TAB Editorial: The right decision
Wed Sep 19, 2007, 12:00 AM EDT

Newton - For years, a sign hung in the window of the Executive Office at City Hall proudly broadcasting one of the priorities of Mayor David Cohen’s administration: Newton is a place where respect for individual and group differences is actively encouraged, and where there is “No Place for Hate.”

The city was one of the earlier communities in the state to receive certification from the Anti-Defamation League declaring it a No Place for Hate community. And, with the Human Rights Commission’s vote last week and Cohen’s subsequent decision yesterday, Newton becomes one of the first communities to sever ties with the program.

The ADL program was initially designed to encourage municipalities to build understanding and respect for differences, and to inhibit tensions and hate crimes. Over the years, the city has held a number of programs as part of its No Place for Hate campaign, including vigils, a rally protesting anti-Semitic and antigay messages, an essay contest, lectures, movies and discussions.

In short, No Place for Hate has defined how many of us in Newton see our city.

Cohen made the right decision in opting to pull out of a program that is practically endorsing hypocrisy. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman continues to play with words when he says that the consequences of the Armenian massacre of WWI were “tantamount to genocide.” In too many instances, the media is letting him get away with his subtle distinction that allows him to sidestep directly labeling the tragedy a genocide.

But Newton — along with Watertown and Belmont — is calling Foxman on his ambiguity. Cohen said in his statement that he supports the Human Rights Commission in its insistence that the national ADL take definitive action, including endorsing a congressional resolution appropriately labeling the genocide.

The launch of the No Place for Hate program is indicative of the excellent work the ADL has done over the years. We are proud that Newton has participated in the program, and we are equally proud that our community severed ties in order to make a very important statement.

The TAB applauds Mayor Cohen and the Newton Human Rights Commission for making what was likely a very complicated and difficult decision.

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/newton/opinion/x2033921714