The reaction in Swampscott recently to a spate of anti-Semitic acts shows how political correctness hasn’t yet dismantled Swampscott’s ability to react to such hatred.
It is a reminder to those of us who witnessed Newton’s less than honest reaction to its spate of anti-Semitic acts.
In Swampscott, the Jewish clergy stepped up to the plate.
In Newton, they were virtually unheard and unseen, except to write a letter to the local newspaper condemning Jews who came to Newton City Hall. They said those Jews were giving Jews a bad name and shouldn’t be so angry about anti-Semitism – certainly not in public.
Far better, the rabbis in Newton suggested that we remain quiet in the face of such stunning instances of hatred.
In Swampscott, a long line formed to stand up against anti-Semitism. The town manager, the school superintendent, the police chief, members of the town government, the state reps and local clergy gathered together at a hastily convened protest at Swampscott’s oceanfront main green.
About 70 people gathered there to join in condemning anti-Semitism – and every form of hatred and poor examples of human behavior. Each speaker – the school superintendent, the police chief, the rabbis, the reps, the folks who lead organizations dedicated to eradicating discrimination, all spoke out – and they spoke out about anti-Semitism.
In Newton, no such thing happened at City Hall, where a large crowd showed up to discuss anti-Semitic acts.
What occurred was an amorphous bit of random and undifferentiated dialogue about discrimination – everything but anti-Semitism was discussed.
The Newton crowd of concerned Jews left City Hall wondering what had happened.
In Swampscott, there was no such ambiguity.
In Swampscott, anti-Semitism is just that, anti-Semitism.
Leaders in Newton should take notice.