UN chief: Anti-Semitism is a menace to democracy

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemns shooting attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.

Elad Benari ,

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday condemned the shooting attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people were murdered, and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

“The shooting in Pittsburgh is a painful reminder of continuing anti-Semitism. Jews across the world continue to be attacked for no other reason than their identity. Anti-Semitism is a menace to democratic values and peace, and should have no place in the 21st century,” Guterres said in a statement.

He called “for a united front -- bringing together authorities at all levels, civil society, religious and community leaders and the public at large -- to roll back the forces of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and xenophobia gaining strength in many parts of the world.”

The gunman has been identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, who reportedly yelled "All Jews must die" during the attack.

Before entering the synagogue, Bowers tweeted that "I can't wait while my people are getting slaughtered.... I’m going in". His social media was rife with anti-Semitic comments.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Saturday night the Justice Department intends to file hate crime and other charges against Bowers.