In a letter penned to President Trump in the wake of this Saturday’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, 11 members of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, told him that he’d no longer be welcome in the city unless he denounces white nationalism.
In the letter, the group told Trump that the people targeted by gunman Robert Bowers at the Tree of Life synagogue were “not the only group you have targeted.”
“You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities,” they wrote. “Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.”
“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism,” the letter declared.
The murderer’s last public statement invoked the compassionate work of the Jewish refugee service HIAS at the end of a week in which you spread lies and sowed fear about migrant families in Central America. He killed Jews in order to undermine the efforts of all those who find shared humanity with immigrants and refugees.
The Torah teaches that every human being is made b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.
This means all of us.
In our neighbors, Americans, and people worldwide who have reached out to give our community strength, there we find the image of God. While we cannot speak for all Pittsburghers, or even all Jewish Pittsburghers, we know we speak for a diverse and unified group when we say:
President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.
This Saturday morning, Bowers killed 11 worshipers at the synagogue in what he being called the deadliest attack ever on Jews in the U.S.
Bowers spread hate speech about Jews online and reportedly made anti-Semitic comments during the shooting. According to CNN, after he was apprehended and was receiving medical care, he told a SWAT officer that he wanted all Jews to die.
Bowers faces 29 federal charges, some of which are eligible for the death penalty. His first court appearance will be on Monday afternoon.
You can read the signatories’ letter here.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore (Flickr)