Anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh

A man entered a synagogue and shot eleven people in the US state of Pittsburgh on Saturday. The police have arrested the suspected killer, a right-wing extremist who had been spreading anti-Semitic slogans on social media. Commentators ask, also in view of the bombs discovered last week: what is behind all the hate and violence in the US?

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Those who sow anger reap hate

The attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue and the failed mail bomb attacks against leading Democrats show how the seeds of hatred in the US have taken root, De Volkskrant notes:

“Those who don't view their political opponents as rivals with whose opinions they disagree but as traitors and enemies of the people open the door to violence. When opponents are viewed as degenerate forces that intentionally wrong or even seek to destroy 'the people', this can lead some to think that they have to be physically eliminated. That was the logic the far-right mass murderer Anders Breivik followed. ... Those who consistently instigate hatred by reducing a complex world to the level of a simplistic fight between the 'good people' and an evil elite create a climate in which extreme right-wing hatred and violence can thrive.”

The Sunday Times (GB) /

Left also uses inflammatory rhetoric

The phenomenon of extremist language is not confined to Trump and the right, The Sunday Times stresses:

“You may say that Bernie Sanders's rhetoric was never as inflammatory as Trump's, but these are fine distinctions. In 2016 Sanders called Trump 'particularly dangerous and un-American', accusing him of 'bigotry'. … Trump is no anti-Semite, but some alt-right elements routinely abuse Jews. But then again, the hard left has its anti-Semites too. That people on both sides of the political divide are using intemperate language is undeniable, even if the left will always insist the other side is worse.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Anti-Semitism is despicable

There can be no place for anti-Semitism in a democratic society, Dagens Nyheter demands:

“It sees Jews as traitors involved in global conspiracy. ... For centuries such stereotypes and fantasies have been the driving force behind persecution, displacement and destruction. ... New and old anti-Semitism are despicable. The hatred of Jews has no place whatsoever in our modern European and American democracies. Political and religious leaders must be firm in condemning it in all its forms. And democratic society must use all constitutional means at its disposal to protect its Jewish citizens from harassment and violence.”