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Americans must stand against bigotry

It must be made clear that such behavior is unacceptable

We know no one in our area who reacted to the attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue a year ago with anything other than sorrow and anger. We doubt that you know anyone with a different opinion, either.

But a microscopically tiny number of people viewed the assault, in which 11 worshippers were murdered, as a model, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

About a dozen murderous bigots have been arrested for plotting, threatening or carrying out anti-Semitic attacks since the Pittsburgh assault, according to the league. Among the attacks was one in April, in which a man is charged with killing one person and wounding three others in a shooting spree at a synagogue in Poway, California.

Active, vicious anti-Semitism is increasing, say the league and some federal law enforcement agencies. In addition to the Poway shootings, incidents have included the killing of an elderly man outside a Miami synagogue and fire bombings of Jewish institutions in three states.

A total of 780 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the United States during the first six months of this year, according to the league.

What on earth is behind the resurgence of active anti-Semitism? Like other forms of bigotry, hatred of Jews has always existed. Now, for some reason, those with that belief seem to feel emboldened.

Any who step across the line between anti-Semitic beliefs and acting violently upon them ought to be apprehended swiftly and punished severely, of course. Let us hope and pray law enforcement authorities can stay one or two steps ahead of such brutes.

At the same time, the rest of us have a role to play. It is in making it clear that bigotry — regardless of its targets — is not acceptable to the overwhelming majority of Americans. Perhaps if enough of the rest of us make that clear, the bigots will crawl back under the rocks where they belong.