Like many people in New Zealand, I felt sickened by the weekend’s massacre of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Any mass shooting of people going about ordinary life is gut-wrenching. But a deadly attack on my people, while they are praying and sanctifying life, feels painfully personal and, while physically distant, close to home.
The killer Robert Bowers’ chilling social media posts reveal a white supremacist ideology, claiming, among other things, that “Jews are the enemy of white people” and, in relation to a Jewish refugee aid organisation, “It’s the filthy evil Jews bringing the filthy evil Muslims into the country”. He told Police that Jews were “committing genocide to his people”. He targeted the victims for no reason other than that they were Jewish.
While our community has received many heart-warming messages of condolence, not everyone is appalled by the attack. While the bodies were still warm, people indulged in their own interpretations, speculations and justifications.
Comments on the Facebook pages of New Zealand news sites included, “what goes around comes around. No sympathy here”, “they cry wolf when others hurt them but turn a blind eye when their own is hurting others”, and “It shows who runs the media…the Jews/Zionist”.
Read Juliet Moses’ opinion piece on Stuff.co.nz in full here.