October 28, 2018
News Press Release

ZOA Horrified by and Mourns Pittsburgh Massacre of 11 Innocent Jews; Urges Others-Join ZOA to Condemn and Counter those Creating Atmosphere of Jew-Hatred

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:

ZOA mourns and is horrified and devastated by the murder of eleven innocent Jews, and the injuring of other Jews and several courageous policemen, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  This massacre was committed by a monstrous, evil, despicable coward who deserves the fullest condemnation and punishment allowable under all applicable federal and state laws. 

However, it is not enough to mourn and be horrified by this heinous taking of the lives of innocent Jews immersed in prayer.  

It is time for a complete re-orientation of how we deal with the frightening growing evil of Jew-hatred. We must root out and condemn the lies that legitimize the hatred of Jews, Zionists (another way of saying Jews), Israelis (another way of saying Jews), and the Jewish state (another way of expressing Jew-hatred).  It is time to wake up, and for the leaders of all Jewish organizations, Christian and Muslim organizations, local and national government, university and media leaders and social media professionals to meet and join together, and to join with ZOA, in condemning, clamping down on, and countering the daily anti-Semitic activities that the world remains largely silent about, and the evil lies spread against Jews and the Jewish state that are feeding into an atmosphere that encourages and legitimizes attacks on Jews.

ZOA urges President Trump to make a major public address on anti-Semitism and bigotry, and quickly fill the post of the head of the government department responsible for fighting anti-Semitism. 

What do we need to do?

First, it is time to recognize that those who foment hatred and violence, or excuse it towards one part of the Jewish people, will attack all of our people.  The perpetrator of the Pittsburgh massacre is sadly a case in point. He expressed virulent hatred towards all Jews, which includes liberals and conservatives, both the pro-Trump Jews in the Trump administration, and the Jews on the other side of the spectrum at Peace Now and HIAS who bring lawsuits against Trump.  He concluded “all Jews must die,” and attacked Jewish people who have nothing to do with either the Trump administration or HIAS.   

The message that we must take from this is that Jew-hatred in any its forms is dangerous to all.  

Anti-Semites hate all Jews – not right wing or left wing Jews.  It’s about time that all Jews realize this.

And the lies spread about Israeli Jews and Zionists are particularly insidious and dangerous to all Jews, because they are a method of spreading Jew-hatred while pretending to “only” be attacking the Jewish state.

We must act together, strongly, against all these forms of Jew hatred, if we want to reverse the frightening, vicious open anti-Semitism that creates the environment that leads to terrible, violent tragedies.

Next, we must all be loudly condemning vicious anti-Semitic Jew-hating statements, and the bigots who make such statements.  For instance: 

Louis Farrakhan calls Jews “termites” and “members of the synagogue of Satan,” and calls Judaism a “gutter religion.”   He should no longer be tolerated; rather he should be roundly condemned and ostracized.

There must be a huge outcry when former Presidents Obama and Clinton and Members of Congress and media personalities stand smiling together with Farrakhan and shaking his hand and sometimes praising him. 

Linda Sarsour outright encourages violence against Jews by, among other things: posting and praising a photo of an Arab child with rocks in his hands, walking toward Israeli soldiers, as “the definition of courage”; tweeting her support for the intifada (the Palestinian-Arab terror wars against Jews in Israel) – describing the intifada as “invaluable on many fronts”; and sharing a podium with and praising convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted of murdering two Jewish college students in a bombing in Israel.  Sarsour also opposes the right of the Jewish state to exist, and expresses her unbridled hatred with tweets and statements such as “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” “Netanyahu is a waste of a human being,” Zionists can’t be feminists, referring to a Democratic Jewish New York councilman “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it,” and openly supporting anti-Semitic BDS. Outrageously, she demands people must “stop humanizing Jews.”

Sarsour must be condemned by all decent people who wish to end the scourge of Jew-hatred.  And yet, incredibly, she was honored at CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, and praised by politicians including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  It’s time for universities and politicians to understand that by praising virulent Jew-haters such as Sarsour, they are creating the atmosphere that leads to anti-Semitic violence. 

Marc Lamont Hill praises Farrakhan and terrorist Rasmea Odeh, promotes boycotts against the Jewish state, promotes the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) hate group, and writes that saying “Israel has a right to exist” is “Israeli propaganda.”  He must be condemned and promptly be fired from his Temple University and CNN positions.

Geraldo Rivera stated on Fox News show The Five (3/30/18) and in his recent memoir that he regretted not doing more to back the Palestinians in the Second Intifada against Israel. He must be condemned and fired.  The Second Intifada (2000-2005) was a terror war in which Palestinian-Arab terrorists slaughtered over 1,000 innocent Jews and maimed 10,000 innocent Jews in bombings of Jewish pizza stores, buses and Passover seders.  It is sickening and frightening that Geraldo regrets not doing more to back Palestinian-Arabs that carry out these massacres of Jews.  Geraldo also calls the Jewish state the “Unholy Land”; and falsely twisted the PLO/Hamas/Islamic Jihad hostage-taking and seizure of the Church of the Nativity into an “Israeli siege.”  

Mahmoud Abbas (President of the Palestinian Authority) must be condemned by all for his outrageous $400 million per year of “pay to slay” payments to terrorists to murder Jews, and his repeated broadcasts of hate-mongering incitement against Jews and Christians – including praising terrorists who spill blood to remove Jews and Christians “filthy feet” from Jerusalem.  Yet, the media and too many others are silent about these outright calls to murder Jews and Christians.

Next, the world must unite in condemning the horrific attacks on innocent Israelis from Gaza. The world must condemn the attempts by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian-Arabs whom they incite, to invade Israel to murder Jews; and launch barrages of rockets and terror balloons at Jewish civilians living in the Jewish State.  

There should be New York Times and other editorials condemning the actions of Hamas and the Gazan attackers. Yet instead, we hear “blame the Jews” for defending themselves.  We hear lies that Israel is attacking “innocent demonstrators.”  We hear lies from politicians such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez that the Jewish state is massacring Palestinians. We must hear repeated condemnations by Jewish leaders and others of these propaganda lies. 

Jewish media and political leaders must no longer ignore hateful lies and propaganda against the Jewish state. Major political figures have called for funding Hamas, said Israel controls US foreign policy and is an apartheid regime, said Israel is hypnotizing the world, have held up anti-Israel signs at an anti-Israel conference, said we’re sick of kissing Israel’s a**, and more. Such anti-Israel comments which cross the line into anti-Semitism must be regularly and strongly condemned — not largely ignored.

Hatem Bazian is a professor at UC Berkeley who was just appointed to an important post on the Berkeley City Council by Council member Cheryl Davila.  Bazian has a long history of anti-Semitic actions and views. Davila also asked inappropriate questions about the views on the Palestinian Arab-Israeli situation of a member of a government committee, who was fired in turn. There should have been a condemnation of Davila’s appointment of Bazian, and her actions in firing the committee member. No group except ZOA spoke out. Where were the others? Allowing all these things to go unanswered creates a horrific atmosphere of Jew-hatred.  

SJP leaders are screaming “Jews off our campus” and “Death to the Jews.”  Sarsour calls for de-humanizing Jews, and praising murderers like Rasmea Odeh, yet she receives an honorary doctorate at City College. There is not a strong enough outcry condemning BDS and lies that underlie BDS. This failure to act and speak out allows these lies to permeate.

Next, we all must clamp down on and publicly and repeatedly condemn anti-Semitic hate groups who are creating an unsafe environment for Jews on our campuses and in the public square, including SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine), the misnamed “Jewish Voice for Peace,” CAIR, MPAC, Black Lives Matter, and other BDS groups.  

We cannot tolerate the Jew-hatred of MPAC, whose leader opposes the existence of the Jewish state, and the Black Lives Matter platform, which supports the pernicious anti-Semitic BDS, and levels incendiary false accusations against the Jewish state, including falsely accusing the Jewish state of ethnic cleansing towards Palestinian-Arabs.   

Government and university officials, and Jewish and other groups can no longer fail to act when SJP screams “death to the Jews” on CUNY campuses (seee.g., ZOA’s extensive documentation of SJP’s violent activities at CUNY, at “ZOA Letter to CUNY Leaders about Anti-Semitic, Violence-Inducing Rallies There,” Feb. 22, 2016).   SJP and its allies on campuses across the country are creating an environment that feels hostile and even unsafe for Jewish students.  

At New York University (NYU) last spring, SJP and its partner JVP took BDS (anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions) to an extraordinarily sinister level.  They assembled over 50 other student groups to join them in boycotting Israeli goods, boycotting Israeli academic institutions and conferences, and boycotting several off-campus pro-Israel groups, including the ZOA.  Shockingly, this coalition of student groups also pledged to boycott NYU’s pro-Israel student clubs.  SJP is marginalizing and intimidating Jewish and pro-Israel students. Where is the media, Jewish groups, and politicians outcry?

Yet, even though these actions violate NYU rules and policies, ZOA’s repeated calls to NYU officials to put a stop to this bullying campaign have been met with silence.  University officials cannot continue to fail to respond to such hatred leveled at Jewish students.

At University of California Santa Barbara last March, SJP published a series of words and images on Facebook that, taken together, condoned and appeared to encourage violence against Israelis and Jews.  They included a cartoon – drawn in an outline of Israel, including Judea and Samaria – depicting a woman with an AK 47 assault rifle.  Facebook took the images down because they were so extreme.  Yet the university imposed no consequences and did not even condemn SJP’s postings even though SJP’s violent threats violated the code of conduct.  This silence in the face of anti-Semitism cannot continue.

Our university leaders are silent about these issues. Instead of condemning incitement and hatred towards Jews, university leaders legitimize such incitement by invoking “free speech.”  Why don’t university leaders, at a minimum, use their free speech to condemn the Jew-haters who are bullying Jewish students on their campuses?  Why don’t they abide by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which requires universities to provide a harassment-free environment for Jewish and pro-Israel students?

Jewish and other groups must join with ZOA in bringing Title VI and other actions against universities who are derelict in protecting Jewish students.  We can no longer tolerate the university inaction that contributes to the environment of anti-Semitic hate.    

And Jewish and other groups must stop legitimizing hate-groups such as CAIR and MPAC by signing joint letters with them.

Next, there must be an outcry against those who preach Jew-hatred from the pulpit.  In just the past year, Imams in mosques in New Jersey, Texas, California and North Carolina preached sermons calling for death to the Jews.  This, again, is outrageous and intolerable. Such Imams must be fired and condemned by Muslims, Jews and Christians and politicians such as Congressman Brad Sherman has done.

And next, we must stop the lies about the Jewish state that foment Jew-hatred.  Let’s condemn the haters who falsely claim that the Jewish state is an “occupier” of her own land, and who scream about “occupation” when there isn’t any.  Let’s condemn the haters who complain about not having a Palestinian state when the Palestinian-Arabs turned down a state five times — because their real goal is destroying the Jewish state.  There should be a tremendous outcry against these lies.

We must act together, strongly, against all these forms of Jew hatred, if we want to reverse the frightening, vicious open anti-Semitism that creates the environment that leads to terrible, violent tragedies.