Gopal, Houghtaling, Downey Decry Increase in Anti-Semitic Incidents

03/01/18 | News

OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey call on all New Jersey residents to unite against the rash of anti-Semitic incidents that have scourged the state.

In 2017, there were 208 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey – a 32 percent increase from 2016 and the third most of any state in the nation, according an Anti-Defamation League report published Feb. 27.

Incidents include 110 reports of vandalism, 95 reports of harassment and three reported incidents of physical assaults. Overall, New Jersey accounted for one-tenth of the 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents reported across the country last year and saw incidents in nearly every county of the state.

“This rash of bigotry and hatred cannot and will not be tolerated in New Jersey,” said Sen. Gopal.

“As residents, as neighbors, as human beings, we must do better. Our country is inundated with messages of hate and ignorance each and every day. We cannot allow these messages to push us to acts of vandalism, harassment and violence. It is up to us to denounce this disgusting behavior, to rise above the hate and learn to embrace and accept our neighbors, regardless of religion or culture.”

“To characterize these incidents as unacceptable is an understatement,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“I call on each and every New Jerseyan to do better. We must not accept the rise of anti-Semitism in our great state as the new normal. Rather, we must overcome the hate and redefine the ways in which we treat one another. We each have the power to make the choice, to choose how we treat one another and in making that choice, create a safer, more tolerant New Jersey.”

“To see such a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in our state is absolutely heartbreaking and underscores the fact that now, more than ever, we must come together as a state,” Assemblywoman Downey said.

“We must learn to look past our differences, to find value in what makes us unique – be it our religion, our ethnicity, our appearance – and base our actions and our beliefs on a foundation of acceptance rather than ignorance. New Jersey must set a better example for the nation during this tumultuous time.”

New Jersey has a population of approximately 545,450 Jewish residents, according to a 2016 data from the Jewish Virtual Library.