A gun did not walk on its own into a California synagogue and begin shooting the Jews praying there. But some 2020 Democrat candidates seemed obsessed with highlighting gun violence, while not discussing the anti-Semitism that is at the root of anti-Semitic violence.
Guns don't kill Jews. Anti-Semites do.
Would the attack have been any less horrifying if one Jewish woman had been murdered with a knife instead of a gun?
In between thanking his donors, Joe Biden tweeted out a condemnation of gun violence, with no mention of anti-Semitism.
"Jill and I are devastated to hear about today’s shooting at the Chabad Poway synagogue. No one should have to worship in fear. As a country, we must speak out against bigotry and gun violence. We’re in the battle for the soul of this nation—and it’s on all of us to act," he tweeted.
Biden mentions bigotry, a general problem, rather than anti-Semitism, the specific problem. That's in line with the Dem refusal to condemn Rep. Omar's anti-Semitism remarks by instead condemning all bigotry.
He also fails to mention Jews, specifically by name, who were the targets of the attack.
He does however zero in on gun violence.
Bernie Sanders, who despite his Jewish ancestry, has a long history of allying with anti-Semites, including Jesse Jackson and Rep. Omar, issued a tweet which mentioned neither Jews nor anti-Semitism.
But did emphasize gun violence.
"Another horrific shooting at a place of worship, today at the Poway Synagogue in San Diego County. We must work every day to eradicate all forms of hatred and bigotry, and take serious action to protect Americans from gun violence," Sanders tweeted.
All forms of hatred are bad. But this was a specific issue of anti-Semitism.
Sanders also offers no condolences, no expression of mourning or personal grief. Instead he erases Jews and pushes his political agenda.
This is the worst post-attack tweet by a 2020 Dem frontrunner. But Jews have learned to expect nothing less from Bernie Sanders.
In between his California rallies, Beto O'Rourke tweeted, "Heartbroken by the gun violence at Chabad of Poway synagogue on the last day of Passover. I stand with our Jewish neighbors and their freedom to practice their faith without fear. We must act now to end this hatred and gun violence. May the memories of those lost be a blessing."
O'Rourke mentions Jews, which is a step up from Biden, but he leads with "gun violence" and mentions it twice in his tweet.
He never mentions anti-Semitism.
"This Shabbat brings another deadly attack on Jews, at worship, on American soil. Whenever anyone comes to harm because of their faith, we are all diminished. We cannot rest until hate has no home," Pete Buttigieg tweeted.
While he didn't mention anti-Semitism, he did mention Jews and Shabbat. And did not exploit the attack to push a gun violence meme.
This was the third best post-attack tweet by a 2020 Dem candidate.
"Yet again a place of worship is the target of senseless gun violence and hate. Anti-Semitism is real in this country and we must not be silent - enough is enough. My heart aches for the Chabad of Poway synagogue and the Jewish community," Kamala Harris tweeted.
Harris pushed gun control, but she did mention both anti-Semitism and Jews, in contrast to 2020 frontrunners like Biden and Sanders who erased Jews entirely.
"Praying for comfort and healing for the Chabad of Poway congregation today, as we deal with yet another mass shooting at a house of worship, fueled by anti-Semitism. Gun safety reform needs to happen—now," Cory Booker tweeted.
Booker was one of the few frontrunners to mention anti-Semitism, but the aggressive exploitation of the shooting for gun control purposes was not matched by any proposal to deal with anti-Semitism.
"I'm heartsick for the victims of today's horrific attack at the Chabad of Poway and their families. No one should ever have to face hatred and violence in a place of worship. It's on all of us to stand up to the rising threat of anti-semitism, racism, and hate," Elizabeth Warren tweeted.
Warren did mention anti-Semitism, and didn't immediately push gun control, but her endorsement of Rep. Omar's anti-Semitic comments makes it difficult to accept her condemnation of anti-Semitism now. Unlike some politicians, Warren didn't just minimize Omar's comments, but aggressively defended them and accused Jews of silencing debate on Israel. Her call to stand up to anti-Semitism should be a self-examination.
"Something is fundamentally broken in our society when any house of worship is made unsafe by gun violence and hate—again and again and again. I’m keeping Poway and the entire Jewish community in my prayers. More than that, I don’t accept this. We must end this epidemic," Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted.
Gillibrand mentioned Jews, but not anti-Semitism, and was nearly as aggressive as Booker in exploiting the shooting to push her political agenda.
"Today should have been a celebration for the Chabad of Poway synagogue. Instead, they are mourning shattered lives — I mourn with them. We must reject anti-Semitism and the do-nothing attitude about gun violence legislation in Congress," Amy Klobuchar tweeted.
The pairing of anti-Semitism and gun violence was particularly exploitative. Especially as Klobuchar offers no solution for anti-Semitism.
"My deepest condolences are with the community of Chabad of Poway as they mourn this despicable attack on their community. On this last day of Passover, we know without a doubt that hate and anti-semitism are on the rise and our tears today are bitter," Julian Castro tweeted.
Castro, like Buttgieg, did not exploit the attack to push gun control, and mentioned anti-Semitism, while offering condolences.
This is the second best post-attack tweet by a 2020 Dem candidate.
"The news out of Poway, CA is devastating and all too familiar. Another place of worship, another peaceful sanctuary, shattered by gun violence and hate. We cannot continue this cycle. We must stand up to hate and take real action on gun violence. Chabad of Poway, we are with you," John Hickenlooper tweeted.
There's no mention of anti-Semitism or Jews. But there is a call for gun control.
"My heart is with the Chabad of Poway and the Jewish community today. This horrific anti-Semitic attack is only made more painful as it falls during the holiday of Passover. Our nation must stand against anti-Semitism wherever it lurks," Jay Inslee tweeted.
This was the best post-attack tweet by a 2020 Dem candidate.
It mentioned both Jews and anti-Semitism. It calls for action against anti-Semitism. And does not exploit the attack to push a partisan political agenda.
"Andrea and I are deeply saddened about another hate crime in America. We are keeping all the members of the Chabad of Poway synagogue and the entire American Jewish community in our prayers," Tim Ryan tweeted.
This is a reasonably decent condolence tweet that stands out only because of how bad the tweets by the frontrunners are.
Seth Moulton did not specifically condemn the attack, but tweeted, "We have a hate problem in America. We have a gun problem in America. It’s time to look ourselves in the mirror and fix both."
There was no mention of anti-Semitism or Jews.
John Delaney, as of now, has not tweeted about the attack.
Eric Swalell failed to tweet condolences to the Jewish community, but attacked President Trump's condolences to the Jewish community. "Spare us your thoughts and prayers. It’s an alibi for inaction. You told the NRA yesterday you’d keep dangerous guns in the hands of dangerous people. We will take it from here with action," he ranted at Trump.
His tweet about the attack failed to mention Jews, anti-Semitism or even the fact that the shooting took place at a synagogue.
"Houses of worship are supposed to be safe havens in our communities. However, with unrestricted weaponry in America, they are no longer. Mourning those lost today in Poway, CA and praying for those who have been injured. We will honor them with action," Swalwell tweeted.
Jews were entirely erased. There was no mention of anything Jewish involving the attack. Only a promise to "honor" the nameless people with his political agenda.
This was the second worst tweet by a 2020 Democrat. And it exemplified the problem of 2020 Democrats exploiting the attack to push their own partisan agenda while ignoring the problem of anti-Semitism and erasing the Jewish victims of this attack.