Mayor Denounces Antisemitism as Spate of Hate Roils Western Massachusetts City of Northampton
January 9, 2022
A spate of antisemitic activities in the western Massachusetts city of Northampton has raised alarm bells and drawn condemnation from local leaders.
According to a statement published by Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra on Thursday, recent weeks have seen antisemitic flyers posted around the city and hateful rhetoric and images have been used at online municipal meetings.
At Northampton Board of Health meeting late last month, for example, multiple people used bigoted language against Jews or displayed antisemitic images on Zoom, with one participant — under the screenname “JEWS WILL NOT REPLACE US” — showing three Nazi swastikas as their Zoom photo.
Another participant called the board members “unelected, rich Jewish doctors,” and a third said, “Are you willing to put people in camps? Because frankly, I think that is where this is heading.”
This last comment was a manifestation of a rising global trend of Holocaust trivialization, which has been fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In her statement, Mayor Sciarra described antisemitism as “vile, hateful, and…unwelcome in the City of Northampton,” noting it was “profoundly hurtful to our Jewish neighbors, and the fabric of our community.”
“We must speak up against the words and actions of those who sow hatred toward any group,” she added. “They are a threat to the safety and peace of our community and beyond.”