Friday, February 26th | 14 Adar 5781

December 11, 2019 3:36 pm

US Jewish Groups Mourn Victims of Attack on Jersey City Kosher Supermarket, Decry Continued Rise in Antisemitism

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Police officers and local residents near the scene of the attack on a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, NJ. Photo: Reuters / Lloyd Mitchell.

US Jewish groups along with politicians from both main parties on Wednesday roundly condemned the gun attack on a kosher supermarket during the previous day’s ferocious gun battle in Jersey City that claimed the lives of a police officer and three civilians — including two members of the local Jewish community.

A statement from the American Jewish Committee’s regional office in New Jersey expressed “deepest condolences to the victims and their families.” The statement said that AJC had reached out to the small Satmar Hasidic community in Jersey City to offer support.

“We know such loss to be especially painful as we enter the holiday season and our thoughts are with them,” Rabbi David Levy — the AJC’s New Jersey regional director — said.

“This tragic event reminds us that continued vigilance is essential in this time of a disturbing rise in antisemitic incidents across the country, and here in New Jersey,” Levy said.

A statement from Agudath Israel of America, which represents part of the Orthodox community, remarked that the shooting at the kosher supermarket brought to mind “the ugly hatreds that run through the veins of evil people.”

The Agudath Israel statement continued: “We must recognize the greater context in which this outrage occurred. Jews have been targeted in city streets, in their houses of worship and online. The increase in the number of antisemitic incidents is alarming and needs to be urgently addressed.”

It concluded: “We pray that the plans of all who would do our people harm be frustrated, and that all Americans be spared any future such senseless violence.”

The Anti-Defamation League observed in its own statement that “while the investigation is ongoing and new details come to light, it is becoming more and more clear that the Jewish supermarket in Jersey City was targeted by these two individuals for violence.”

The ADL continued: “The Jewish people deserve better. The families and loved ones of those killed by these cowards deserve better.  We all deserve better.”

New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D) said that he had been “devastated to learn that the victims of yesterday’s shooting in Jersey City may have been targeted because they were Jews.”

Said Gottheimer in a statement: “It appears to confirm that violent anti-Semitism poses a growing threat across our country, and a direct threat right here in New Jersey. All Americans should be outraged that our fellow citizens could be targeted and killed simply because of their religion.”

Freshman Congressman Max Rose (D-NY) paid special tribute to the courage of late police officer Joseph Seals during Tuesday’s incident, within a broader set of comments on rising antisemitism.

“If not for the heroic sacrifice of Detective Seals and the quick intervention of law enforcement there is no telling how many more could’ve been killed,” Rose said in a statement on Wednesday.

He continued: “Public officials’ words matter and those who slyly flirt with antisemitic and anti-cop rhetoric or weaponize it for political gain are just as responsible as those who wear their hatred on their sleeve. Politicians from all corners and around the world must take a stand against racists and bigots, label them as such, and deny them access to weapons and ammunition with which to enact their terror. Until they do, we do not accept your empty thoughts and prayers.”

A newly-formed political action group that combats elected politicians on left and right who promote bigotry toward Jews asserted that the attack was “another glaring example of how Jews are being violently targeted across the United States.”

The Antisemitism Accountability Project (ASAP) — launched earlier this week with a $25 million donation from Ronald S. Lauder, chair of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) — said in a statement that it was “time to hold elected officials accountable: if you enable anti-Semitism or fail to take it seriously, we will see to it that you lose reelection.”

The ASAP statement continued: “We will see to it before other communities become memorials. Looking the other way never has — and never will — end well.”

Another newly-formed organization — “Americans Against Antisemitism”  — posted a video to Twitter on Wednesday which it said had been recorded by one of its representatives in the Jersey City neighborhood where the kosher supermarket is located.

The video captured a local woman blaming the growing Jewish population for a rise in violence in the neighborhood as she complained of “Jew shenanigans.” The video also featured two men making blatantly antisemitic statements, one of them celebrating the deaths at the kosher supermarket, and the other exclaiming, “F— the Jews!”





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