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President Biden told Jewish leaders on Thursday that he spent time at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the October 2018 mass murder of 11 people there — but the synagogue told The New York Post he never visited.
“I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” Biden said in a 16-minute virtual address ahead of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
It’s unclear whether the president intentionally misled Jewish leaders or whether he suffered yet another bout of “confusion.” The White House has not corrected the “error.”
Here’s Joe Biden talking about visiting Tree of Life synagogue after the massacre there. The executive director of the synagogue says Biden is lying — he never visited. Totally normal. pic.twitter.com/GcFjU2u50i— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) September 2, 2021
Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, told the Post that Biden did not visit the synagogue in the nearly three years since the anti-Semitic attack.
In a phone interview, Feige, executive director since July 2019, said firmly that “no” Biden didn’t visit, even before taking office when he had a lower public profile as a former vice president and then-Democratic presidential candidate.
And it’s been given too much oxygen in the last 4, 5, 7, 10 years, and it has seen itself, whether it was — I remember spending time at the — you know, going to the — you know, the Tree of Life Synagogue, speaking with the — just — it just is amazing these things are happening — happening in America.White House Transcript
And I guess the point I want to make is that it just shows that if we walk away from “never again,” it’s going to happen again. It can’t happen again.
And so, I guess the point I’m making is that the attack in Pittsburgh, those attacks — all anti-Semitic attacks — aren’t just a strike against the Jewish community; they’re a strike against the soul of our nation and the values which we say we stand for. No matter its source or stated rationale, we have to and will condemn this prejudice at every turn, alongside other forms of hate.
But, you know, it’s time that we deep — we be deep — deeply mindful of a world beyond our borders, even as we did what was necessary and right to end 20 years of war in Afghanistan. And we mourn all those who we lost, including 13 brave servicemembers who were killed alongside so many other innocents in an act of terror and malice.
And in spite of welcoming the stranger, we now embark on the next phase of this mission, which is the cause that the Jewish community so often led. Whether it was Soviet Jews coming to America or Ethiopian Jews headed to Israel, we have to integrate these newcomers and help them begin to renew and rebuild their own lives.