For Immediate Release: August 26, 2023

Shooter Reportedly Marked Gun with Swastikas, Illustrating Deep Interconnection of White Supremacy, Anti-Black Racism, and Antisemitism

NEW YORK – Jewish Council for Public Affairs CEO Amy Spitalnick released the following statement in response to today’s mass shooting in Jacksonville, FL. Spitalnick previously led the successful legal effort to hold accountable the white supremacists responsible for the Charlottesville violence. In May, she testified before Congress at a House Homeland Security hearing, urging comprehensive action to address the dire threat of far-right, white supremacist violence.

“Details are still coming out about today’s horrific shooting in Jacksonville that targeted the Black community, but initial reports should surprise no one: the shooter trafficked in racist, white supremacist hate and his guns were marked with swastikas. He was apparently escorted off the campus of the local historically Black university, before opening fire at Dollar General.

From Charlottesville to Pittsburgh to Poway to El Paso to Buffalo and now Jacksonville, we’re witnessing a cycle of white supremacist violence – fueled by increasingly normalized conspiracy theories and hate promoted directly by politicians and pundits and enabled by social media.

And it’s sadly no surprise that this racist shooter marked his gun with swastikas: because antisemitism, anti-Black racism, and white supremacy are inextricably linked, animating and fueling each other in a constant feedback loop – with deadly consequences for our communities and our democracy.

We are heartbroken for the victims and the Jacksonville community. And we are angry. There has been so little accountability for those responsible for this extremism, including those who have promoted and mainstreamed this deadly hate.

Accountability matters – but we also can’t simply sue, prosecute, or barricade our way out of this crisis. If we’re to truly confront this vile extremism, it requires a whole-of-society approach that includes all levels of government, social media companies, and civil society – aimed at building the democratic resilience that is crucial to preventing violent extremism in the first place.”


About JCPA

The mission of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is to strengthen and leverage the Jewish community relations network across the nation to champion a just, democratic, and pluralistic society and advance the right of full inclusion of all members of our society, including Jews, free of discrimination, hate, and prejudice.

Inspired by Jewish values of human dignity and equal justice under the law and an abiding commitment to vibrant and secure Jewish communities here, in Israel, and throughout the world, JCPA convenes and catalyzes its network to work with public officials, build deep relations, and engage in advocacy coalitions based on shared goals.


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