Interview with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
JI INTERVIEW — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spoke with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh at the 33rd annual International Mayor’s Conference, led by the American Jewish Congress, at the Jerusalem City Council Hall Chambers.
“There is a wave of anti-Semitism that has been growing around the world. In Pittsburgh, we’ve been unfortunately a victim of where hate speech leads to hate crime. My goal here is to simply make sure that people understand that you’re not going to be able to defeat hate with hate,” Peduto explained why he is visiting Israel on this mission. “The Jewish community in Pittsburgh came together very quickly after October 27th, and the greater community rallied around them. I hope to have the opportunity to talk with the mayors from around the world how the importance of that aspect of dealing with a tragedy is the only way that we’ll be able to address this issue.”
“In the darkness of the Tree of Life shooting, there were bright examples of shining light,” Peduto added. “The support that Pittsburgh got not only from the rest of this country and Israel, but the rest of the world. I hope that no other city has to go through that nor any other group has to go through it. But it’s very important to realize that the support that the Jewish community received in Pittsburgh was universal.”
JI: Were you disappointed that the issue of anti-Semitism turned into a political fight following the massacre?
Peduto: “Yes. I don’t really comment upon that because it takes away the real issue. That issue remains to be helping the families now. We just want to make sure that those families and the people who were injured are taken care of. That’s more important than the politics. The politics is something that I don’t dwell on and I don’t think any of the other elected officials dwell on either. I’m worried about any hate speech no matter what the group is, and the targeting of any individual component of it or the political nature of it is something that I try to stay away from. I realize that it’s the reality of the world we live in. But at the same time, I try to, as much as I can, stay away from finding ways to divide us and trying to find ways to unite us, and it’s difficult right now in this world.”