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It has happened yet again. A white nationalist, bigoted hater has attacked a synagogue – this time near San Diego, California, killing one woman and wounding two adults and a child. The attack was timed to coincide with the end of Passover. It was not only a premeditated plan to murder Jews, but also a premediated plan to desecrate Passover. It was also timed to desecrate Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Memorial Day which begins this Wednesday evening. As we remember the six million Jews murdered in the Shoah we mourn yet one more person, murdered by a white nationalist neo-Nazi who killed her simply because she was Jewish.
Authorities are also investigating if the suspected murderer was connected to an arson attack at a nearby mosque that occurred last month. He apparently bragged about doing this on an internet posting. For those white nationalists and neo-Nazis such as this man, Jews and Muslims are equal targets. This attack took place six months to the day after the murderous attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh – the most horrendous anti-Semitic event in American history. It comes only six weeks after 50 people were murdered in attacks on Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. News reports suggest there are parallels to the on-line postings of the killers in San Diego and Christchurch. Both were neo-Nazi white supremacists – dedicated haters and killers.
In the coming days we will doubtless hear debates over firearms regulation and the Constitution. But, we must also have a much-needed national conversation about intolerance, bigotry, and hatred.
We need transformative political leadership to denounce the wave of intolerance, hatred, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. As an educational institution – one that has graduate program dedicated to Holocaust and Genocide Studies and to Interfaith Relations – Gratz will be part of that national conversation.
But right now, we at Gratz will mourn the loss of life in California, as we did after Christchurch, Pittsburgh, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. The connections to such events are striking and underscore the need to unite to denounce, resist, and fight against intolerance and hatred.
We direct our prayers and thoughts to our sisters and brothers in California.