(New York) The trial of the alleged perpetrator of an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest against Jews in United States history and for which he faces the death penalty, began on Monday in full swing of anti-Semitic acts in this country.

The proceedings in federal court in Pennsylvania (northeast) will only begin once a jury has been selected to try Robert Bowers, 50, on 63 counts.

This driver, who pleads not guilty, is accused of having perpetrated these murders aggravated by the qualification of anti-Semitic act.

Before that, he had posted racist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant messages on a far-right social network.

Then-President Republican Donald Trump had publicly called for the death penalty for Bowers, a request followed up by the Justice Department and upheld after Democratic President Joe Biden was elected.

Three years after Mr. Biden’s campaign commitment to abolish the death penalty at the national level, this trial will revive in the United States the debates around this supreme punishment still practiced in many American states.

As early as 2019, the Pittsburgh federal prosecutor indicated he would seek the federal sentence for Robert Bowers, citing his “lack of remorse” and “hatred and contempt” for Jews.

On October 27, 2018, he broke into Pittsburgh’s “Tree of Life” synagogue, armed with three pistols and a semi-automatic assault rifle.

He opened fire and killed 11 people, including a 97-year-old worshiper, in the middle of a Shabbat ceremony in a historic Jewish neighborhood in Pittsburgh, committing the bloodiest attack against Jews in the United States.

This country has the most Jews in the world after Israel.

In 2020, according to the Pew Research Center, there were some 5.8 million adult Jews in the United States, whether religious or not, in addition to 2.8 million adults who claim a parent. Jewish.

This trial, whose selection of jurors could take weeks, opens in a context of surge in racist and anti-Semitic acts in the United States, at their highest in 30 years, according to statistics from the federal police, the FBI, quoted Monday by the Washington Post.

According to the American organization for the fight against anti-Semitism Anti Defamation League, this country had experienced a record number of 2,717 anti-Semitic acts in 2021 (assaults, verbal attacks, material damage, etc.), an increase of 34% over one year. .

In 2022, this association counted 3,697 anti-Semitic acts (36% over one year), unheard of since 1979, according to the Washington Post.

And last year, according to the American Jewish Committee (AJC) last year – one of America’s oldest Jewish advocacy organizations – “39% of American Jews changed their behavior out of fear of experience anti-Semitism, including taking steps to conceal their Jewish identity,” while “24% reported being the target of anti-Semitism.”

The American federal authorities have made the fight against anti-Semitism a priority.

Doug Emhoff, husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, and a Jew, called in December to combat an “epidemic of hate” in the United States.

In November, the FBI issued alerts about threats against synagogues in the state of New Jersey, near New York.

A Briton had taken four people hostage at a Texas synagogue before being killed in the police assault in January 2022.

And six months after the attack in Pittsburgh, in April 2019, a young man claiming to be anti-Semitic shot dead a woman and injured three people in a California synagogue.