"The Wire" and "The Deuce" creator David Simon reacted angrily to Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett's planned visit to Pittsburgh's Jewish community, following the mass shooting of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday.
In response to a tweet by Bennett in which he announced his intention to "be with our sisters and brothers on their darkest hour," Simon responded: "Go home. [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s interventions in US politics aided in the election of Donald Trump and his raw and relentless validation of white nationalism and fascism. The American Jewish community is now bleeding at the hands of the Israeli prime minister. And many of us know it."
The attack in Pittsburgh by suspected gunman Robert Bowers led to condemnations from both Bennett and Netanyahu, with the latter stating that Israel "stands together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality, and we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded." Announcing his decision to visit the United States, Bennett also tweeted, "When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel the pain. Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters and with the entire American people."
Simon did not respond to Netanyahu's comment, but did have a busy time responding (and blocking) people who tweeted him about Saturday's attack – which was the worst to specifically target the Jewish community in U.S. history.
"You anti-Semiitic [sic] shitmuzzle. What do Jewish people attending a religious service in a Pittsburgh suburb have to do with the policies of a Middle Eastern state other than that they are practicing the Jewish faith? Blocked and fuck your diseased soul," he responded to Claudio Almeida's comment that "What comes around goes around! Prayers for the #FreePalestine also!"
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"Expletive-muzzle" was a popular phrase for Simon as he vented on tweeters seeking to defend the shooter's actions in any way. When AJB tweeted "Flooding a country with foreigners has real world consequences. Maybe they should have thought that through before promoting unlimited migration," Simon's response was withering. "The only white people worried about this are the menials and cowards and incompetents who fear interaction, engagement and competition with the rest of humanity. Oh hi, AJB, you anonymous internet fuckmuzzle."
Displaying a range of expletives that the cast of "The Wire" would surely recognize, Simon then responded to a tweet that said he had identified with the communist defenders of Spain in the 1930s in a previous comment about fascism. "You ahistorical fuckmook. Simon’s actually read something and he’s identifying the coalition of Spanish republicans, liberal democrats, socialist and communists that put aside their arguments to fight Franco, Hitler and Mussolini. You’ve heard of Hitler, right, fucknuts?" Simon wrote.
However, there was one tweeter who was spared an X-rated response: Ivanka Trump – although Simon didn't exactly let her off the hook either.
She tweeted: "America is stronger than the acts of a depraved bigot and anti-semite. All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh. We must unite against hatred & evil."
Simon responded: "We agree. In the end, after far too much tragedy and national degradation, this country will eventually regain its sense of itself, fight to restore its ethos and prove in the end stronger than your father."
The award-winning writer is known for his searing portrayals of life on America's margins, whether that be the mean streets of Baltimore ("The wire"), post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans ("Treme") or the porn industry in 1970s New York, when the Big Apple was at its most rotten.
Simon's tweet created more responses on Sunday morning – and even more creative expletives from the writer.
When told that the shooting was completely unconnected to Netanyahu's actions supporting Trump, Simon shot back: "The election of Donald Trump was sought and supported by Netanyahu in his US election cycle maneuvers. Or do you think American Jews, most of whom do not support this turn toward fascism, have no memory of Bibi’s antics?"
Kenneth Friedman criticized Simon for his stance, tweeting: "Blaming Israel aids and abets anti-Semites who see Jewish cabals at the root of all that is evil."
Simon's response? "Own the actions of Netanyahu in his maneuvers during our election. Most American Jews are resistant to this dry run of American fascism. We saw what happened. We have eyes. And memories. Bibi made his choice; now, for all of us, consequences."
He reserved his most scathing response for Sharona (presumably from Israel), who tweeted him, "I pitty [sic] you. Jews with no root with nothing. Nothing and worth nothing."
"If you knew my family history and how it relates to the Jewish state, you’d be ashamed. But wait. No, you’re a soulless, self-absorbed fuckbonnet. Shame is out of your reach. Never mind. Bye now," Simon said, his keyboard now presumably hotter than Hades by this point.
Unsurprisingly, he did not let being called an anti-Semite pass without comment. "So now I’m an anti-Semite," he wrote. "You might want to research my family history before leaping to that old chestnut of the self-hating Jew. It’s the cheap excuse for avoiding any criticism of any Israeli action. As to US politics, yes, clear you don’t follow it. But Bibi sure fuckin did."
Simon also castigated Netanyahu in several tweets, after someone said "Israel will always be there for you." Simon's response: "I have family there. But Bibi is a canker and the turn toward fascism and racism needs to be fought where it stands."