Pittsburgh Rabbi Refuses to Blame Anyone but Gunman for Synagogue Shooting

Jeffrey Myers quoted the Torah to say mankind is 'prone to evil.'

October 29, 2018

Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said Monday that only the shooter bears responsibility for the attack that killed 11 at the Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday.

CNN host Alisyn Camerota pressed Myers about whether the shooter chose to attack because of the influence of others.

"Do you blame anyone for what happened there at the Tree of Life, beyond the gunman?" Camerota asked.

"I don’t really foist blame upon any person," Myers said. "Hate does not know religion, race, creed, political party. It’s not a political issue in any way, shape, or form. Hate does not know any of those things."

"It exists in all people," he said.

Camerota said that might be true but asked, "What lights the match of hate?"

Myers quoted the first book of the Bible, Genesis, to say that man’s sinfulness is an ancient problem.

"I think you’re raising one of those great questions that people far smarter than I can answer," Myers said. "But I do recall this: if we look in the Bible after the story of the flood and Noah, God regretfully says to Noah, ‘I have learned that man from his youth is prone to evil,’ which is, you would think, a horrific thing for God to tell us."

"The message I get from that is, yes, there is the possibility of hate in all people. But there is also the possibility of good," he said.

In the wake of the attack, many in the media have blamed President Donald Trump for the attack, even though the suspected killer posted anti-Semitic material online calling Trump a "globalist" with too many Jewish associates.

Myers argued all people are capable of choosing good and he said his email inbox was full of people from "every religion, people just pouring out their hearts, giving their support."

Camerota later asked Myers if he would like Trump to visit the synagogue in the aftermath of the shooting.

"The president of the United States is always welcome. I am a citizen, he is my president," Myers said. "He is always welcome."

Later in the day, CNN interviewed two women from Bend the Arc, a progressive organization that said the shooting was "a direct culmination of [Trump’s] influence." They expressed their dissatisfaction with Myers’ position on Trump.