The Author


Perhaps there is a qualitative difference between Robert Bowers and Palestinian terrorists, but if there is a distinction to be made, I don’t see it.

Like most of my fellow Jews, I spent the weekend trying to make sense of the Eitz Chaim synagogue tragedy (if that’s even possible) in Pittsburgh.

Was this simply a case of an irrational, demented individual poisoned by personal albeit hardly unprecedented hatred or was this abomination a symptom of a more widespread societal malaise? Was this a one-off event that should not diminish the fact that America has always been a safe and welcoming haven for Jews or was this yet one more example of a country that is careening down a slippery slope of intolerance and violence directed at ‘others’? Or more ominously, is this the opening of an American front in the ‘New World War’ against Jews that is already underway in the Middle East and Europe?

Frankly, I don’t believe anyone yet has the answers to these questions, but naturally, the usual pundits trotted out by the networks and other media knew exactly why this happened. For those on the left side of the political spectrum, it was all about Donald Trump being responsible for the current climate of incivility in America. To those on the right side of the political divide, Democrats laid the groundwork for this abomination by embracing the likes of Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour, Al Sharpton et al and increasingly accepting the Palestinian version of their dispute with Israel.

Let me just say that if there is political blame to be apportioned in this murderous rampage, there’s enough guilt to go around for both sides, so why don’t we just let the investigators do their job while the rest of us mourn the dead and do what is necessary to protect Jewish places of worship and institutions against the possibility of copycat attacks.

And while we mark this tragic event with vigils and prayers, can we also recognize the other recent victims of the same virulent anti-Semitism that cost the lives of those 12 people in Pittsburgh? I’m referring to Ari Fuld, Kin Yehezkel and Zeev Hajbi who were slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists in the past couple of months. These people were murdered not because they were Israelis or ‘settlers in occupied territories’; they died because their killers have been taught from birth that Jews are the enemy, the less-than-human devil behind everything that is amiss in their lives or in the world. Palestinian textbooks teach about the evil Jews, not Israelis. Palestinian leaders boast about making their putative country Jew-free. Palestinians hand out candies when an innocent mother of two is bludgeoned to death.

Perhaps there is a qualitative difference between Robert Bowers and Palestinian terrorists, but if there is a distinction to be made, I don’t see it.

The fact that a Jew dies in Israel rather than in the heartland of the U.S. doesn’t make that death any less tragic and any less worthy of remembrance by the entire worldwide Jewish community. So when you light your candles or say the Kaddish memorial prayercfor the Pittsburgh victims at the next Shabbat service, please remember Ari Fuld, Kin Yehezkel and Zeeb Hajbi of blessed memory. They, too, were part of our Jewish family.

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Article by Henry Roth

Henry Roth was born in Haifa and immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s. The son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, he has been married to Brenda for 43 years, is the father of two sons, Marc and David, the happy grandfather of Nicolas and a proud and loud Zionist.