McConnell Statement on Anti-Semitism and the Poway, California Synagogue Attack
‘On Saturday, on the final day of Passover, our nation once again came face to face with the violent hatred of anti-Semitism. Barely six months since the murders at the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh. And again, gunfire in a synagogue. Again, a place of reverent worship for our Jewish brothers and sisters thrown into deadly chaos - this time at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the shooting that took place this past Saturday at a synagogue in Poway, California and the need to combat anti-semitism:
“On Saturday, on the final day of Passover, our nation once again came face to face with the violent hatred of anti-Semitism. Barely six months since the murders at the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh. And again, gunfire in a synagogue. Again, a place of reverent worship for our Jewish brothers and sisters thrown into deadly chaos – this time at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California.
“Three people – the synagogue’s founding rabbi, an eight-year old girl, and her uncle, visiting from Israel – were injured by gunfire. And Lori Kaye, who attended the service with her husband and 22-year-old daughter to deliver a prayer of mourning for her own late mother, was killed when she threw herself between the rabbi and the shooter. Ms. Kaye has been described as ‘the example of kindness to the fullest extent.’ And now, in the words of the rabbi who oversees Chabad of San Diego County, she has ‘lost her life solely for living as a Jew.’
“According to some reports, that eight-year-old girl, in her young life, has already had to flee incoming rocket attacks in Gaza and then, here in America, seen her family home subjected to anti-Semitic graffiti. And now she has been shot at in her synagogue. Here’s what she said yesterday: ‘I never thought that was going to happen to me... it's a safe place, you're supposed to feel safe.’
“Well, in an abhorrent way, it may be fitting that our nation will now spend the week of Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day observed in Israel and worldwide, keenly focused on the disturbing rise in anti-Semitism within our own borders and around the globe. Recent attacks on Muslims in New Zealand and Christians in Sri Lanka remind us that religious hatred exists in many forms. But of course the Jewish people have long been subjected to a unique degree of disgusting prejudice. And it’s paired too often with indifference from others.
“Just in the last few days, the New York Times published a transparently anti-Semitic political cartoon in its international edition. Not just online; it ran in print. The Times compounded the error by issuing an initial correction that failed to actually apologize for the blatant anti-Semitic tropes in which the cartoon trafficked. Fortunately, the Times has since finally published what appears to be a genuine apology.
“This episode, as one of the New York Times’ own columnists explained, ‘was an astonishing act of ignorance of anti-Semitism… at a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice.’ In other words, even important institutions that strive to meet progressive sensibilities can often be blind to anti-Jewish prejudice and attitudes in a way that would never be tolerated for a second where most other vulnerable groups are concerned.
“Combined with all the troubling statistics I’ve discussed on the floor on the past, it just could not be clearer that rising anti-Semitism requires swift action. Here’s just one example. We know that anti-Semitism often masquerades as political opposition to Israel in an attempt to appear more legitimate. But today, as hate for the Jewish people makes headlines with alarming frequency, this charade is being seen for what it is. And the Senate recently took action to condemn it, flat out.
“Included in the S.1 legislation the Senate passed earlier this year was a provision to help state and local governments push back against the influence of the BDS movement, and enable communities to shut off the flow of taxpayer dollars to entities that support these anti-Israel boycotters. Unfortunately, Democrat leaders in the House have not yet seen fit to take up this straightforward measure. Even as they’ve struggled to swiftly and clearly condemn instances of anti-Semitism within their own ranks, they have also let this important provision in S. 1 languish. It’s still sitting there.
“The infectious threat of anti-Semitism is serious. Much more must be done, the world over, to ensure that it finds no home in modern society. I just want to close with the inspiring comments from Rabbi Yonah Fradkin of the San Diego Chabad. He said, quote, ‘In the face of senseless hate we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country. We strongly believe that love is exponentially more powerful than hate.’”