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India has no trace of anti-Semitism, Indian envoy to UN at World Jewish Congress

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New Delhi: India’s envoy to United Nations TS Tirumurti highlighted India’s pluralistic fabric and framework of “pluralism, harmony and mutual acceptance” claiming “India does not have any trace of anti-Semitism”.

While addressing the World Jewish Congress, Tirumurti said, “India condemns all forms of antisemitism and all forms of discrimination on religious grounds anywhere in the world.”

India a home to Jewish communities for more than 2000 years, many of whom came to India fleeing persecution. Indian envoy pointed out that from the 16th century to World War II India has given refugee to Jewish communities. 

He said, “(It is) well-known that when the Jewish community faced persecution from some European powers in the 16th Century, they were granted sanctuary by the Hindu Maharaja of Cochin, Rama Varma, in Kerala”.

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Paradesi synagogue built-in 1568 still stands in Cochin, next to Rama Varma’s palace and a temple. On the occasion of its 400ths anniversary in 1968, the then Indian Prime Minister had attended the event.

In 1942, the king of Jamnagar, Maharaja Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja gave refuge to 1000 Polish children, many of them Jewish, who faced persecution from Hitler’s forces. In fact, the Indian Army’s eastern command during the 1971 Bangladesh’s liberation war was led by JFR Jacob, who was a Jew and as the envoy described him as a “national hero in India”.

Tirumurti recalled how during the 26/11 attacks the whole of India prayed for baby Moshe Holtzberg, who was saved by his Indian caregiver from the dastardly terrorist attack in Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists.

Holtzberg was just 2-years-old when his parents were killed during the 26/11 attacks. Indian PM Narendra Modi had met Moshe Holtzberg during a 2017 visit to Israel. 

Slamming Pakistan, the Indian envoy said, “We now have countries taking advantage of the ongoing pandemic and spreading divisive sentiments to other parts of the world on the basis of religion. COVID has not prevented them from supporting cross-border terrorism to kill innocent people and spread religious hatred.”

Further, he said, “We call on those countries to stop spreading antisemitism, stop spreading hatred and stop dividing the world on the basis of religion.  We ask them to look inwards to promote harmony within their own societies, stop sectarian violence and ensure the protection of minorities.”

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