Palestinians condemn deadly California synagogue shooting

Saeb Erekat and Husam Zomlot denounce ‘cowardly’ attack by gunman who apparently espoused anti-Muslim as well as anti-Jewish views

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Synagogue members walk outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue, Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Poway, California (AP/Denis Poroy)
Synagogue members walk outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue, Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Poway, California (AP/Denis Poroy)

A senior Palestinian official on Sunday condemned a deadly shooting the previous day at a California synagogue as a “cowardly hate crime” and called anti-Semitism evil.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the shooting at the Chabad synagogue Saturday, and three others were wounded when white nationalist John Earnest opened fire during Passover services on Saturday morning, according to authorities.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, said he “condemns with the strongest possible terms the cowardly hate crime committed against Jewish worshipers while praying in a San Diego synagogue.”

“Anti-Semitism is evil,” he added.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at a San Diego County synagogue on April 27, 2019 (Facebook)

Among the wounded were a rabbi who was shot in the hand and two Israelis, including an 8-year-old girl whose family moved to the San Diego area from near the Gaza border after her home was hit by a rocket shot by Palestinians terrorists.

All three of the wounded were in stable condition as of Sunday morning, according to local authorities.

File: Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks at a press conference after an emergency meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on August 11, 2014. (AP/Amr Nabil)

A manifesto apparently posted by suspected gunman John Earnest before the attack was filled with hateful rhetoric aimed at both Jews and Muslims. In it, he brags about setting fire to a mosque near San Diego and says he was inspired by a shooting last month at two mosques in New Zealand by another white nationalist in which 50 people were killed.

Husam Zomlot, the head of the PLO mission in the UK and a former envoy to the US, also condemned the shooting. 

“Hate knows no boundaries & must unite us to eradicate these evil acts against worshippers. Our thoughts & prayers are with those affected in the synagogue in San Diego,” Zomlot wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

The shooting on Saturday took place exactly six months after another gunman shot dead 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in the deadliest assault on Jews in US history.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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