Jewish groups around the world reacted with horror on Friday to the news of the massacre of 49 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand by a white supremacist gunman.
By Algemeiner Staff
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said, “We are outraged by the horrific attacks in the mosques in New Zealand. We extend our condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded. Such outrages cannot be tolerated in any civil society. We hope that those who are responsible and those who aided and abetted them will be brought to justice. All people of good will must join in condemning this barbaric act.”
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said, “I would like to express my horror and revulsion at the terrorist attacks which have targeted people attending two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand today during Friday prayers. I extend my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the victims, and to the people of New Zealand. We must redouble efforts to combat hatred and division in our societies, from wherever it emanates.”
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said, “Racist individuals imbued with pure hatred of Muslims have attacked normally peaceful New Zealand. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of today’s unspeakable crime of mass murder.”
Harris added, “We say as loudly as we can: We stand against hate and xenophobia. We stand against racism. We stand against terrorism. We stand for mutual understanding. We stand for mutual respect. We stand for pluralism. We stand for coexistence and outreach.”
“We in the United States have witnessed horrific attacks on houses of worship, including churches, mosques, and synagogues,” he said. “No one is fully protected from violent hatemongers. We are truly saddened that this same hatred has emerged so violently in New Zealand. The answer must be unity, solidarity, and linked arms against evil.”
‘An Assault on Human Dignity’
Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper — the dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center — said, “An attack on any house of worship, whether a church in France or the US, synagogues in Jerusalem or Pittsburgh, or yesterday’s horrific mass murder in two mosques in Christchurch is an assault on human dignity and our rights as people of faith to pray to G-d.”
“The fact that the heinous crimes were livestreamed via social media is an especially ominous development,” they noted.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, “This attack underscores a trend that ADL has been tracking: that modern white supremacy is an international threat that knows no borders, being exported and globalized like never before. The hatred that led to violence in Pittsburgh and Charlottesville is finding new adherents around the world. Indeed, it appears that this attack was not just focused on New Zealand; it was intended to have a global impact.”
“We are devastated by the loss of life in Christchurch and mourn this tragedy with Muslims around the world,” Greenblatt continued. “No one should be targeted for their faith or their immigrant status, and it is unconscionable that the shooter singled out Muslims during their hours of prayer. We stand in solidarity with Muslims around the world and unequivocally condemn Islamophobia.”
Zionist Organization of America National President Morton Klein and Chairman Mark Levenson said they condemned “with all our hearts the horrific murder of 49 innocent Muslims while at prayer in mosques in New Zealand.”
“We send our heartfelt condolences to their families and friends,” they added. “The vicious terrorists who perpetrated this monstrous act are nothing less than evil scum.”
The Jewish community in Pittsburgh, which lost 11 members in last October’s Tree of Life Synagogue attack, also committed by a white supremacist assailant, is raising money for the Muslims of Christchurch.
“Unfortunately we are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community,” Meryl Ainsman, chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, said. “We are filled with grief over this senseless act of hate. May those who were injured heal quickly and fully, and may the memories of the victims forever be a blessing.”
Donations can be made online at the Jewish Federation’s website, or via checks sent to 2000 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl said, “We are horrified by this sickening terrorist attack against Muslims at mosques in New Zealand. To the victims, the survivors and their families, together with Muslims around the world who have been targets of rising hatred, whipped up by media hostility, we express our absolute and resolute solidarity.”
In New Zealand on Friday, many synagogues were closed, due to security concerns and as an expression of solidarity with the country’s Muslim community.