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Congressman Price Issues Statement on Tree of Life Shooting

October 29, 2018
Press Release

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 29, 2018) - On Monday, October 29, 2018, Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) released the following statement on the deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

"On Saturday morning, a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, taking the lives of 11 congregants who had gathered on the Sabbath to celebrate an infant’s bris ceremony.  This unconscionable act of anti-Semitic hatred constituted the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in American history.  But for the Tree of Life community—and for members of the Jewish faith across the country and around the world—the shooting is also embedded in a much larger history, a history of collective persecution that has produced some of the greatest atrocities ever committed by humankind.

For generations, the United States of America has been at least a partial refuge from this history:  a land where Jews have been free to practice their faith without fear of violence, and where they have been interwoven—unevenly, to be sure, but steadily over time—with the cultural, economic, and political fabric of our nation.  We must not allow this despicable attack to unravel this fabric, and I have been encouraged by the resounding displays of solidarity, across faith and party lines, that we have witnessed over the past 48 hours.

Yet we must also acknowledge clearly and forcefully that this act of hate did not occur in a vacuum.  The Anti-Defamation League has reported a historic rise in anti-Semitic incidents and online harassment over the past year, as neo-Nazis and other hate groups have become increasingly assertive in their actions and rhetoric.  Such groups have long existed at the fringes of American society, but they now feel emboldened and empowered by the right-wing websites, commentators, and elected officials who have legitimized and given voice to their hate. 

When a member of the U.S. House of Representatives aligns himself with neo-Nazi candidates and parties abroad, he is legitimizing hate.  When prominent Republicans employ rhetoric peddled by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists to attack a Holocaust survivor because he donates to their opponents, they are legitimizing hate.  And when the President of the United States condones violence by his supporters and calls the extremists who descended on Charlottesville last year “very fine people,” he is legitimizing hate.

As a nation, we must summon the collective determination not just to condemn the actions of individuals but to confront the hatred and bigotry that give rise to them.  At a time of intense partisan rancor and anxiety, we must unite in common purpose rather than stoking anger and division.  We must honor those killed in Pittsburgh by rededicating ourselves to values of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect."