Religious Leaders & Political Analysts Debate Whether Trump Has Given Rise to Anti-Semitism

In the wake of the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, U.S. religious and political analysts have been debating if and what kind of effect President Donald Trump has had on anti-Semitism.

Christian leaders strongly condemned the actions of the shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, who killed 11 at the Jewish place of worship on Saturday, stating that he “wanted to kill Jews.”

They have been divided on whether Trump’s rhetoric, when it comes to political opponents and minority issues, has given rise to anti-Semitic attacks, as have Jewish community members, CNN reported.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life Synagogue, where the shooting occurred, insisted that the president is welcome to attend services in support of the victims.

“The President of the United States is always welcome,” Myers told CNN. “I’m a citizen. He’s my president. He is certainly welcome,” he added.

Lynnette Lederman, a former president of the synagogue, said that Trump will not be welcome, however.

“I do not welcome this president to my city,” Lederman stated, arguing that Trump is “the purveyor of hate speech.”

“The hypocritical words that come from him tell me nothing. We have very, very strong leadership in this city,” she added. “We have people who stand by us, who believed in values — not just Jewish values, but believe in values — and those are not the values of this president and I do not welcome him to Pittsburgh.”

Trump condemned Saturday’s shooting as “pure evil,” and said that America’s prayers are with the victims and their loves ones.

The president also suggested that the shooting could been prevented or contained if an armed guard had been present at the synagogue, harking back to the highly controversial gun debate in the country.

Trump has Jewish members in his own family, with daughter Ivanka Trump converting to Orthodox Judaism to marry Jarred Kushner in 2009. Three of Trump’s grandchildren are Jewish, with the billionaire businessman describing his daughter’s first child as a “beautiful Jewish baby.”

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Source: Baptist Press