As Trump attempts to smooth over some of the reactions to his response to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead, local progressive Jews have written an open letter that has gone viral.
Tens of thousands of people have added their signatures to a letter by Bend the Arc a Jewish progressive group for justice in the hours since it has been opened to public signatures.
The massacre “is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country” the Jewish leaders write in the open letter to the President of the United States.
In a damning letter they write: “for the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.”
And they add: “President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.”
The letter accuses Trump of fomenting hatred, it warns that as well as making Jews less safe, he has “also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders looked shaken today as she denied that the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history was the President’s fault. She announced a visit by Donald and Melania Trump to meet victims’ families.
But critics have been comparing the alleged anti-Semitic shooter’s obsessions on social media with Donald Trump’s.
Both posted hysterical xenophobic tweets about a “caravan” of migrants in South America heading Northwards.
And amid criticism that Trump was politicizing and exaggerating the issue, it was announced today that troops would be heading to meet “the caravan.”
Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said that the President was welcome to visit.
This is the full open letter, asking Trump to denounce white nationalism if he wants to pay his respects to the families of the 11 people shot dead:
Yesterday, a gunman slaughtered 11 Americans during Shabbat morning services. We mourn with the victims’ families and pray for the wounded. Here in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, we express gratitude for the first responders and for the outpouring of support from our neighbors near and far. We are committed to healing as a community while we recommit ourselves to repairing our nation.
For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.
President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.
Our Jewish community is 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. 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 stop targeting and endangering all minorities.
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.
President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on 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.
Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh Steering Committee
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