Today in Terrorism: 27 October 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue attack

Anti-Semite kills seven at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during morning services.

Anti-Semite kills seven at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during morning services

Lots of people are persecuted for who they are, or what they wear, or the colour of their skin, or which god they worship. We humans seem to have an inexhaustible ability to justify hurting those we see as different. It is quite clear that Rodney King’s plea “Can’t we all just get along?” is far from being listened to.

So while the hurt visited on the Other is all too widespread there is a special category for the Jews. Whether it was the Catholic Church holding all Jews responsible for Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, or the slaughter of tens of thousands by the ‘Crusaders’ on their way to free Jerusalem from the Saracens, or untold pogroms, or the Holocaust, there is a litany of violence against a people who happen to worship a certain way. And that violence is showing little sign of abating.

Image of the Rhineland massacre of Jews by Crusaders in 1096 (Photo: Public Domain)

Alas we have a very recent example of this slaughter. On this day in 2018 Robert Bowers, 47, a truck driver from Pennsylvania, killed 11 worshipers and wounded another seven in an attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He used what appears to be the mass shooter’s weapon of choice, an AR-15 rifle as well as other firearms.

US prosecutors are seeking the death penalty is what is at a minimum a hate crime and most probably an act of terrorism. The shooter justified his actions on social media claiming that a Jewish charity “likes to bring invaders that kill our people.” He apparently yelled “All Jews must die” during his shooting spree. He joined a growing chorus of anti-immigrant extremists, a small number of whom are using more worrisome tactics.

More attacks along these lines are likely and Jews will be on the receiving end of a disproportionate number of them. Jews will continue to be targeted for who they are, not what they do.

Rodney King, where are you now?

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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