India only country with no history of antisemitism: Diaspora members at Congressional briefing


Nissim Reuben, Program Director of Indian-Jewish Relations at the American Jewish Committee (AJC), spoke in support of Israel at a Congressional briefing on Monday, and said that India is the only country with no history of antisemitism. He also expressed solidarity with Israel in its fight against the terrorist group Hamas.

HinduACTion and Namaste Shalom Multi-faith Alliance organised a Congressional briefing in support of Israel and against rising anti-Hindu bigotry and antisemitism in the US and Canada.

“India is the only country in the world with no history of antisemitism. Never ever were Jews persecuted in India until the Mumbai attacks of 2008, which were perpetrated by terrorists that came from across the border. That’s why even today in Israel, Indian Jews say that Israel is our fatherland. India is our motherland. Israel is in our hearts. India is in our blood,” he said.

He said the Indian American diaspora, the global Indian diaspora, the people of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Indian government have solidly supported Israel in its ongoing war with Hamas.

“It was a brutal terror attack… Israel has gone through a tremendous tragedy, but it will overcome and rebound. And we as Indian Americans and Indians will never forget that Israel came to India’s help, assistance with defence, much-needed defence equipment in the wars of 1965 and 1971, and of course, Kargil 1999, when Israel rushed much-needed defence supplies,” he added.

Reuben added that this support shown to Israel will be repaid multiple times.

Astra Nomani, an Indian American, said she was a proud follower of Islam, which preaches a peaceful coexistence, respect and humanity.

“I am a daughter of India. I am a Muslim daughter of India. And I have known freedom and joy in India. What I have seen over my lifetime in America is that a new extreme has emerged. And that is from within my own Muslim community. And that is an extremism that denies women rights and makes a Jew an enemy simply for being a Jew, and that has now done something very unfortunate and demonised and vilified Hindus,” she said.

“So, I came here as a Muslim because I stand for an Islam in which everybody can live with coexistence, respect, and a sense of humanity,” she added.

Stressing that this was a fight of our generation, she added, “We must win, I want to encourage everyone to stand up with moral courage and to transcend any fear that they may feel in their heart of being shamed or demonised because if you stand for goodness and humanity, you will always be on the correct side of history, and that’s why I’m standing here today.”

Meanwhile, Rajshree Keisham, who belongs to the Meitei community of Manipur, said she was at the briefing to correct the misinformation that the recent conflict in Manipur was not a fallout of religious differences.

“I’m here to correct the misinformation or the disinformation that the conflict we have been seeing for the last six months in Manipur is not a religious conflict. It has been represented, in a very wrong way, that it is a fight between the Hindus and the Christians, where the Hindu majorities are prosecuting the Christians. I’m just here today to explain that it is not at all,” she said.

Richard Harowitz, a former Israeli military officer currently living in the US, highlighted the two core issues he talked about at the briefing.

“The first is the explosion that took place at the hospital in Gaza. Secondly, I spoke about an aspect of international law. On the disproportionality of the use of military power,” he said.

Another Indian-American from Manipur said, “I am from the Meitei community.”

He claimed that a section of the international media is portraying the Manipur clashes as “the Hindus prosecuting the Christians, but the violence is a result of clashes between the Meiteis and the Kukis.”

Condemned the killing of civilians in Manipur and elsewhere across the globe, she added, “Hamas slaughtered civilians in Israel, in much the same way as innocent lives were lost in Manipur.”

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