On Sunday morning a new set of political lawn signs appeared around town. They referenced candidates running for selectman with the phrase, “Ham & Baloney: more of the same ol’ leftovers for Weston.”
It happens that the targeted candidates are both Jewish and that these signs were often placed next to lawn signs depicting the Israeli flag. The reference to pork products, regarding two Jewish candidates, placed next to the flag of Israel, just days after Israel was attacked adds up to an impact that is antisemitic.
More broadly, we are concerned for the tenor of political discourse in our town and our nation. As a community we want to be in dialogue with each other.
We want discourse and discussions that affirms, encourages, emboldens and inspires. While we support the right of all Westonites to voice their support for issues or candidates, negative or oppositional messaging coarsens the discourse of our community.
In this community we work hard to raise awareness of how hateful words make others feel. In this case members of the Jewish community feel targeted. We would say the same regarding language that isolates and stokes fear against people of color and our Muslim community. Derogatory language towards any faith, religion or race has no place here.
We believe that human beings generally have good intentions. But sometimes even the best of intentions may have an unanticipated harmful impact. Our hope in writing this letter is to strengthen the fabric of our community and further build the culture of inclusion that so many of us value here in Weston.
Rev. Bernard R. Wilson, Senior Minister, Norfield Congregational Church
Rabbi Michael S. Friedman, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel