Dismay at the hate speech on sidewalk

BRATTLEBORO — We are writing to express our dismay at the hateful and threatening message scrawled on the sidewalk in Brattleboro. The death threat, written in German, was a direct and clear connection to Nazism and the Holocaust.

While the police hopes it was just a sick joke, it certainly coincides with a rise in anti-Semitic language and explicitly threatening actions across the United States in the past year - notably in Charlottesville and, as we see now, even here.

This is a renewed rearing of the same dangerous head across many centuries - a constant pattern of blaming and hating Jews in order to scapegoat an easy target for varied political or personally misguided reasons.

This is a form of hate speech, not free speech, and threatening to all members of this community, both Jewish and not Jewish.

What should we do and what can we do to become a more welcoming, safer community? How can we come together, educate ourselves, and respond in creative ways to insure that a nasty piece of graffiti never becomes a physical threat, to Jews or to any other minority member of our community?

We all need to be increasingly active, broadly supportive, and kind in the year ahead.

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