We are saddened, shocked and angry about the shootings in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.
The Jewish global family is mourning this horrendous hate crime, and many Jews in the US, on mainland Europe and here in the UK will be extremely anxious about their safety.
A civilised society should not require armed guards outside and inside a place of worship but this has sadly become a familiar feature for Jews in Britain. While politicians, the police and religious leaders wrestle with how to keep us safe, we reaffirm our unbreakable solidarity between our different religious and ethnic communities, particularly at a time like this.
We share a common struggle for greater equality and decency. Solidarity must always be a two way street in which we support each other, particularly in difficult times. Our work bringing together Jews and all ethnic minority groups must be intensified, including our work in standing up for asylum seekers and refugees.
And in that solidarity we must fight together against normalisation of far right rhetoric. Like the murder of Jo Cox, these atrocities do not occur in a vacuum. They are just the worst manifestation in a climate of hate.
It’s no coincidence that race hate crime – including antisemitism, and islamaphobia – are at unprecedented levels in Britain today. Brutal murders are the worst outcome from race and religious hate speech, but we are all affected by the spewing of hatred towards others.
Tomorrow our efforts must push back on all those debates and discussions that demonise certain communities and seek to pit one community against another. But today we’re in solidarity mourning the loss of those who lost their lives – and for their families and friends – in Pittsburgh.
Dr Edie Friedman, JCORE
Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote
and members of the Black Asian Jewish Alliance.