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IRF Reacts to this Week's Horrific Domestic Terrorism

August 5, 2019

In the ten months since our sisters and brothers in Pittsburgh were murdered at prayer we have borne witness to 305 mass-shootings where 376 people have been murdered and at least 1233 more people have become casualties of the senseless and unending slaughter that has become one of the hallmarks of this great nation.

The International Rabbinic Fellowship, a community of Orthodox clergy representing thousands of Jews across the world, strongly condemns the violence perpetrated in recent months. In particular we wish to call attention to the increasing numbers of attacks on communities that have been marginalized by the current discourse in American politics.

We call on all our membership and those they serve to speak with righteous indignation against the voices that sow hate amongst the American people. The voices that call for congresswomen to be deported, that tag Central and South Americans as rapists and drug dealers, that label the Jew a "globalist" or espousing "dual loyalties".

Denunciations of racism, domestic terrorism and white supremacy are not enough. They must be backed by concrete action and a total change in rhetoric and attitude.

We call on our members to protest the voices of bigotry, triumphalism and xenophobia.

We call on our members to recognize and protest against the casual racism that is sometimes present in the discourse of our communities where the success of generations of our ancestors has allowed us a measure of comfort and distance from the immigrant experience.

We ask, will each of us be able to say, with honesty while suppressing tears: וְעָנ֖וּ וְאָמְר֑וּ יָדֵ֗ינוּ לֹ֤א שָֽׁפְכוּ֙ אֶת־הַדָּ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְעֵינֵ֖ינוּ לֹ֥א רָאֽוּ׃ - "And they shall make this declaration: 'Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done.'"

We call on our members to make this Shabbat, the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av, a Shabbat where we call on our communities to meditate on this verse. To ask of everyone if they have done their utmost to cut down hatred and to increase love.

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