Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Inspired Plans To Carry Out Similar Attacks

College Park, Maryland – At least 12 white supremacists have been arrested on charges of planning, perpetrating or threatening to commit anti-Semitic attacks in the United States since the massacre in a Pittsburgh synagogue almost a year ago, a Jewish civil rights group reported Sunday.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also recorded at least 50 incidents in which white supremacists were accused of attacks on properties of Jewish institutions since an armed man murdered 11 faithful in the Tree of Life synagogue on October 27 of 2018. These incidents include 12 cases of vandalism with symbols of white supremacy and 35 cases in which supremacist propaganda was distributed.

The number of national anti-Semitic incidents remains close to historical levels, the ADL said. The agency recorded 780 anti-Semitic incidents in the first six months of 2019, compared to 785 during the same period of 2018.


The ADL count of 12 white supremacist arrests for planning, threats and attacks against Jewish institutions includes the capture in April 2019 of John T. Earnest, who is accused of killing one person and injuring three more after opening fire in a synagogue in Poway, California.

The group said that many of the cases it accounted for, including the shooting in Poway, were inspired by previous attacks by white supremacists. In internet publications, Earnest acknowledged that he was inspired by the Pittsburgh massacre and two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where an armed man murdered 51 people in March.

The ADL also recorded three additional cases this year in which individuals were arrested for crimes against Jews, but they were not white supremacists. Two of them were motivated by extremist Islamic ideology, the organization said.

The ADL Center on Extremism provided “vital intelligence” information to the authorities in at least three of the 12 cases counted.

Last December, the authorities in Monroe, Washington, arrested a white supremacist after the ADL notified authorities about suspicions that he had posted threats on Facebook to kill Jews in a synagogue. The ADL also helped the authorities in Lehightown, Pennsylvania, identify a white supremacist accused of using aliases to post threatening messages, including a digital image on which he appeared aiming an AR-15 rifle at a group of praying Jews.

In August, an FBI-led anti-terrorism special group arrested a man accused of planning to drop incendiary bombs in a synagogue and other places in Las Vegas, including a bar serving customers of the LGTBQ community and the ADL office in Las Vegas The ADL said it warned the authorities about the subject's threats on the internet.