(JTA) — Speakers at a summit on racial justice in Pittsburgh used anti-Semitic tropes and bashed Israel.
The Racial Justice Summit was held at the end of January at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, a graduate theological school of the Presbyterian Church, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle reported. The summit has included anti-Israel presentations at least since 2017, according to the newspaper.
Among the accusations at this year’s summit were that Israel was founded by “a political movement that was conceived by wealthy Jewish businessmen in Eastern Europe,” that Zionism is an “anti-Semitic lie,” and that there was no Jewish connection to the land of Israel.
Laura Horowitz, a Pittsburgh Jewish woman who attended the summit, wrote on Facebook, according to the Chronicle, that she was “angry” that “a roomful of people sat there and watched this Jew hating go on without saying a word.”
In a letter to the Chronicle, the seminary wrote that it was “saddened that this perception (that it facilitates anti-Israel sentiment) persists.”
“The Seminary community recognizes that if we are going to be one Pittsburgh, everyone must listen and everyone must be heard. We aspire to model the kind of dialogue we want our students to have when divergent political and theological viewpoints arise. In this time in our country, respectful disagreement is especially urgent. Love of neighbor does not always mean agreeing; but it does require honoring others’ humanity,” it wrote.
The seminary also wrote that it “unequivocally rejects all forms of hate speech, racism and egregious activities that will harm others in any way.”