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Federal Death Penalty Trial Reveals Gunman’s Relentless Social Media Rants Against Jews


During the federal death penalty trial of Robert Bowers, the gunman responsible for killing 11 worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, evidence was presented showing his relentless social media rants expressing his hatred for Jewish people.

Prosecutors aim to demonstrate that Bowers was driven by an extreme hostility towards Jews when he attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue during Sabbath services, resulting in the deadliest antisemitic assault in U.S. history.

Bowers, a 50-year-old truck driver, faces 63 criminal charges, including hate crimes resulting in death and obstructing the free exercise of religion resulting in death. Some of these charges carry the possibility of a death sentence.

As the trial entered its third week, the focus shifted to Bowers’ use of the social media platform Gab, which is popular among the far right, to propagate his antisemitic beliefs.

Numerous examples presented to the jury on Monday and Tuesday revealed that Bowers’ Gab profile stated “Jews are the children of Satan,” and he regularly posted, liked, or shared intensely antisemitic content.

In one of his posts read aloud by an FBI agent, Bowers referred to Jews as “public enemy number one,” expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi extermination of Jews, and shared an image proclaiming “the only good Jew is a dead Jew.”

On the day of the attack, Bowers made a post specifically targeting HIAS, a Jewish agency involved in refugee resettlement in the United States. Dor Hadash, one of the three congregations housed in the Tree of Life building, collaborated with HIAS.

Bowers’ post stated, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

While Bowers’ defense team acknowledges his role as the shooter, they are attempting to raise doubts about his motive.

They have suggested that his actions were not driven by religious hatred but rather by a delusional belief that Jews were facilitating genocide through assisting immigrants in coming to the United States.

Survivors of the attack have previously testified about the sheer terror they experienced as Bowers stormed into the synagogue and indiscriminately opened fire.

Police officers also testified about engaging in a shootout with Bowers, who eventually surrendered after sustaining three gunshot wounds. The rampage left seven individuals injured, including five police officers.

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