For the last two editions, the Jewish Journal has run an investigative series on anti-Semitism in Greater Boston. Our series concludes this week, with front-page reporting on why hate crimes against Jews have had a low rate of prosecution and conviction, and the steps law enforcement might take to further train officers to identity hate crimes.
Anti-Semitism is currently the greatest threat facing the Jewish community in Boston and across America. Each week seems to bring a new attack that seemed implausible just a few short years ago. Just this past weekend, Jews were attacked on the streets of New York and swastikas were drawn at the state’s flagship university in Amherst. In recent weeks, swastikas were also found on academic buildings at Smith College. Just one year after 11 congregants were murdered in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the threats continue: this week a man was arrested for plotting to blow up a Colorado temple. That’s in addition to at least 12 plots by white supremacists against the Jewish community that the FBI thwarted over the last year.
We cannot stop hatred ourselves; it must be a communal effort. As representatives of the Jewish community, top administrators from local Jewish charities and institutions must continue to meet with law enforcement and elected officials to express the impact it has on our families, and communal life.
Members of the community can play a major role as well. While Governor Charlie Baker, other elected officials, and law enforcement have stood in solidarity after anti-Semitic incidents, the public must urge them to continue to be even more vigilant and thorough when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Solidarity rallies are welcomed, but when a person is convicted of a hate crime, and handed a prison sentence, that prosecution sends a strong message that these attacks will not be tolerated.