Minnesota politicians, Jewish leaders react after attack on Pittsburgh synagogue

11 died in the act of domestic terrorism on Saturday.
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Minnesota's political and Jewish community leaders have been reacting to the horrific mass shooting in Pittsburgh, that left 11 dead at a synagogue.

Security was stepped up at Jewish centers in the Twin Cities in the wake of the Saturday attack in Pennsylvania, which was reportedly perpetrated by a man with longstanding, extreme anti-semitic views.

In St. Louis Park, which has a large Jewish community, Mayor Jake Spano said that the city had been in close contact with the police department about stepping up patrols not only around Jewish centers, schools and synagogues, but also neighborhoods with historically high percentages of Jewish residents.

"This morning's horrific attack in Pittsburg [sic] is a reminder of many things but I choose to focus on the positives, namely that my community is made happy, healthy, and whole by our Jewish brothers and sisters," he wrote.

"They are loved and welcomed and I want to hug every one of them right now. Secondly, a huge thank you to our law enforcement community for all they do to keep us safe."

The attack happened on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest and spiritual enrichment that is observed between Friday and Saturday evenings, with services commonly held in synagogues on Saturday mornings.

Jewish Community Action-Minnesota executive director Carin Mrotz laid the blame for the attack not just at the man responsible for it, but for those who have pushed anti-semitic tropes at the political level to whip up fear and support from their base.

This includes the dog-whistle use of the term "globalists," as well as the demonization of prominent Jews such as George Soros, who himself was the target of a letter bomb earlier this week.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who is Jewish, also blamed the current political climate for the disturbing rise in anti-semitism, but also called out the lack of action on gun control as contributing to the dangers many face in society.

His message was particularly intended for President Donald Trump, who initially responded to the shooting by suggesting the damage would not have been as severe had the synagogue had armed security.

"We need leaders who inspire the best in us - not encourage hate," Frey said. "We need leaders who will push for gun laws to prevent tragedies instead of saying that synagogues should hire armed guards."

Meanwhile, 3rd Congressional District DFL candidate Dean Phillips called for change in the wake of the atrocity.

"Once again, I’m mourning the loss of innocent lives; in my own country, in a house of prayer, by a man with a gun yelling, “All Jews must die”!" he tweeted.

"You want change? It won’t come from this President or a feckless Congress. It can only come from something far more powerful: all of us."

His opponent in next week's elections, Rep. Erik Paulsen, tweeted: "Terrible. My thoughts are with the victims."

Among the other politicians who have commented on the atrocity is U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz.

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