On Friday, a 21-year-old student named Simran Tatuskar had to face a tremendous amount of bullying on social media after she had tried to portray ‘Swastika’ as a peaceful symbol and include it in the school syllabus. Simran a student of the Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA.
However, a Twitter handle ‘StopAntisemitism.org’, who claims to expose antisemitism on social media, attacked the Indian-origin Simran Tatuskar for her attempts to introduce ‘Swastika’ in the school syllabus and claimed that she was trying to normalise the “largest symbol of hate in America”.
.@BrandeisU Student Union President, Simran Tatuskar, wants to re-invent the swastika’s reputation in the school’s curriculum and present it as a peaceful symbol.— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) July 22, 2020
And nope, she’s NOT Jewish.
But she IS trying to normalize the largest symbol of hate in America. pic.twitter.com/kcL390WGhI
In its further tweet, the Anti-antisemitism group wrote, “In Nazi Germany, one of the first thing antisemites did was erase the history and persecution of the Jews, minimize their struggles and appropriate their beings. By normalizing the swastika, this is repeating that vicious cycle,”.
As the self-proclaimed protectors of Jews began to harass the Indian-origin Simran Tatuskar, many Indian social media users rallied behind her to school the social media handle for bullying the young girl and also described how Hindu Swastika was entirely different from ‘Nazi Hakenkreuz’ or the hooked cross – the symbol of Nazis, which is often confused with Hindu symbol of ‘Swastika’ due to similar appearance.
Swastika doesn’t need reinventing its reputation— Ravi Kant Tripathi ࿗ (@LegalKant) July 24, 2020
Millions of Hindu have it our homes and places of worship@StopAntisemites and dimwits should understand the difference between vedic swastika & Christian Hakenkreuz used by Nazi
Bullying Hindu #SimranTatuskar is Nazi ignorance https://t.co/fweXiWcFtp
Several users also slammed the self-proclaimed vigilantes fighting the anti-Semitism regarding not only their ignorance about Hindu culture but also for defaming symbols associated with Hinduism.
Classic case of ignorance leading to criminal defamation.— Falguni Tewari (@Falgunipmd) July 24, 2020
To know how the Swastika is wholly diff fm the Nazi symbol isn’t asking fr much. This bullying of a Hindu student is purely a result of ur ignorance. There’s nothing #SimranTatuskar needed to apologise fr. @IsraelinIndia https://t.co/jnkb0Fzs3e
Another social media, supporting Simran, said that the social media handle ‘StopAntisemites’ should immediately issue an apology to her and Hindus for their vile campaign. The user said that such witch-hunting by certain jews will only alienate friends and asked the group to educate themselves before launching such attacks to bully young students.
@StopAntisemites owes an apology to Simran Tatuskar and Hindus for this vile campaign. This bullying is no different to that of the left. With this kind of witch-hunting you are alienating your friends. Educate yourself and your members before launching these kind of attacks. https://t.co/hmQEDDFDyv— UnapologeticHindu (@UnapologeticHi4) July 23, 2020
American politician and a prominent Jew leader David B Cohen also joined the debate, saying that “Hindus, Buddhists & Jains should teach us the true meaning of an important symbol of their cultures, & how the Nazis stole & perverted it. India’s one of the only places where the majority never discriminated vs. Jews.” He said that he knows real antisemitism, and Simran’s comments are not antisemitic. “If a hate group appropriated the Star of David, Jews wouldn’t abandon the symbol. We’d reclaim it and educate others on why it’s important to us,” he further said, although adding that Jews justifiably have a very strong visceral reaction against the Nazi symbol, so it’s always best to proceed with patience and compassion on these matters.
The ignorance of the handle ‘StopAntiSemites’ was such that it evoked response from senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Taking to Twitter, Abhishek Manu Singhvi wrote that Hindu ‘Swastika’ was not the same as the ‘Nazi Hakenkreuz’.
The senior Supreme Court advocate added that Hindus, Buddhists, Jains use ‘Swastika’ as a symbol of peace and prosperity, while Nazis misused the symbol. This is the same as demonizing any other religion for misuse of its tenets and should be discouraged and condemned, he added.
#Hindu #Swastika isn’t the same as the #Nazi #hakenkreuz. Hindus, #Buddhists, #Jains use Swastik as symbol of peace &prosperity. #Nazis misused the symbol. This is the same as demonizing any other religion for misuse of its tenets and should be discouraged & condemned.— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) July 24, 2020
Despite all the clarification by various social media users, the ‘StopAntiSemites’ did not stop threatening and bullying the 21-year-old student for her attempts to restore the real meaning and significance of the ‘Swastika’. As the fallout for the constant bullying, Simran Tatuskar had to clarify her position on the issue and issued deep regrets for the unintentional misunderstanding.
After receiving wide-spread criticism on social media its bullying, ‘StopAntisemites’ tried to claim victory and close the matter by saying that Simran has apologised. But a reading of her statement shows that she has not apolologised, but only clarified her position. She only regretted due to misunderstanding created by her post, but didn’t apologised for that.
Simran Tatuskar, in an Instagram post, said, “I would like to clarify my original statement because I regret the misunderstandings that it has caused, and this is an issue for me and my community”.
After much backlash, we are thrilled to see Simran has issued an apology and clarified her stance on the situation! pic.twitter.com/qWHGQW287a— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) July 23, 2020
She added that the ‘Nazi swastika’ represents the horrors of the Holocaust. However, she said, “As someone who is not Jewish, I know I cannot fully understand the Jewish experience and feelings my post evoked, but I never wanted to harm anyone.”
“When I included both symbols in my original post, I wanted to show the visual differences of the left-facing hooked cross Nazi swastika and the right-facing Hindu/Buddhist/Jain swastika for those who were unaware of the difference,” she wrote.