The first day of the federal capital trial against Robert Bowers concluded yesterday. Bowers is accused of walking into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on November 4th, 2018 and killing 11 worshippers allegedly over the congregation’s role in resettling refugees in his area.
The trial is unique because it is only the second case during the presidency of Joe Biden, who campaigned on abolishing capital punishment, where federal prosecutors are aggressively pursuing the death penalty.
The decision to seek Bowers’ death boldly contradicts Attorney General Merrick Garland’s 2021 moratorium on capital punishment, which he opposes on the grounds that it has a disparate impact on black men. But in Bowers’ case, his Garland has shown extraordinary hypocrisy and ethnic favoritism by citing Bowers’ alleged “anti-Semitic” motive as a special circumstance necessitating an exception to their own rule. Several offers by Bowers’ defense to plead guilty to anything put in front of them and avoid a trial in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table have been roundly rejected by federal prosecutors. The feds have also fiercely fought the defense’s argument that killing Bowers is unconstitutional due to his clinically diagnosed mental illness.
National media coverage on this controversy has created the impression that the relatives of Bowers’ victims don’t want him to face capital punishment out of the Jewish people’s deep commitment to compassion and forgiveness, but this is nothing more than a lie. While surveys show that the vast majority of individuals identifying as Jewish overwhelmingly oppose capital punishment and Jewish institutions have pioneered opposition to capital punishment since the 1950s, in this case, where a non-Jew harmed Jewish people in a politically motivated crime, the family members of nine of the 11 people killed in the Tree of Life actively lobbied Merrick Garland to ensure that his office does not compromise or show any mercy.
In a letter to the Jewish Chronicle representing most of the families of Tree of Life victims, they affirmed that sentencing Bowers to death was their idea, “We are not a ruthless, uncompassionate people; we, as a persecuted people, understand when there is a time for compassion and when there is a time to stand up and say enough is enough — such violent hatred will not be tolerated on this earth.” They concluded their statement by stressing that only the blood of the defendant could quench their thirst for vengeance, and anything short of this will cause them to “feel further violated by letting the defendant have the easy way out. His crimes deserve the death penalty.”
US Attorneys typically ignore families of murder victims who want perpetrators executed under Garland’s moratorium, but in respects to Bowers, the office has taken extraordinary measures to tip the scales against the defense, including blatant racial discrimination against black and brown people, in order to ensure that the Jewish community’s command is fulfilled.
In an episode in the run up to the trial that can only be described as breath taking, the US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the office of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division counsel Julia Gegenheimer, who is Jewish, flagrantly violated Batson rules by instantly striking every single black and Hispanic from the jury pool during the voir dire (jury selection) process out of the prejudiced concern that minorities are less likely to support capital punishment and could potentially thwart the government’s desire to win a death sentence for Bowers.
The trial of Robert Bowers is not the only instance where the Jewish community and entities it controls apply legally decide who lives and dies based off of a discriminatory racial and political criteria. In the state of Israel, the death penalty was abolished in 1954, but this did not prevent the Israelis from televising the show trial of Adolf Eichmann all over the world and then hanging him anyway in 1962.
In modern day Israel, 70% of Jews support putting Palestinians who harm Jewish people to death. While nobody has been executed in the country since Eichmann, this is about to change, as the Israeli regime prepares to become the first self-described Western nation to restore capital punishment, but only for crimes committed by Arabs against Jews.