Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

Facing Up To A Swastika: Jesup Green Event Set For Today

Longtime Westport activist Darcy Hicks writes:

Tonight at 5 p.m., on Jesup Green, we will come together to define who we are as a community, in a struggling country.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been increasing in America at an alarming rate. The Anti-Defamation League says that in 2017, anti-Semitic incidents jumped 57% over the previous year, and 2018 showed the third-highest rate of incidents on record. This year is faring no better.

Westport — as we know from last week — is not immune.

The discovery of a swastika, carved into a bathroom wall, has challenged our community. The question is how we deal with that challenge.

We need to focus not on “who?” but “how?” How did the plague of hatred in this struggling nation manage to puncture our town? Whether the perpetrator was a white nationalist (unlikely), or looking for attention (more likely), the ball is in our court.

And all Westporters are on that court, whether we want to be there or not. Our response matters.

According to Steve Ginsburg, director of ADL Connecticut — and a Westport resident — “The measure of that school, or that community, is not what happened there, but how they respond to it, and what they did to try to prepare people and prevent it from happening.”

True to that statement, Westport schools have handled the incident swiftly and expertly, with the collaboration of the Westport Police, the ADL, and the support of our elected officials.

Education is always the key. But education should not be limited to school grounds and school hours.

How much do you know about your child’s understanding of the symbol of a swastika? How do they feel when they see one? Afraid? Numb? And are there other forms of intolerance — to race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity — occurring in our kids’ lives? How can we help?

Tonight at 5 on Jesup Green, we come together as a community to learn from those who know how to begin answering these questions.

By this effort — not the hate crime — we will be measured.

(Speakers include Ginsburg; Lauren Francese, K-6 social coordinator, Westport Public Schools; Rev. John Morehouse, Unitarian Church of Westport, and Conor Pfeifer, Triangle Community Center. For more information, click here.)

Confronting Hatred

To no one’s surprise, the story about the #WhiteLivesMatter flyers found in Westport has moved beyond our borders.

But even the most glass-is-half-empty among us might be surprised at the virulence that’s lurking in cyberspace.

AR15.comAr15.com — a gun-lovers’ site — reprinted a Stamford Advocate article about the incident. It elicited only a few comments. One reader suggested Westport needed “more section 8 housing” to increase our diversity. Another said simply, “boo hoo faggots.”

That’s nothing, compared to DailySlave.com. Click on this gruesomely racist, anti-Semitic, anti-just-about-everything site only if you have a strong stomach.

The site — whose motto is “Fighting Against Total Enslavement” — titled its piece “White Hating Marxist Retards Cry About ‘#White Lives Matter’ Flyers.”

No, it’s not satire.

Here are just a few of the anonymous comments:

  • Westport needs a huge infusion of Burn this Bitch Down Burntitmore and Fergadishu blue gummed Jungle Bunnies. Let’s start a campaign to Diversify Westport! Show them what they’re missing.
  • The old saying -THERE IS NO BLACK POWER>>>>>>JEWISH POWER >>>>ILLEGAL ALIEN POWER …. only white weakness…
  • Westport is located in Fairfield County, which is the wealthiest county in the Empire and includes or included residents like Paul Newman, Henry Kissenger, William F. Buckley, David Letterman and Kathi Lee “the Jewess” Gifford. But it also includes one of the shittiest ghetto cities in the Empire as well…Bridgeport. The jews and White liberals have been trying to get Bridgeport removed from their otherwise extremely affluent county for decades. They were also unsuccessful in keeping Interstate 95 from going right through the middle of their upscale little bedroom communities. GOOD.

Other anti-Semitic comments attacked Westport’s selectmen, and claimed “the only negro I ever saw in that town was old Otis who ran the dry cleaner shop (dumb as a bag of rocks but mostly harmless).”

A

A “cartoon” posted on the Daily Slave website.

I debated with myself for quite a while about the wisdom of posting this piece. Would giving these sites publicity further embolden them, or provide some kind of credence? Am I playing right into their hateful hands?

Perhaps.

But ignoring the fact that these websites — and their readers — exist is dangerous too.

Commenters on those sites accuse Westporters of burying our heads in the sand about the real world.

No, we aren’t.

Not with #WhiteLivesMatter.

And not with you.

No More Nazi Flags

Jarret Liotta is a writer.  His essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Connecticut Magazine.  He recently completed his 1st novel.

He’s a blogger, with an incisive voice and view of the world.

He calls himself a strong advocate for free speech.

But — on the heels of an incident in Fairfield last December, when 3 masked men carrying Nazi flags and shouting obscenities tried to disrupt a public Menorah lighting — Liotta has also become a strong advocate for legislation banning the public display of the Nazi flag.

The Staples graduate has written an op-ed piece for the Minuteman.  He’s spoken with Jim Himes.

Now he’s trying to drum up broad-based support.

Liotta says:

As a writer and thinking American, I understand the value of free speech better than anyone.  At the same time, we as a society have determined that some things stretch beyond reasonable bounds of appropriateness.

We don’t allow the public display of pornography on American streets.   Why then should we tolerate the public display of a Nazi flag?  It’s a terribly potent international icon, in a class by itself for what it represents.  To me, it’s a gross aberration that an intelligent society such as our should allow it, especially in 2010.

Regarding free speech, Liotta does not understand how it deserves constitutional protection any more than a written death threat.

The events of 9/11 have prompted much less tolerance in the area of threats, regardless of the validity behind them.  Displaying a Nazi flag has an implicit threat, based on its intense history.  They don’t allow it to be displayed publicly in Germany, its country of origin.  Now, in the 21st century, in our civilized country, I see no good reason to still allow it here.

As a writer, Liotta says, he spends most of his time observing.

But when I learned about that grotesque event in Fairfield last December, I was frightened, shocked and sickened.  I think it takes some emotional passion to get one active for a cause, but I also really saw a weird illogic there — that these mutants were actually allowed to display a Nazi flag in a public park like that.  It just felt like some kind of strange mistake that somehow got overlooked — like somehow as we moved into the 21st century, someone forgot to repair this little bit of broken civil law.

Now I just feel compelled to try and help right that wrong.