Biden Cabinet Member Backs NJ Congressman’s Charge That Progressive Hecklers Shouted ‘Jew!’ at Event
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has corroborated Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s charge that protesters affiliated with a progressive party shouted “Jew!” at him during a September event, the New York Post reported on Saturday.
Gottheimer (D-N.J.) first discussed the incident, which took place on Sept. 20 in Bergen County, during a speech at Rutgers University earlier this month.
“Not long ago, I held an event in my district to talk about the benefits of the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill, only to have members of the Working Families Party [WFP] disrupt the event by screaming ‘Jew’ at me,” he recalled. “What has our country come to?”
Gottheimer later recounted that protestors were “going from store to store … and as we were going into the bakery someone from the crowd derisively screamed ‘Jew!'”
Raimondo “couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I remember looking at her.” Most of the 100 hecklers, the representative added, came from a local WFP branch. The situation reportedly escalated to the point that Raimondo’s security team urged the pair to continue the trip in her car.
The progressive party, which is based in New York, cast doubt on Gottheimer’s account, saying, “There is no place for antisemitism at WFP, and to be clear, if that ever happened at a WFP event, the person would have been rebuked instantly and asked to leave.”
It continued, “We have reviewed footage from our protests and interviewed many, many participants in them, including Jewish WFP members. All the footage has been available to the press. We found no sign of such an outburst. No one we spoke to witnessed any antisemitic speech, and most volunteered that they’d have shut down such behavior immediately.”
Yet Raimondo, who was with Gottheimer at the time, recently confirmed to the Post that she also heard the offending remarks.
“Antisemitism is wrong, reprehensible and unacceptable,” Raimondo said. “I join Congressman Gottheimer in condemning these hateful attacks that have absolutely no place in our politics.”
The Anti-Defamation League also came to Gottheimer’s defense, saying he “spoke movingly about the threat of antisemitism facing students on campus, and we applaud him for highlighting it. If the Congressman says he was the victim of an antisemitic remark, we take him at his word.”
Last year, WFP endorsed Gottheimer’s primary opponent, Arati Kreibich, who herself attended the September protest, according to the Post.