Greenblatt: 'What I learned from my visit to Pittsburgh'

Jason Greenblatt: 'We must teach our children to love and respect one another, to fight all hatred, and to stand proud and tall.'

Mordechai Sones,

Jason Greenblatt
Jason Greenblatt

Assistant to the US President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason D. Greenblatt, who accompanied President Donald Trump to console the Pittsburgh Jewish community after the Tree of Life synagogue attack, told Fox News he is trying to grapple with the news of the devastating attack this past Shabbat at the Tree of Life synagogue.

Greenblatt penned his impressions and the lessons he took away from Pittsburgh, and wrote "It is hard to fully grasp that this happened here, in the United States – a nation that has been so hospitable to the Jewish community; a nation where Jewish life is so completely interwoven with the fabric of the entirety of American life itself.

"This was not the first act of anti-Semitism on our shores. Regrettably, Jewish institutions and citizens have come under attack without regard to our political leadership. But this was reportedly the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in the history of the United States."

Greenblatt related his personal experiences that formed his worldview: "When I was around 20 years old, on my first trip to Europe, I was surprised and very saddened to see the significant police presence around synagogues in the various cities I visited.

"How tragic, I thought. We were not many decades removed from the brutal murder of 6 million Jews in Europe, yet Jews and Jewish institutions still needed significant protection from anti-Semites in Europe.

"But I was also comforted to think that in the United States we did not need such protection. I was fortunate to grow up with very few anti-Semitic experiences."

However, Greenblatt says, times have changed. "A murderous ideology and hatred has reared its vicious and ugly head in our great nation. Jews around the world are in grave danger from the scourge of anti-Semitism. In fact, all Americans are in danger from this scourge.

"There is only one solution to this – we must call out and root out anti-Semitism wherever it exists. We must call out and root out all forms of hatred, wherever they exist. We must teach our children to love and respect one another, to fight all hatred, and to stand proud and tall."

Greenblatt thanked the law enforcement community "who risk their lives day in and day out and who do their utmost to keep all of us safe throughout our great country."

"Those who responded to the attack this past Shabbat did so at great peril, as they often do. And they did so heroically. They should be honored, admired, and respected – always. It’s also vital that we recognize the interfaith communities that have stepped up in support and assistance for the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the synagogue is located. That’s the America that I love, and that must serve as a light in this darkness," he said.

Relating the personal lesson he took away from Pittsburgh, Greenblatt said he was sending a message to his own community and family.

"When I arrived on Sunday, I came with a heavy heart and a pit in my stomach. I was stunned by the attack. But after spending time with this community – hearing from different faith leaders, meeting Jewish community leaders and educators, and meeting and hearing from students in Jewish schools – I leave humbled and inspired.

"Both the city of Pittsburgh and its Jewish community are warm, special, close-knit and very strong. Though profoundly sad, my visit to Pittsburgh has been a meaningful trip that showed me some of the best of what America stands for.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Pittsburgh and all its people as they mourn. May the memory of those lost be a blessing and may God grant a complete and speedy recovery to the six people – including four police officers – who were wounded.

"May God give strength to the entire American Jewish community, together with people all over the world who are mourning with you and who seek to comfort you and to comprehend the attack and its impact on communities around America and around the world.

"May America recover and grow stronger together," Greenblatt concluded.