Netanyahu praises Trump for condemning anti-Semitism following Pittsburgh attack


(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel praised President Donald Trump for condemning anti-Semitism in the wake of the deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

Israel’s U.S. ambassador, Ron Dermer, also lauded Trump, citing the president’s prepared remarks made at a rally Saturday in Illinois hours after the attack, which killed 11.

In a message sent to the Jewish community of Pittburgh on Sunday, Netanyahu said the Jewish people are “blessed” to have “many friends around the world who reject and fight anti-Semitism.”

He wrote: “I want to express my appreciation to President Trump for unequivocally condemning this heinous crime and for pledging to fight those who seek to destroy the Jewish people.”

Trump has been accused by Jewish leaders of using rhetoric that foments anti-Semitism.

Dermer made his remarks Sunday in an interview with MSNBC.

“I am not aware of a single non-Israeli leader that has made such a strong statement in condemning anti-Semitism,” Dermer said. “We appreciated that very much.”

At the rally, Trump said: “This evil, anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It is an assault on humanity. It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its ugly head. We must stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters to defeat anti-Semitism and vanquish the forces of hate. Those seeking their destruction, we will seek their destruction.”

Earlier in the day, in off-the-cuff remarks at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland, Trump said “This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately. If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.”

Dermer on MSNBC said that anti-Semitism comes from all sides, both conservative and liberal.

“To simply say that this is because of one person, only comes on one side, is to not understand the history of anti-Semitism or the reality of anti-Semitism,” he said. “One of the big forces in college campuses today is anti-Semitism. And those anti-Semites are usually not neo-Nazis on college campuses. They’re coming from the radical left. We have to stand against anti-Semitism whether it comes from the right or whether it comes from the left.”

Dermer said the criticism of liberal billionaire George Soros is “not necessarily anti-Semitic” and there was minimal criticism outside the Jewish community for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan when he called Jews “termites” earlier in the month.

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