The Unexpected Link Between Two Synagogue Shootings

On October 27, 2018, Gregory Bowers walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in a Pittsburgh suburb and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle on the congregation. He killed 11 people and wounded six before he was wounded by a police SWAT team and taken into custody. This past weekend a similar even happened in Poway, CA, when John Earnest entered the Chabad of Poway synagogue and opened fire. One person was killed and four wounded before the attacker was scared off and eventually captured.


There has been an effort in the media to blame President Trump for these attacks. As the logic goes, Trump encourages white nationalists. Alleged white nationalists (and let me say here, I’m not entirely sure what “white nationalist” means beyond “you have cooties” given the way it is bandied about by the media) perpetrated these two attacks. Ergo, ipso facto, etc. etc. Trump is responsible.

As it turns out, there actually is a connection between the shootings. It just isn’t the one that the media is trying to create a la the way they created the collusion hoax. Seth Frantzman, op-ed editor and Middle East affairs analyst at The Jerusalem Post, sees it this way:

The alleged manifesto of the shooter behind the attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue includes condemnation of US President Donald Trump. The letter, or manifesto, was posted on the popular US-based image board website 8chan. “That Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous [expletive],” John Earnest wrote in a version quoted online.

Similarly, Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers wrote on the mainly far-right website Gab that he opposed Trump, who he claimed was surrounded by Jews. “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist.” He claimed that Jews, who he used an expletive to describe, were an “infestation” in the White House.

The antisemitic links between the two attacks are clear. Both expressed hatred of Jews, who they accused of destroying or invading the United States. Bowers accused Jews and Jewish groups, such as the non-partisan refugee protection organization HIAS, of being behind “migrant caravans” whom he calls “invaders.” The Poway attacker asked: “Is it worth it for me to live a comfortable life at the cost of international Jewry sealing the doom of my race?”

Both men claimed to be Christians. But in their own narrow, racist worldview, to be a Christian was to be a white nationalist, and that white people were the real “chosen” people. Similarly, the Poway manifesto blames Jews for spreading pornography, for “their large role in every slave trade,” and for “promoting race-mixing” and persecuting Christians. Bowers talked about a “Jewish international oligarchy” while Earnest wrote about “international Jewry.”

Behind their ideologies is a hatred of Trump, who they both believed had become a “globalist.” It appears that in both cases, they felt the need to point this out, as if they were impelled to differentiate themselves from Trump and to show that their version of racism distinguished itself from any association with Trump. This may be due to the fact that the president was accused of fueling a rise in “white nationalism” when he ran for office, and these extremists wanted to assert that they no longer felt connected to Trump.


In fact, Earnest’s description of Trump was a bit more emphatic than Franzman says, see Elizabeth Vaughn’s Congregation Chabad Shooting Suspect Refers To Trump As A ‘Zionist, Jew-Loving, Anti-White, Traitorous C**s***er’ for more details.

Other factors that are enraging the anti-Semites are the fact that Trump has a Jewish son-in-law, that he’s moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, and that his administration is “infested with Jews.” To a great extent, you could be forgiven for thinking these comments were by Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib or the editorial staff of the New York Times.

The whole connection between Trump and the GOP and so-called “white nationalists” is utterly specious. In most ways, “white nationalists” would actually feel more at home in the Democrat party. They are, after all, the party of anti-Semitism and racial identity politics.

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