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'Anti-Semitism...Damns the Soul': Christian Leaders Condemn Synagogue Massacre, Anti-Semitism Spiking in US

Synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers

Synagogues across the country are on alert and the global Jewish community is grieving after the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday.

As police bore down on the suspect he said to them: "I just want to kill Jews." Just one look at the suspect's now deleted social media posts shows the hatred Robert Bowers, 46, spouted for Jews, with anti-Semitic rhetoric, Holocaust denial, and conspiracy theories of Jews destroying the planet. 
On the social media site Gab, Bowers wrote, "Jews are the children of Satan" and angrily posted about the Jewish community's work with refugees through the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said, "He had sought out this one synagogue because of activities they had done working with refugees and immigrants."

Saturday, his hatred turned deadly as Bowers, armed with an AR-15 and three handguns killed members of the Tree of Life synagogue, including a 97-year-old woman, two brothers, and a husband and wife. Four police officers were injured in the attack.

Thousands of mourners gathered Sunday night to remember the victims. 

Among the dead, brothers David and Cecil Rosenthal. Cecil, a door greeter, was remembered as a gentle soul. 

"You don't get a more innocent, harmless individual, who doesn't have an ill bone in his body," said Freddy Rabner, a former member. 

The Anti-Defamation League says the attack is part of a rise in anti-Semitism across the nation, with the numbers jumping radically last year. 
"We saw a 57 percent surge of acts of harassment, vandalism, and violence directed at the Jewish people across the country," said Jonathan Greenblat, CEO of the ADL. 
The outrage from the hate-filled attack stirred strong reactions.

President Trump condemned the attack saying, "This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us, it's an assault on humanity."

The president's daughter, Ivanka, a convert to Judaism tweeted, "All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh."

The Israeli cabinet held a moment of silence, Prime Minister Netanyahu saying the people of Israel stand united with their American brethren. 
Christian leaders are responding in kind, Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee calling out the sin of anti-Semitism.

"Anti-Semitism is a sin, and as a sin, it damns the soul. Bonhoeffer said to see evil and not call it evil, is evil," Hagee said. 

Faith & Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed said, "Virulent, violent anti-Semitism remains a serious problem in the US and the world at large. We condemn this hateful act of violence on a sacred place of worship of the Jewish faith and vow as Christians to oppose and defeat anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms."

Meanwhile, Bowers faces 29 murder and hate crime charges. The US Attorney General for Pittsburgh will seek the death penalty in the case. 

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