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Prayer in Brussels synagogue for Pittsburgh victims

The European Synagogue in Brussels, guarded by soldiers, organised on Monday a prayer in memory of the victims in the anti-Semitic attack against a synagogue in Pittsburgh, US, last Saturday. The European Commission condemned the attack and expressed its solidarity with the Jewish community. The terror attack at the Three of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neigborhood of Pittsburgh claimed the lives of 11 elderly people and was perpetrated by a far-right gunman who shouted “all Jews must die” during the shooting. He had expressed his hatred against Jews on social media for their support to migrants.

The police that arrested the perpetrator said that he had 21 guns registered in his name. He stormed into the synagogue with an assault rifle and two other handguns.

“It takes only one crazy person to wreak havoc and tip the balance between good and evil in the world. How much more good can we do if we all act together against hatred,” said local Rabbi Michoel Rosenblum and expressed the synagogue’s gratitude for the protection it enjoys in Brussels.

Both European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice-President Frans Timmermans wrote on Twitter on Saturday that their thoughts were with the victims and their families.

“Anti-Semitism comes in many guises, starting with words and ending with deadly violence. The hatred must stop. And we must all continue to speak out against it,” Timmermans tweeted.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) issued a statement yesterday: “We have experienced on our continent the devastating and unforgivable consequences of antisemitism and hatred that can never be forgotten; as European institutions we won’t stop working to protecting the fundamental right of belief, wherever it’s questioned or attacked.”

American president Trump described the attack as “anti-Semitism at its worst” and an “attack on all of us.” There were no armed guards at the synagogue. In interviews, he said that the outcome of the deadly shooting would have been different if there had been protection in place.

Contrary to anti-Semitic attacks in Europe that often are linked to Israel, the Pittsburgh shooting was pure and simple anti-Semitism, but Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the US, accused in an interview both the far-right and the radical left of the political map for anti-Semitism in the US.

The Brussels Times