Boston, MA, June 15, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that a series of apparently unrelated anti-Semitic and racist incidents have occurred in Manchester, Salem and Hudson, New Hampshire over the past month. ADL has called for community leaders, educators, clergy and the media to consider the meaning of the incidents for their communities and signal that there is no place for hate in their towns.
Among the most serious of the incidents occurred over the weekend of June 12 -13, when a Manchester synagogue was defaced with anti-Semitic, racist and anti-Catholic graffiti. Three juveniles have been arrested for vandalizing the synagogue. The attack on the synagogue followed the airing of a Manchester public access cable TV program last week that presented anti-Jewish stereotypes as fact. Also, in the last month, extremist groups have distributed hate literature several times in communities, including Salem and Hudson.
Rob Leikind, ADL New England Regional Director, and Adam Solender, Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester, issued the following statement:
Words of hate, if left to fester, can undermine the trust and confidence that binds people together. In the face of hate people need to take well-considered action. The true character of a community is not measured by the fact that hate incidents happen but, rather, how the community responds to them.
ADL recommends that the communities consider the following questions in organizing a response to acts of hate:
· How might such acts have impacted upon children? Would they have been aware? Was there anyone to explain what happened? Is there a way that they would know that such acts are wrong?
· Has the community clearly articulated its values? Has there been a response to the hate incident? Have political, religious and community leaders communicated their abhorrence of what took place?
· Have government officials, educators and clergy taken steps to assure respect for differences is a core value in the community?