US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas Greenfield, on Wednesday commented on the anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“Antisemitism and all forms of discrimination must not be tolerated. The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting reminds us of the imperative to combat hatred wherever, whenever encountered,” tweeted Thomas Greenfield.
“I stand with the Jewish community in the U.S. and around the world on this solemn anniversary,” she added.
Earlier on Wednesday, President Joe Biden released a statement on the third anniversary of the attack.
“Three years ago, on a peaceful Shabbat morning, a lone gunman stormed into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood and stole the lives of 11 souls in prayer. Eleven others managed to escape — some with serious physical injuries, others with indelible scars of grief,” he said.
“The attack was the deadliest act of antisemitism in our nation’s history. It was an assault on members of the Tree of Life, New Light, and Dor Hadash congregations, the American Jewish community, and our country. And it was a reminder that hate never goes away, it only hides; and if we give hate oxygen, it can consume.”
“That day and those that followed remind all of us to embrace the better angels of our nature – and to turn pain into purpose. We must always stand up and speak out against antisemitism with clarity and conviction, and rally against the forces of hate in all its forms, because silence is complicity. We must recognize in others our shared humanity and strive to summon unexpected faith in unanticipated moments — in the hope that we might heal and rebuild,” said the President.
“That continues to be the work of my Administration — laying out our country’s first-ever comprehensive strategy to address domestic terrorism, signing legislation aimed at strengthening our efforts to counter unlawful acts of hate, taking executive actions to protect houses of worship, and pressing forward with executive and legislative action to reduce all forms of gun violence,” he added.
The shooter in the 2018 attack, Robert Bowers, is charged with killing 11 congregants in the October 27, 2018 attack, and injuring six others, including four police officers.
The shooter was armed with an AR-15 and three handguns and allegedly yelled “I want to kill all Jews” during the attack.
He was initially indicted on 44 counts. In January of 2019, a federal grand jury added 19 charges to the 44 counts previously levied against Bowers. He has pleaded not guilty to all 63 federal counts.
The US Justice Department has said it will seek the death penalty for Bowers, whose attorneys have argued that the death penalty would be unconstitutional.