Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Community

Memo To Israel-Bashers: Keep Your Pittsburgh Condolences To Yourselves

This past weekend, Americans were devastated and heartbroken by the deadliest attack against the American Jewish community in history.

Israeli officials journeyed to Pittsburgh to stand in solidarity with the Tree of Life Congregation. Flags around the country were lowered to half mast, and thousands gathered at synagogues and common spaces across the globe to remember the 11 lives lost in this terrible attack.

At the same time, prominent Israel-bashers, perhaps afraid of looking unsympathetic, offered seemingly empathetic words — words which, truth be told, struck much of the Jewish world as utterly opportunistic and insincere.

Prominent Israel-basher Linda Sarsour was among the first to do so. She posted several times on Twitter and Facebook. The first post read: “Flashbacks of the South Carolina AME Church shooting. To our Jewish communities — we stand with you. We love you. We are here for you. We will say it loud and clear that this is UNACCEPTABLE. These are the consequences of hate. We must be love. We must overwhelm and overcome this hate. Antisemitism, like all forms of racism has no place in our society. Stay close. Stay together. Our unity & solidarity will win in the end. Sending love to the victims and their families.”

With such kind words, perhaps some members of the social justice community will forget certain inconvenient details about the Women’s March leader. While she stands with Jews with her words, she has defended a woman convicted of murdering Jews, Rasmeah Odeh. She is a longtime fan of Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite who recently compared Jews to termites.

But though the insincere efforts of Sarsour were intellectually insulting, nothing compares to the public relation stunt pulled by Hamas, an internationally-recognized terrorist organization that devotes a large amount of time and money to murdering Jews.

Hamas issued a condemnation of the attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue: “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.”

This ridiculous statement came a mere two weeks after one of their rockets leveled a civilian home in Beersheba.

Perhaps because he knows the impact of Hamas terror all too well, Israel’s Minister of Education and of Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett, tweeted in solidarity with Pittsburgh Jews ahead of his trip to visit them, writing, “When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel the pain.” While feelings about his trip were certainly mixed in the Jewish community, Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace, took the opportunity to lash out at him, writing, “Your racist worldview has more in common with the perpetrator of this attack.”

At a time when Jews were mourning and trying to come together, this is not an appropriate comment.

The goal of terrorists who target Israelis and the goal of the Pittsburgh shooter are one and the same: to kill Jews.

Both terror attacks on Jewish civilians in Israel and domestic anti-Semitic rampages like the one we witnessed in Pittsburgh are unacceptable, and only the most naïve person would believe that anyone who supports notorious Jew-haters could mean any of their sympathetic words about Pittsburgh.

Those who bash the only Jewish state should keep their condolences about Pittsburgh to themselves.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.