerikkka for attacks on ‘churches and synagogues’ when he could have easily just said places of worship? Is that bald racism and hatred of anything other casually dismissed? tRUMP is a clown but I think Pence would actually make america great again like the 1910s.

  12. Maghlawatan on October 29, 2018, 1:31 am

    Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted,” the group wrote. “You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.”

    Trump was fiercely criticized after he failed to condemn white supremacy and asserted that there is “blame on both sides” after last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

    The group also said Trump is not welcome in the city until he also stops targeting minorities, immigrants and refugees.

    The president has “spread lies and sowed fear about migrant families in Central America,” the group wrote.

  13. Marnie on October 29, 2018, 1:57 am

    Nobody does antisemitism like israel’s chief rabbi:

    Israel’s Chief Rabbi Refuses to Call Pittsburgh Massacre Site a Synagogue Because It’s non-Orthodox

    In interview with Orthodox newspaper, Rabbi Lau calls Tree of Life ‘a place with profound Jewish flavor’

    Oct 28, 2018 6:19 PM

    Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi came under fire on Sunday for refusing to acknowledge in a newspaper interview that the massacre in Pittsburgh was carried out in a synagogue.

    The country’s ultra-Orthodox newspapers, in reporting on the event, have also refused to acknowledge that it took place in a Jewish house of prayer because Tree of Life is a Conservative congregation, and they do not recognize the non-Orthodox movements.

    In the interview with Makor Rishon, a newspaper popular in the Israeli Modern Orthodox community, Rabbi David Lau said that “any murder of any Jew in any part of the world for being Jewish is unforgivable.” But rather than acknowledge that the crime had been carried out in a synagogue, he referred to the location as “a place with a profound Jewish flavor.”

    Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi David Lau speaks at an event in Jerusalem, July 2018
    Responding on Twitter, Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Conservative movement in Israel asked rhetorically: “Really, chief rabbi of Israel? A place with a profound Jewish flavor? Perhaps a synagogue?”

    Tomer Persico, a prominent Israeli scholar of religion, tweeted in response: “Chief Rabbi Lau refuses to say it was a synagogue. And that’s while Jews were murdered when praying.”

    “Even halakhically, it is a synagogue,” added Persico, referring to the fact that Conservative Judaism follows halakha, or Jewish religious law. “This is the face of the Orthodox establishment: petty, detached, archaic and hateful.”

    Israel’s ultra-Orthodox newspapers all reported on the attack, but likewise, refused to refer to Tree of Life as a synagogue, preferring instead to call it a “Jewish center.”

    An estimated 18 percent of American Jews are affiliated with the Conservative movement. Israel’s unwillingness to recognize the non-orthodox movements is a major cause of tension with Diaspora Jewry. ”

    I hope american jews are paying close attention to the antisemitism on florid display 24/7 by the rabbinate. You just aren’t jewish enough, but apparently have a lot of jewish ‘flavor’. Mmmmmm, must be the schmaltz.

    • Mooser on October 30, 2018, 11:56 am

      “Mmmmmm, must be the schmaltz.

      Me, I’ll have a glass of that aged schmaltz liquor.

      There’s fake Jews everywhere

      But don’t worry, Jewish leaders will be praising this as ecumenicism. Trump owns us.

      • annie on October 30, 2018, 12:12 pm

        it’s hard to believe pence could be so clueless

      • Mooser on October 30, 2018, 12:47 pm

        “it’s hard to believe pence could be so clueless”

        Well, if the Israeli Chief Rabbi calls the “Tree of Life” a fake synagogue, somebody has got to figure out who the real Jews are!

        And the Chief Rabbi won’t say a thing about it. Probably add “Jews for Jesus” to the “Nation-State law”

  14. Liz on October 29, 2018, 9:29 am

    Thank you, Mondoweiss editors, for continuing to be so thorough and classy in your reportage. You’ve provided such an outlet for truth, and I look to your leadership. In gratitude.

  15. Egbert on October 29, 2018, 9:36 am

    On the night 26-27 October 2018, Israel conducted yet another rampage agains the open air prison known as Gaza. One of the targets they struck was a hospital. This is not the first time the IDF has attacked a Gaza hospital., In a 2014 strike, 121 children died, although possibly a much smaller number at the hospital itself.

    On 27 October the Pittsburgh attack took the mainstream US news, leaving the Palestinian victims nameless once again.

  16. bcg on October 29, 2018, 10:04 am

    Here’s an interesting response to the massacre:

    David Simon [creator of “The Wire”] tweets Naftali Bennett that Netanyahu’s interventions in U.S. politics helped elect Donald Trump and that the Jewish community is now ‘bleeding at the hands’ of the Israeli PM, becomes one-man Twitterstorm …

    • Misterioso on October 29, 2018, 10:42 am

      @beg, et al

      Here’s another “interesting response to the massacre.”

      “Members of Netanyahu’s Likud Blame Victims of Pittsburgh’s Pogrom and Echo the Killer’s Rhetoric.”

      Grey Zone, Oct. 28/18

      “As Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett sets out to Pittsburgh, prominent members of the governing Likud Party have blamed the Jewish victims of the neo-Nazi massacre ‘for causing anti-Semitism.’

      By Max Blumenthal

      “Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has embarked on a visit to Pittsburgh ‘to be with our sisters and brothers in their darkest hour,’ he said, after an avowed anti-Semite massacred eleven Jewish worshippers at the city’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

      “Robert Bowers, the right-wing terrorist, targeted the progressive congregation on the basis of its partnership with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, a Jewish non-profit that helps refugees from conflict-torn regions obtain asylum in the US.

      “’HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people,’ Bowers stated in a social media manifesto explaining his motives.

      “As Bennett departs for Pittsburgh, some members of Israel’s governing Likud Party have issued talking points and statements blaming the victims of the anti-Jewish mass murderer for inspiring the attack. One especially prominent Likud member has even echoed Bowers’ hate manifesto.

      “Likud talking points blame the victims”

      “Hours after the massacre in Pittsburgh, a Likud Party email listserv pumped out talking points addressed to ‘ambassadors of the Likud’ that claimed the anti-Jewish shooter ‘drew inspiration from a left-wing Jewish group that promoted immigration to the U.S. & worked against Trump.’

      “Within moments, Likud party activists like @guyshapira took to Twitter to repeat the talking points word for word. (Shapira followed up by promoting a tweet by the American Jewish alt-right personality Laura Loomer likening the killer to Ilhan Omar, a Democratic candidate for Congress who happens to be Muslim.)”

      “Israeli journalist Attila Somfalvi said senior Likud officials he spoke to confirmed the talking points as ‘real.’

      “The listserv comments were hardly an outlier within the Likud Party’s digital fever swamps.”

      • eljay on October 29, 2018, 10:57 am

        || Misterioso: @beg, et al

        Here’s another “interesting response to the massacre.” …

        “ … As Bennett departs for Pittsburgh, some members of Israel’s governing Likud Party have issued talking points and statements blaming the victims of the anti-Jewish mass murderer for inspiring the attack. One especially prominent Likud member has even echoed Bowers’ hate manifesto. … ”

        With friends like Zionists, Jews don’t need enemies.

      • Maghlawatan on October 29, 2018, 11:49 am

        What would you expect from the country that sold weapons to the regime in Argentina that murdered 8000 left wing Jews?

      • Mooser on October 29, 2018, 2:09 pm

        Shorter Naftali Bennet: ‘Always remember, as goes the Right, so goes the allrightnik. Ignore that rule at your peril!’

      • Mooser on October 30, 2018, 6:08 pm

        “Hours after the massacre in Pittsburgh, a Likud Party email listserv pumped out talking points addressed to ‘ambassadors of the Likud’ that claimed the anti-Jewish shooter ‘drew inspiration from a left-wing Jewish group that promoted immigration to the U.S. & worked against Trump.’

        See? The Likud Party trusts Americans to distinguish between the good Jews and the bad Jews.

  17. Kathleen on October 29, 2018, 11:55 am

    This latest slaughter of older Jewish people in their house of worship is beyond horrifying. I was almost vomiting as the reports came out on Saturday. I sobbed thinking about these people being mowed down with weapons of mass destruction in that synagogue. An individual who had made it to 96…96 for God’s sake slaughtered with 10 others practicing their faith.
    In the past have been on my knees as I was hearing the reports about those little children In Sandy Hook, the high school students at Parkland.
    I believe the families of those slaughtered by weapons of mass destruction who want to show the torn bodies of innocent people on our TV screens should be able to do so. The inside of that ripped apart synagogue should be shown to the public. The inside of the Parkland high school. The inside of the Sandy Hook grade school. Show the public make us retch with the reality of what these weapons in the hands of mentally sick white men have done.

    Crying…all so shameful

    Over the weekend several Israeli Ambassador Dermer on MSNBC saying “we have this happen in Israel all of the time”

    I believe a former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. that MSNBC had labeled as “Dani Dayan” said “Israeli’s are used to things like this” Not sure who he was.

    Later on MSNBC Danny Dayan Israeli Ambassador to the UN was much more diplomatic in his response to this horrible massacre. He was not using the slaughter of 11 elderly Jewish people in their synagogue as a way to stir up sentiments for Israel.

    Julia Ioffe was on MSNBC this morning. She seems reasonable.

    Greenblatt on MSNBC stirring up the stats on the alleged increase of anti Semitism on college campus. You do have to wonder how many of these stats are based on efforts of individuals who try to inform the public about the conflict based on facts are listed as anti semitic acts. We know how many pro facts on the conflict speakers have been shut down on college campuses across the country for decades.

    • Maghlawatan on October 29, 2018, 12:58 pm

      The NRA is evil.
      So is Fox . As is the GOP

      Here’s some information that might come as a surprise to you if you’re a casual news consumer weighing your options ahead of the midterms:
      • Central American migrants caravanning through Mexico are not a national security threat to the United States.
      • The caravan is not filled with criminals and “Middle Easterners.”
      • Democrats had nothing to do with the formation of the caravan.
      • Democrats do not want the caravaners to cross the southern border undetected and disappear into the United States.
      • People in California are not rioting about sanctuary cities, on either side of the issue.
      • Democrats do not want to give luxury automobiles to Central American migrants or unauthorized immigrants or anyone else.
      • Illegal immigration and crime are at near-historic lows.
      • There is no Republican plan to cut middle-income taxes, before the election or after.
      • Democrats have no plan to destroy Medicare.
      • There is no $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
      • Our arms trade with Saudi Arabia does not, and will not, generate anywhere close to a million jobs.
      Republicans’ campaign strategy in part entails convincing as many people as possible that the opposite of each of these bullet points is true, and judging by the at-times credulous way political media has covered their claims, they are surely having some success.
      But the larger purpose of all the disinformation—about Democrats paying Muslim caravaners to infiltrate the country, and Republicans advancing a middle-class tax cut plan that doesn’t exist—is to pervade the news environment with storylines that, beyond the slander and lies, aren’t particularly relevant to next month’s vote. And to that end, it has been a stunning success.
      Credulous or critical, the news is absolutely saturated with coverage of these issues. There have been plenty of stories debunking President Trump’s claims about the composition of the caravan, and the risk it poses to the United States. If you burrow into the details, you’ll probably learn that Trump has fabricated a Republican middle-income tax cut plan from whole cloth, because the corporate tax cut he actually signed is terribly unpopular. But every column inch and minute of airtime spent scrutinizing fiction is lost forever and does nothing to actually inform people about the true stakes of the coming midterms.

      Gingrich looked into the camera and said the election was about two things, “ Kavanaugh and the Caravan” All day, every day, Fox News and the Trump propaganda industry spews forth an unrelenting river of conspiracy theories, venom and lunacy and like a precision guided munition
      2 It finds its intended targets. Among them are the feeble minded, sick and racist. It’s singular purpose is incitement and it is working. A migration of poor and desperate human souls has been turned into an invading army; a Panzer division about to crash through

      3. America’s southern border. The intent is as malignant as it is purposeful. There is only one goal and that is to create a frenzy of craziness before an election where the American people will have their first opportunity to repudiate the vile and filthy regime led by Trump.

      4. Now we see the terrible cost of Trumpism. The lies, conspiracy theories, coded racist and anti Semitic language, intimations of violence and declarations that opponents are enemies of the state and people have activated the evil people who attempted the largest assassination
      5. Plot in American history and gunned down 11 Americans at a Temple in Pittsburgh. They have been radicalized by the contagious poison of an American President and his Fellow travelers. The hour of pretending there is no causation between the rhetoric and the violence is over
      The stated motives of these Terrorists is a recitation of the message flowing like sewage from the White House, Fox News, Judicial Watch, Mark Levine, Limbaugh and Gingrich. It is not accidental and it is not coincidental. It is the deadly and inevitable consequence of Trump

  18. edwardm on October 29, 2018, 2:01 pm

    Naftali Bennett feels anyone’s pain? Horseshit. He is a murderous thug.

  19. Tuyzentfloot on October 29, 2018, 3:59 pm

    I don’t know if Chris Hedges would comment on this event but the things he is working on are relevant. He’s investigated hate groups.
    His frame is that the enemy is the ruling elites and that there is now a growing epidemics of social desperation( poverty, gambling, hate groups, opioid addiction, fascism, religious extremism) which is typical for late empire.

  20. Marnie on October 30, 2018, 1:22 am

    Follow @rafaelshimunov

    “Then, rather than praying for the victims and survivors of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack, Mike Pence’s Christian Rabbi prays –by name– for each Republican candidate on a list given to him.

    This is no mistake. It’s a message.

    Full clip

    Normally, a Rabbi would open with Kaddish, a prayer for the dead – and list names of those taken. And blessings to the community at risk, Jews, immigrants, etc. Here, it is instead a prayer for Republican candidates to win on November 6 and a blessing for Mike Pence.”

    And now for something completely different (not). Who left the cage to the hyena house unlocked?

    Joan Walsh to ex-Trump official: How dare you – YouTube

    • Mooser on October 30, 2018, 1:17 pm

      “This is no mistake. It’s a message.”

      Sure is, and I expect the Israeli Chief Rabbi to add “Jews for Jesus” to the “Nation-State” list. You know, like the Nazoreans and stuff.

      • Maghlawatan on October 30, 2018, 4:20 pm

        Mooser, Any Jew who accepts Jesus as Moshiach gets to ride the Rapture with the Pences and their evangelical friends.

  21. bcg on October 30, 2018, 9:53 am

    There’s a dimension to this that hasn’t been discussed yet – why do these white nationalists think that Jews are destroying them?

    In a lot of small towns in rural America – Trumps base, basically – people are dying (literally) from opioid overdoses. And it’s not hard to pin that on “The Jews” – “The Jewish Family Making Billions From The Opioid Crisis”

    That would be the Sacklers. It’s crazy stuff, but I think that whole issue is part of the stew.

  22. dionissis_mitropoulos on October 30, 2018, 10:18 am

    I haven’t been following the discussions thoroughly, but a consideration very relevant to the safety of Diaspora Jews stood out very clearly in my mind.

    In his last post the Pittsburgh shooter referenced “Muslim invaders”:

    “Just hours before Bowers carried out his demented evil, he posted on GAB, a social media platform popularised by followers of the alt-Right, that HIAS [a Jewish American non-profit organisation that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to … refugees] wants “to bring hostile invaders to dwell among us. It’s the filthy EVIL Jews. Bringing the (sic) Filthy EVIL Muslims into the country!! Stop the kikes then Worry About the Muslims!”

    The rhetoric about Muslim purposeful invasion echoes the rhetoric emanating from Gatestone Institute. Here is what we heard from Gatestone Institute just a day before the Pittsburgh shooting (October 26):

    “[I]f you look through history, where the Church slept, got diverted away from the Gospel, Islam took the advantage and came in. This is what we are seeing in Europe, that the Church is sleeping, and Islam is creeping in… Europe is being Islamized, and it will affect Africa.” — Catholic Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Cameroon.

    Time is running out. As Houellebecq said in a speech at the Frank Schirrmacher Prize:
    ”[T]he advance of Islam is just beginning, because demography is on its side and because Europe, which has stopped having children, has entered a process of suicide”.”

    Now, here is the problem: when professor Alan Dershowitz is lending his prestige to such think tanks, by contributing to Gatestone with opinion pieces, and when he is actively defending Gatestone Institute against charges of Islamophobia, he is in effect whitewashing rhetoric that casts part of the Muslim world as planning to invade the West. Here is professor Dershowitz:

    “Consider the recent attack by Heidi Przybyla of NBC News against the recently-appointed National Security Adviser, Ambassador John Bolton, and an organization whose board he chaired before that, Gatestone Institute. The headline of the hit piece is: “John Bolton chaired anti-Muslim think tank.” Nothing could be further from the truth

    For some Gatestone writers to have participated in this debate does not make Gatestone “anti-Muslim.” It makes them pertinent. Even a cursory look at Gatestone’s website shows that its writers and scholars include numerous Muslims…

    I find Gatestone to be refreshingly centrist. It encourages dialogue between the center-left, represented by people such as Senator Joe Lieberman and myself, and people from the center- right represented by speakers such as John Bolton and the eminent historian Victor Davis Hanson.

    I disagree with some of what I hear and read at Gatestone events and in its publications, but that is true of every organization of which I am aware.

    I urge everyone who has read Przybyla’s misrepresentation to go to the Gatestone website and read a wide array of its extensively substantiated articles. Then everyone can judge for themselves. Is Gatestone an “anti-Muslim think tank”? Or is it an open-minded institute that encourages diverse views on a wide range of pressing subjects? Then you can answer Groucho Marx’s famous rhetorical question: “Who are you going to believe — me or your lying eyes?”

    What I believe, contra professor Dershowitz, is that Gatestone is covertly inciting for pogroms of Muslims, a wish that Daniel Pipes has openly expressed, only Gatestone is more careful than Daniel Pipes was because the latter was addressing an Israeli audience whereas Gatestone addresses Western audiences and someone might notice direct wishes for violence.

    But my point is not about Gatestone, but about some Jewish Diaspora leaders like professor Dershowitz. An Atlantic writer, Julia Ioffe, put it thus in a tweet:

    “And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president [Trump] makes this [the Pittsburgh shooting] possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there [Israel], where you don’t live was worth it.

    Ms Julia Ioffe’s idea that some Diaspora leaders are endangering Diaspora Jews’ well-being (by supporting Trump) is one that I have entertained myself, though the causal pathway that I had in mind was different. But the point I want to stress, like Ms Ioffe does, is that it is the hyperbolic love for Israel that makes professor Dershowitz and other Diaspora leaders to be blind to the dangers that some pro-Israel activism generates for Diaspora Jews. Speaking about a supposed Muslim plan for invasion strengthens the Far Right, for example.

    Another Atlantic contributor, Frankiln Foer, makes the point about endangering more forcefully:

    “Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.”

    Now, this hyperbolic love for Israel on the part of some Diaspora leaders, a hyperbolic love that inadvertently endangers Diaspora Jews, would be very understandable if it were coming from prominent Israelis. Here, for example is the founding editor of the Times of Israel, speaking one day after the Pittsburgh shooting, finding it impossible to restrain himself from demonizing Corbyn, in the second paragraph of his article, even while he knows the perpetrator was coming from the Far Right and even though he recognizes that the US Jews are in far greater danger now:

    “ In a Britain where the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn might well form the next government, the anti-Semitic undertone is now an overtone. Many British Jews feel vulnerable, targeted, deterred from publicly identifying with the Jewish homeland. Corbyn, just weeks ago, it will be recalled, wanted his party to declare that it is just fine, and not at all anti-Semitic, to assert that Israel is a racist endeavor. But for all the growing hostility facing the quarter-million-plus Jews in England, the six million in the United States are, all too plainly, in greater immediate danger.”

    I believe the dangers to the well being of Diaspora Jews can be tackled – though I have no ready solution for rightwing anti-Semitism. But I just don’t see how casting Corbyn as a threat to Diaspora Jews when he is not even remotely such will help in this direction. Israel faces no serious threats, Diaspora Jews do. Jewish leaders, it seems to me, would do well to prioritize the well-being of the latter instead of the former.

    • dionissis_mitropoulos on October 30, 2018, 11:33 am

      The correct link to the founding editor of the Times of Israel article is this:

    • dionissis_mitropoulos on October 30, 2018, 5:53 pm

      Regarding the conspiracy theory that the Pittsburgh shooter was disseminating online a few hours before the attack, namely that the Jews are bringing Muslims in the US in order to cause white people to become extinct, the Gatestone Institute is replete with articles suggestive of precisely this conspiracy theory. The aim obviously is to generate a sense of imminent danger and the attendant fear and outrage so as to mobilize into action, sooner or later. I already posted a link from Gatestone above, where the language makes plain the intentions of the author to generate a sense of threat in the minds of white Westerners (“Islam is creeping in, Europe is becoming Islamized, Europe’s survival crisis”), but I would like to post two more links whose vocabulary in the titles is very suggestive of the fact that Gatestone is also trying to appeal to white supremacists and mobilize them against Muslims:

      “Europe: The Great White Death?”

      “Are Jihadists Taking over Europe?”

      The memes are clear: whites are endangered by Muslims, so something must be done. But professor Dershowitz did not imagine that this sort of rhetoric can make some from the audience turn first against the Jews, who are seen as the promoters of this supposedly dangerous for whites state of affairs.

      And numerous others Israel lovers are now warning the Jewish Diaspora against Corbyn, instead of turning their attention to the number one culprit of endangering Diapora Jews, i.e. the anti-Muslim pro-Israel activism propagated by the Gatestone Institute and similar sites and think tanks — Gatestone’s raison d’être is (a specific orientation of) pro-Israel activism, never mind its stated purposes.

      Instead of Corbyn, Jewish Diaspora should be looking for professor Dershowitz to do some explaining for his enabling role.

      P.S. if you see Annie’s video below (min 6:00) where the Ambassador of Israel is nonchalantly and self-righteously smearing a sweetheart like Corbyn as an anti-Semite, you might get an idea why some people get so agitated against Israel – it is Israel’s defenders that sometimes create hostility against Israel. And it should be kept in mind that Corbyn is very popular. Gratuitously smearing him for the sake of Israel’s glory (not even for the sake of Israel’s security, which is guaranteed anyway) is the most unwise thing that Diaspora leaders could do.

      • dionissis_mitropoulos on October 31, 2018, 1:54 pm

        Just to make clear something: Gatestone’s conspiracy theories only involve Muslim influx endangering whites, they don’t include Jews as the culprit — this should be obvious, but i am just clarifying it. It is the pre-existing anti-Semitic mindset of the white supremacists and similar people that makes them add “the Jews” as the ultimate culprit in the story. But Gatestone provides to anti-Semitic unstable minds a cause supposedly worth fighting for, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to Gatestone and its enablers that the excited by Gatestone dupes would unexpectedly turn against the Jews, before turning against the Muslims, even if only as a matter of situational expediency.

  23. ErikEast on October 30, 2018, 1:47 pm

    Here in the U.K. a columnist from The Guardian, Christina Patterson, joined guests on a Sky News Sunday panel show (link below) equating the tragedy in Pittsburg with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. The only link being that Labour has an alleged endemic problem with antisemitism, and apparently it is allowing the problem to fester. At this point, I think the viewer is then supposed to then see the connection with an American far-right loon who went on s murderous spree in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

    No shame from the MSM.

  24. dionissis_mitropoulos on December 13, 2018, 9:25 am

    Ok here is something strange that made me wonder (today December 13) that pro-Israel activists may be targeting Mondoweiss. I posted the following link to my Facebook page:

    As you can see, it is my “comments page” in Mondoweiss. I woke up today and found out the following message in lieu of my post at my Facebook page:

    Dionissis Mitropoulos
    30 Νοεμβρίου στις 6:13 μ.μ.

    My comments at Mondoweiss are here:
    News & Opinion About Palestine, Israel & the United States
    Αυτή η δημοσίευση δεν ακολουθεί τους Όρους της κοινότητας, συνεπώς δεν μπορεί να τηνδει κανένας άλλος.

    The Greek mean that my post(which,as you can see above, merely informs readers that the link is to my comments at Mondoweiss) violates the community guidelines, and that as a result it is only me that can still see the link to my Mondoweiss comments — presumably noone else can see the above post or the link.

    Does anyone have any idea how i can complain to Facebook?

    • dionissis_mitropoulos on December 13, 2018, 5:38 pm

      The formerly disappeared post is now back on my Facebook page. I don’t know why Facebook censored it initially, i don’t know why it was brought back now.

      • Mooser on December 13, 2018, 6:35 pm

        “, i don’t know why it was brought back now.”

        Encouraging, tho. There’s a “Mondoweiss on Facebook” link at the top of the page.

      • dionissis_mitropoulos on December 23, 2018, 8:47 am

        Thanks for telling me Mooser. I was thinking someone was pulling an IHRA on me (supporters of Israel abuse it a lot), and and i couldn’t think of a single comment of mine critical of Israel that could be justifiably deemed a violation of IHRA — unless it is expected from Israel’s critics to give causal explanations without citing causes, in which case i give up.

  25. Mooser on December 23, 2018, 1:34 pm

    “Thanks for telling me Mooser”

    You are most heartily welcome, “dionissis”.

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