Prayers and Condolences

Oct 29, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA – Liberty Counsel extends condolences to the families and friends of the victims of Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. Authorities have identified the 11 people killed in Saturday's mass shooting. The ages of the victims ranged from 54 to 97.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Christians in Defense of Israel and Liberty Counsel. “This horrible crime has devastated a peaceful community. We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and condemn this anti-Semitism,” said Staver.

Robert Bowers entered the Jewish synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood Saturday morning and fired at people worshiping inside as he screamed, “all Jews must die.”  He continued these statements during his gunfight with police, with Bowers telling one officer: “They're committing genocide to my people. I just want to kill Jews.” Bowers surrendered and was taken into custody.

Bowers was a regular user on a social media website called Gab. On Friday, Bowers posted a link to a page from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish nonprofit that aids refugees. The HIAS link listed congregations across the country that held Shabbat services this month for refugees — including several synagogues in Pittsburgh. In a post on Saturday morning, about two hours before the shooting, Bowers wrote: “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in.” 

In the weeks before the shooting, Bowers posted constantly about Jews, including denials of the Holocaust and conspiracy theories about Jews destroying the planet and secretly supporting the migrant caravan heading toward the U.S. border. Many of the posts included slurs for Jews and cartoons with stereotypical depictions of them. The profile shows that Bowers posted or recirculated dozens of anti-Semitic messages in the past few weeks. Those included two cryptic warnings hours before he allegedly opened fire in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.

The shooting happened after Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader and anti-Semite who has praised Hitler, recently called the Jews “termites,” a term Nazis used to dehumanize Jews. He further accused Jews of destroying everything good about the world. Farrakhan later posted a segment of a speech on Twitter with the caption: “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.”

“Less than two weeks ago I urged prominent political leaders who have proudly stood with Louis Farrakhan to condemn his anti-Semitic statements. Sadly, even after this tragedy in Pittsburg, these same people have remained silent. It is time to shout from the rooftops that we condemn anti-Semitism. ‘Never again’ must be our watchword,” said Staver.

During a rally in Illinois Saturday night, President Trump said, “This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It’s an assault on humanity. It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world. This was an anti-Semitic attack at its worst. The scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, cannot be tolerated, and cannot be allowed to continue. We can’t allow it to continue. It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its very ugly head. We must stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters to defeat anti-Semitism and vanquish the forces of hate.”

Staver continued, “Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world and in America. Shockingly, anti-Semitism has become a cancer on many college campuses. We work with many Jewish people in Israel and America. We often bring survivors of the Holocaust to speak to our groups as we journey through Israel. One of those survivors, Hannah Goslar-Pick, who was a childhood friend of Anne Frank, shares her story of how the seeds of the Holocaust began against Jews by dehumanizing them. Many Holocaust survivors see the same seeds taking root again. We must raise our voices against anti-Semitism and stand in solidarity with the Jewish people.”

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. Liberty Counsel has a number of affiliated ministries, including Christians in Defense of Israel and Covenant Journey, a program that provides a life-changing experience in Israel for Christian college-age students who have leadership potential. Liberty Counsel provides broadcast quality TV interviews via Hi-Def Skype and LTN at no cost.