New Jersey Congressional Delegation Censures Use of ‘Jew Down’ by Local Council
JNS.org – New Jersey’s congressional delegation has condemned local council members for using antisemitic language in the past several weeks.
“Antisemitism is on the rise around the world and right here in New Jersey. We must never accept bigotry or hatred in any form,” they said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are calling on both the Trenton Councilman and Councilwoman to apologize immediately or resign.”
The delegation includes Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Tom Malinowski (D), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ).
“The use of that term is offensive, it is antisemitic, and it has no place in the public sphere, much less from a public official. These are the tropes that get used against the Jewish community that create the incipiency of antisemitic sentiment and remarks,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in response to a question at a press conference on Monday after an unrelated event. “They just have no place, and I don’t expect any public official to make such type of comments. I don’t expect any citizen to do it, and I certainly don’t expect any official to do it.”
“There is no place for antisemitism in New Jersey or anywhere in America, but especially not in our public institutions,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told the New Jersey Globe. “We must call out offensive rhetoric like this that divides our communities.”
The president of the City Council in Trenton, NJ, Kathy McBride, allegedly said during a Sept. 5 closed-door meeting that a Jewish city lawyer was able to reach a settlement at a reduced rate in a personal-injury lawsuit by being “able to wait her out and Jew her down.”
Defending McBride, City Councilwoman Robin Vaughn said the term “is a verb,” reported The Trentonian.
“I believe her comment ‘Jew down’ was more in reference to negotiating, not ‘I hate Jews,’ ” Vaughn wrote on Facebook, according to the outlet. “Inappropriate in today’s PC culture absolutely, but to ‘Jew someone down’ is a verb and is not-anti-anything or indicative of hating Jewish people.”
Councilman George Muschal told the New Jersey Globe that the expression is “just a statement of speech.”
McBride and Muschal apologized on Monday.
Last week, Councilman Michael Jackson of Paterson, NJ, used the expression “Jew us down” at a public meeting to condemn developers seeking to purchase land for less money.
Colleagues of his condemned him, saying the term is “highly insensitive,” “reprehensible” and “totally inappropriate.”
Jackson regretted the comment as a “mistake,” and that he meant it with “no malice.”
“That statement should have never been made,” he said. “I ask everyone to forgive me for my brief lack of sensitivity.”