Enough is Enough

Enough is Enough

August 29, 1999 - The New York Times
Also printed in The Houston Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner and The St. Louis Dispatch

Click here to open a PDF version of Enough is Enough

Hatred is spreading–with fatal consequences.

It struck in Illinois and Indiana over Independence Day weekend. African Americans, Asian Americans and Jews were the victims.

It struck again last month at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, wounding five Jews, including children, and killing a Filipino American postal worker.

True, hate groups have been active for many years– and their ideologies and teachings have inspired murders in the past. From the Oklahoma City bombing to the torching of southern black churches to the arson attacks on Sacramento synagogues, from cemetery desecrations to vile graffiti aimed at various minorities, hate has become part of the American landscape.

We must not tolerate it any longer.

What will it take to acknowledge that the United States is challenged by domestic terrorism that is tearing at the pluralistic fabric of our society? Would our elected officials respond differently if the murders were committed by foreign terrorists?

After the shocking hate crimes of the past year and a half–the dragging death of an African American in Texas, the slaying of a gay man in Wyoming, and this summer’s tragedies–Americans are fed up.

We must together declare that an attack on one is an assault on all. That was the laudable response we saw in Billings, Montana, and now in Chicago, Sacramento and Los Angeles, after hate violence occurred.

For nearly a century the American Jewish Committee has been fighting hate and promoting intergroup relations and mutual respect through education, community action and, when necessary, legislative advocacy.

Action is necessary now.

As a start, Congress must hold full-scale hearings on groups that preach hatred and glorify violence.

Law enforcement must be empowered, within constitutional limits, to monitor and infiltrate hate groups that are poisoning America, threatening Jews, African Americans and other minorities.

How many more Americans have to die before our elected representatives make fighting hate groups a national priority?

What is the death threshold that will move Congress to finally have the courage to stare down the NRA and pass firm gun control laws?

Hate groups can no longer simply be dismissed as marginal or insignificant elements in our society.

They must be fought through education, law and political will.

We must be willing to say, once and for all, enough is enough.

 

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