In our divided country and increasingly polarized community, togetherness is largely missing, both figuratively and literally. But largely doesn’t mean entirely, and that’s important to remember as we – meaning together – observe this season.
Recently I heard from some in our community regarding another egregious anti-Semitic incident. This happens a lot. But it was not referencing local incidents such as those in East Cobb or one of several Georgia candidates embracing anti-Semitism. Rather it was the Oakland A’s assistant coach making a heil Hitler salute at a baseball game, for which he at least apologized.
While the failure to equivocate these things was disturbing, it underscores exactly why we must remember that tikkun olam requires us working together as a community.
In June, after decades of effort, Georgia finally passed a hate crime bill. It was sponsored and supported with true bipartisanship and now Georgia is one of 45 states to have such a law. The bill has received support from the corporate community and through a letter jointly signed by political leaders from both parties, including former senators Max Cleland, Johnny Isakson and Sam Nunn, former governors Roy Barnes and Nathan Deal, former Attorney General Sam Olens and others.
While passing a hate crime bill doesn’t stop the hate, it’s a huge step and an important reminder that together we can make progress.
The letter referenced above closed, “Hate not only corrodes, but destroys everything it touches. It is the poison which spreads like wildfire and lays waste to everything in its wake. It divides and dissolves our nation into polar opposites. Hate harms all people of all colors, political persuasions and ages. This is not a partisan issue, it is a human one …[and] we can do better.”
Phil Rubin is immediate past board chair of ADL Southeast and the current board chair for the Center for Israel Education.