The shooters in
the December 10, 2019 attack on a Jewish Community store in Jersey City
subscribed to a radical ideology, but one of them also participated in racist
social media tirades against Jews. Digital records from the alleged perpetrator
of the Monsey stabbing attack on Hanukkah 2019, show his obsession with Jews. These
facts remind us that the hateful rhetoric spewed on social media against
Hasidim in Ocean, Bergen, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties, paint a
dangerous target on the backs of identifiable Jewish people.
There are three
specific steps that public officials and political leaders can take to help
halt the spread of bigotry against Orthodox Jews and Hasidim.
1. Many elected
officials in suburban New York and New Jersey rarely if ever show up at
community events in the Hasidic Community, and when they do, it is kept secret
from the rest of the public. The clearest way to see this, is to take note that
few if any of the hundreds of community photos that those officials post on
social media showcases officials posing with Hasidim. Officials do this to
avoid backlash; which is proof that officials are aware that anti-Hasidic
bigotry is rampant at the corners of their own backyard.
2. In Ocean,
Bergen, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties there are multiple large
Facebook pages where almost all items paint Hasidim in a negative light. A
daily reader would walk away thinking that everything about Hasidim is bad and
everything wrong locally is the fault of Hasidim. When page editors run out of
local or regional items, they post about Hasidim of England, Canada or Israel.
A page concerned with over-development would not be posting items about Hasidim
protesting in Israel or Yeshiva education; all while ignoring drugs, violent
crime and high tax closer to home. But that's exactly how multiple neighborhood
should not share posts from those pages, should reject endorsements from those
groups, and should publicly condemn the administrators of those pages. “It is
our First Amendment right to write," the bigots behind those pages yell.
While it is their right to express hateful views, it is the right and
responsibility of elected officials to characterize those views for what they
are. Hopefully this will discourage upstanding people from commenting there,
and the public will instead congregate on pages where it is not about Hasidim
every day and all day on everything local or afar.
3. When people
at public hearings spew generalizations about Hasidim loaded with myths and
lies, officials need to set the record straight there and on Social Media.
OJPAC has done in-depth research and released detailed reports to set the
record straight about many myths related to Hasidic marriage rates, employment,
property tax exemptions, and house values - to name a few of the topics that
are often mentioned on the aforementioned pages. Sadly, instead of refuting
those bigoted myths, many municipalities approved ordinances based on those
inaccuracies, including regulations on park usage, no-knock policies, and the
patrols in the Jewish communities in the days following an attack cannot be
considered as taking proactive measures to tackle hatred. The same goes for
press conferences where officials condemn those antisemitic attacks but fail to
do anything substantive year-round.
The fact that
elected officials or candidates running for office in the listed counties
consistently avoid being seen with Hasidim, shows the terrifying magnitude to
which bigotry has reached. Officials who don't call out the administrators,
editors and commentators of Facebook pages that make almost everything, if not
literally everything, about Hasidim, are complicit in the anti-Semitic attacks
that those pages fuel! This is especially true for lawmakers who instead of
standing up to myths about Hasidim, approve laws that essentially target
Leaders need to
work collectively and individually to halt the real storm that is brewing - a
hailstorm of hate. We at OJPAC are ready to do whatever it is in our ability to
help facilitate proactive measures which will bring an end to this terrible
scourge. We can be contacted via email: Contact@OJPAC.Org.
Thank you for reading.