Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
As President Trump arrived in Squirrel Hill to pay his respects to the 11 Jews brutally murdered in the Tree of Life synagogue, If Not Now, a leftist anti-Israel hate group notorious for targeting Jewish charities, unleashed an ugly hatefest that defiled the solemnity of the day.
Keffiyahs, a symbol of Muslim anti-Semitic violence, SEIU shirts and multicolored wigs were visible in the mob. A handful of protesters misused ‘shofars’, a religious ritual item sounded on the holiest Jewish days of the year, and not meant to be desecrated in street protests. Despite attempts to appropriate Jewishness, there was nothing Jewish about the ugly hatred and exploitation of murdered Jews.
Even though three police officers had risked their lives and were wounded trying to stop the gunman, the If Not Now flyer for the event condemned the “police state” and touted the black supremacist hate group, Black Lives Matter, alongside Free Palestine. An If Not Now speaker bizarrely bleated, “More cops in shuls will not make us safer. More cops in schools will not make us safer.”
Where were If Not Now members while the officers, Daniel Mead, Michael Smidga, Anthony Burke and Timothy Matson, were being shot at in the Tree of Life synagogue? Blogging about intersectionality? Tweeting anti-Israel memes? Plotting their next hate rally targeting police officers and Israeli soldiers?
When the shooting was over and it was safe, they convened a hateful rally to attack Jews, Israel, Trump and the very police officers who had saved lives and stopped the rampage of a murderous gunman.
Batya Ungar-Sargon with The Forward, an anti-Israel leftist paper, claimed that the protesters, rather than Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life synagogue who graciously welcomed the president, represented, "who the majority of American Jews are".
If Not Now represents Jews the same way that Robert Bowers, the Tree of Life gunman, represents Americans. It's a marginal hate group, animated by its animosity to the Jewish State and to Jewishness. A leading If Not Now figure, Rafael Shimunov, had even used The Forward to defend a leftist Washington D.C. politician who had accused Jews of controlling the weather.
Many of the marchers exploiting the murder of Jews, and claiming to speak for Jews, weren’t Jewish.
Putting the lie to Ungar-Sargon’s Forward fake news, the Pittsburgh City Paper noted that, "participants at the event were from a diverse background, including members of several progressive groups, residents of all races, and Latino and Black activists."
“Queer Catholic Protects Jews: End White Supremacy,” one sign read.
“We are here to send the message today that we don’t want you here,” Monica Ruiz of Casa San Jose ranted. "Trump, you are not a good neighbor.”
Casa San Jose is a Latino activist group defending illegal aliens.
Tracy Baton, the African-American director of the Women’s March, denounced Trump for inserting politics, “into a city in mourning, before the dead are buried, is unacceptable.”
Except that was the entire purpose of the rally, which even ended with a call to vote in the midterm elections. It was a power grab by marginal groups and a vile attack on a president paying a condolence call. While the president was laying flowers at makeshift memorials, a leftist mob was screaming hate.
And Baton was cynically appropriating Jewish pain while representing an anti-Semitic hate group.
The Women’s March leadership had become notorious for anti-Semitic rhetoric by Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory.
Both women are supporters of Louis Farrakhan who had praised Hitler and compared Jews to termites.
Sarsour had urged Muslims to dehumanize Jews, and Tamika Mallory had responded to Jewish protests against her support for Farrakhan by tweeting, “If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader!” Then she targeted the ADL over its criticism of her anti-Semitism.
Baton had appeared with Tamika Mallory.
If there’s anything more inappropriate than a protest rally before the dead are buried, it’s an anti-Semitic hate group hijacking murdered Jews for its own political agenda.
One of the few "Jewish" speakers at the hate mob was Diana Clarke, an organizer for the If Now Now hate group. When Clarke isn't disrupting condolence calls for the Jewish dead, she is researching the evils of the Jews. Namely, "the way Ashkenazi Jews accessed whiteness by participating in the white settlement of Native lands and violence towards Native people."
No doubt the hate group activist trolling a condolence call for the dead has plenty of insights into how the “Ashkenazi Jews” murdered at Tree of Life “accessed whiteness” as they were being murdered by a white supremacist.
Clarke also appeared to have signed on to a letter by an anti-Semitic hate group calling for a boycott of Jewish Israeli theater.
Also there was Arielle Cohen, the surly co-chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, who is also associated with the If Not Now hate group.
The DSA has supported at least one openly anti-Semitic candidate, Maria Estrada, a Farrakhan supporter, who had accused Jews of committing atrocities out of the belief that as "one of 'God's chosen people'" they feel "superior and justified". When rebuked for her anti-Semitism, Maria told a Jewish Democrat, “try keeping your party, your religion and your people in check".
The DSA’s 2017 convention featured representatives of anti-Semitic European leftists, including Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and France's Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a Holocaust denier. The Mélenchon issue offended even some of the DSA’s Jewish collaborators. But it didn’t stop them from continuing to collude.
The If Not Now march joined forces with another march by Bend the Arc. The media had initially misreported a statement by the leftist group that President Trump was not welcome in Pittsburgh as a declaration by “Jewish leaders”. In reality, Bend the Arc is headed by Stosh Cotler, an anti-Israel activist and former sex club dancer. Its PAC was set up by the son of George Soros
It was only fitting that the few Jewish participants in this deranged hatefest would be far more anti-Semitic than its non-Jewish participants. Jews who participate in anti-Semitic movements invariably feel the need to demonstrate that they belong by being more anti-Semitic than their non-Jewish peers.
The bizarre freakshow finally concluded at the Sixth Presbyterian Church, its ending every bit as Jewish as its beginning.
As President Trump arrived at the Tree of Life synagogue, Rev. Susan Rothenberg, a Presbyterian minister (pictured above), began screaming, “You are not welcome here!”
The Presbyterian Church has become notorious for its support of BDS and its affinity for anti-Semitic terrorist groups.
Earlier this year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh had cut ties with the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for hosting a co-founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center whose rhetoric was "theologically loaded" with anti-Semitism.
In an example of Sabeel anti-Semitism cited by the ADL, was the blood libel that, “Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him…The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily.”
The Sixth Presbyterian Church has welcomed BDS events targeting the Jewish State, including appearances by Sabeel speakers. It has advocated for BDS. Just this year, it promoted a boycott of HP over its ties to the Jewish State.
And so a march, supposedly against anti-Semitism, featuring an anti-Semitic hate group, wrapped up at an anti-Semitic church.
It couldn’t have been a more fitting end to a disgraceful orgy of leftist hatred.
This was not, as its participants insisted, a vigil. It did not mourn, it hated.
There was nothing Jewish about it, despite the disgraceful attempt to misappropriate Jewish phrases and rituals for political purposes. If Not Now activists rallied the crowd to sing, “Olam Chesed Yibaneh”, but ignorantly mistranslated, “Chesed” as “Love”.
They stepped over the bodies of dead Jews to lead a mob of anti-Semitic lefties to serve an anti-Semitic agenda. And they ended their orgy of hate at an anti-Semitic church.
“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,” President Trump said.
The hateful rally that greeted him is a reminder that those hateful anti-Semitic forces are everywhere.