Tree of Life Massacre and Trump's Divisive Rhetoric

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Police converge on scene. Screenshot CNN.

[Comment]

The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh has been victimized by the most terrible violence during Sabbath services. Our hearts go out to the entire congregation and community. We stand in solidarity with those in the Jewish faith as they mourn this unimaginable tragedy.

This violent act of terror comes at a moment when the language of racism, anti-Semitism and dehumanizing rhetoric targeting political opponents has been promoted and condoned by elected leaders in our country, including President Trump. Just this week Democratic and progressive leaders around the country were victims of multiple attempted bombing attacks by a supporter of the President.

We demand that our political leaders end their violent, racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric and strongly condemn those who stoke and fan the flames of violence and division. There are real consequences for vulnerable people across our country.

Provoking violence cannot be accepted as a political tactic. It is contrary to the principles of democracy and humanity, and it must stop today. We need real leaders in our country who are ready to stand up for equality, justice and peace.

We cannot separate today’s terrible act of violence at the Tree of Life synagogue from other acts of terrorism that have targeted Americans based on race, religion or ethnicity.

We well remember the pain of Charleston in 2015 and the massacre at the Sikh temple in 2012. Just a few days ago an armed gunman tried to enter an African American church in Kentucky, just before killing two separate, innocent Black grandparents in a Kroger parking lot. These shootings continue a legacy of racist violence against Black people, Jewish people, immigrants, and other racial and religious minorities.

The country’s failure to acknowledge and confront that unbroken history and learn from it is literally killing our communities.

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

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