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Emphasizing need to combat anti-Semitism

November 15, 2018

I was 10 years old when I saw in the Illustrated Weekly of India (a Times of India publication, which my family got every week) a photograph of a store with its glass front window smashed. In the caption below the photo I came across the word Kristallnacht. I was horrified at seeing the window smashed like that and mystified at Kristallnacht. It didn’t sound English. I did not know what it meant.

In the days that followed, I kept asking about it and was told that the Germans were angry at the Jews and were expressing their anger by destroying Jewish property and doing violence against the Jews. Even at that young age I was very angry at what the Germans were doing and felt great compassion for the Jews.

This compassion for the Jews grew as I learned more about the subject and has remained with me ever since. It multiplied a hundredfold when I learned about the Holocaust. Later in life, I made friends with many Jews and found most of them to be friendly, kind and helpful.

I will never forget that after my wife-to-be and I got secretly married against the wishes of both families, not sure where to go, we ended up having our first meal as husband and wife with Jewish friends at their house.

I am sure there are, among Jews, as with people of all faiths, millions of very fine human beings. There is no reason, much less any justification, for the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. I, along with millions all over the world, condemn it in the strongest words possible.

Following the attack, groups are now using it to push their own agenda. Fingers are being pointed. Some blame President Trump for inflaming an atmosphere of hate and anger. Others decry lack of needed gun control laws. Yet others tout stationing of armed guards at schools and places of worship.

Being ignored is the fact that we have this inexplicable phenomenon of rising anger and hatred toward Jews and, with it, acts of violence against them and against their property. Growing anti-Semitism is not only confined to America but also is worldwide. The reasons for the rise being touted may apply in the USA, but they cannot and do not apply to other parts of the world where this violence is also on the rise.

The fight against anti-Semitism will be better served by trying to find the root cause of why it has flared up so horribly in recent times and then trying to deal with it effectively. Responsible for it are certainly not the Jews. Then who or what is responsible? All of us must dedicate ourselves to finding this out.

Gulamhusein A. Abba is a retired journalist and a resident of Danbury.

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