Getting it Right

Published May 09, 2016, issue of May 05, 2016.

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.

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