Anti-Defamation League Calls Pittsburgh Shooting ‘Deadliest Attack’ on Jewish Community in U.S. History

“Our hearts break for the families,” says ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting an “unconscionable” crime that was “likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.”

The attack on the Tree of Life synagogue located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh killed 11 people and injured several others on Saturday morning. The suspect, Robert Bowers, was in “fair condition” after being shot, arrested and transported to a local hospital, according to law enforcement officials.

“Our hearts break for the families of those killed and injured at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and for the entire Jewish community of Pittsburgh,” ADL chief Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement on Saturday. “This is likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States. We are actively engaged with law enforcement to support their investigation and call on authorities to investigate this as a hate crime.”

Bowers had routinely posted anti-Semitic comments on social media, including in the hours leading up to the attack. The FBI is approaching the shooting as a hate crime, FBI special agent Bob Jones said on Saturday. “This is the most horrific crime scene I’ve seen in my 22 years of law enforcement,” Jones said in a press briefing.

Greenblatt said the ADL will “remain steadfast” in fighting anti-Semitism following the attack.

“It is simply unconscionable for Jews to be targeted during worship on a Sabbath morning, and unthinkable that it would happen in the United States of America in this day and age,” Greeblatt said. “Unfortunately, this violent attack – the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the United States since 2014 – occurs at time when ADL has reported a historic increase in both anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Semitic online harassment.”

Three people were killed in a 2014 shooting at a Jewish community center near Kansas City, Kansas. Anti-Jewish incidents surged 60 percent in 2017, according to the ADL’s annual report released in February. Hate crimes against Jews have also spiked in other western countries, including France, where 50,000 Jews have fled the country since 2000, according to The New York Times.