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Thank you to Great Barrington Selectboard Chair Stephen Bannon and Vice Chair Leigh Davis for their words and leadership regarding a recent protest

As Steve Bannon said, protesting American foreign policy in front of Town Hall is a right; assigning acts of genocide based on hearsay to a business 5,000 miles away from the conflict that sells coffee is, in fact, antisemitism.

To the editor:

In the wake of the genocide that resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews during World War II, the English conservative philosopher Edmund Burke was often cited for his words “The only things necessary for evil to triumph in the world is that good men do nothing.”

This week in Great Barrington, we experienced the opposite as good people spoke up against injustice.

First were the brave collection of people who gathered in front of our Town Hall to exercise their rights of free speech to protest U.S. policies that support Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s war killing Palestinian men, women, and children in the effort to destroy Hamas terrorists.

But then many of these people took a wrong turn to direct their anger at a Jewish-owned business, decrying them with words literally dripping in blood as supporting genocide.

Those of you who are not Jewish (and I know some of the protesters were Jewish) may have a hard time appreciating the imagery that singling out a Jewish-owned business conjures. The streets of Nazi Germany. The pogroms that wiped out Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Europe. Bombing of businesses targeted for the ethnicity of the owners. All of those come to mind, or at least to my 62-year-old Jewish mind.

Enter the brave words of Great Barrington Selectboard Chair Stephen Bannon and Vice Chair Leigh Davis, who both chose to do something.

As Steve Bannon said, protesting American foreign policy in front of Town Hall is a right; assigning acts of genocide based on hearsay to a business 5,000 miles away from the conflict that sells coffee is, in fact, antisemitism.

Stephen Bannon and Leigh Davis did not have to say anything. But they chose to do something. I am grateful for their courage and their words as town leaders.

Erik Bruun
Great Barrington

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