AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. The nation is continuing to grieve the 11 Jewish worshipers who were gunned down at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday in what’s being described as the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history. Funerals were held Thursday for three more victims of the shooting: husband and wife Sylvan and Bernice Simon, and Richard Gottfried.
Robert Bowers, who’s accused of the mass shooting, pleaded not guilty Thursday. He’s charged with 44 counts — including murder and hate crimes — over 30 of which could be subject to the death penalty. Bowers has a history of posting anti-Semitic and xenophobic content and was posting on the far-right social media site Gab until just before the shooting. He referred to the migrant caravan as an “invasion,” repeating the words that President Trump uses.
We continue our conversation now with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned professor, linguist and dissident. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Chomsky was. I asked him about the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and other recent right-wing attacks.
NOAM CHOMSKY: When I was a child, the threat that fascism might take over much of the world was not remote. That’s much worse than what we’re facing now. My own locality happened to be very anti-Semitic. We were the only Jewish family in a Irish — mostly Irish and German Catholic neighborhood, much of which was pro-Nazi, so I could see it better on the ground.
What we’re now seeing is a revival of hate, anger, fear, much of it encouraged by the rhetorical excesses of the leadership, which are stirring up passions and terror, even the ludicrous claims about the Nicaraguan army ready to invade us — Ronald Reagan — the caravan of miserable people planning to kill us all. All of these things, plus, you know, praising somebody who body-slammed a reporter, one thing after another — all of this raises the level of anger and…