Editorial: The Naperville Sun: 4/26/02

We must condemn acts of hatred

  Rabbi Jeffrey Sultar of Congregation Beth Shalom made some very valid points about this past weekend's despicable incident in which a Naperville family returned home to find a swastika painted on their lawn.

   "I think it is a helpful reminder for everyone that we don't live in a bubble and that hatred has a home in Naperville as much as anywhere else," Sultar said.

   "There is a responsibility for everyone to be mindful and vigilant of that. Anti-Semitism is never just against Jews, but it's an attack against the values that most people hold dear and sacred."

   Naperville Police Chief David Dial said the incident, in which a white swastika was painted on the lawn of a Jewish family, is being considered a hate crime. We also note the crime took place on Adolf Hitler's birthday and it is reasonable to think this was not a coincidence.

   We agree with Sultar that hatred does, indeed, have a home in Naperville as it does everywhere else, though we wish this were not so.

   Frankly, at times like this the concept of living in a bubble can seem pretty appealing, though once that bubble is filled with human beings it still might not become Camelot.

   Still, Naperville residents by and large are highly educated, thoughtful and intelligent people. As parents, they strive to inculcate their children with sound values, and this must include tolerance for other faiths, nationalities and races.

   Again, we agree with Sultar when he says anti-Semitism is not just against Jews, but constitutes "an attack against the values that most people hold dear and sacred."

   It is important that people realize this, and that they consider even a minor crime that has a hate component to it aimed at a specific victim an attack on society and its values.

   We cannot stop acts such as this from happening in Naperville, but we can unite as a city to condemn them, and make sure all understand the force we want that condemnation to have.

   We urge anyone with any information about this crime to call the Naperville Police Department at (630) 420-6666.

   In the popular parlance of today, there must be "zero tolerance" for hate crimes.