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(10/9/19) Today, far-right violence again struck at our heart. On this day, Yom Kippur, a day of supreme holiness in the Jewish calendar, gunmen attacked a synagogue in the city of Halle in eastern Germany, kiling two and leaving others injured. Their motives are no mystery; one of the attackers was videotaped spewing anti-Semitic and anti-feminist hate. The attack was clearly timed to coincide with services on this high holy day. We at ING want to assure the Jewish community worldwide and in our own country of our support, sympathy, and solidarity.
We must echo the words of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: “That on the Day of Atonement a synagogue was shot at hits us in the heart.” This attack was truly a desecration of all that not only Jews but all people of faith hold sacred. And we are all the more concerned that this horrific act did not occur in a vacuum. Germany’s interior ministry has reported a 20% increase in anti-Semitic attacks—almost all committed by far-right extremists—in 2018 over the previous year. Nor is the United States immune from this outpouring of hate. A report from the Anti-Defamation League reveals that there were 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, down 5% from 2017 but up by 48% from 2016.
Anti-Semitism, moreover, is but one form of a wave of hate and hate crimes that is sweeping much of the world. This event calls on all of us, and on us at ING in particular, to redouble our efforts at fighting hate, bigotry, and racism in all their forms and to work for a world of mutual understanding and solidarity.