The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern over an anti-Semitic incident that targeted a Lakewood, New Jersey synagogue’s Holocaust memorial. A banner with anti-Jewish slurs was hung in front of the memorial on July 2 with the words “(((Heebs))) will not divide us.”
According to ADL’s Center on Extremism, a website included on the banner belongs to Vanguard America, a known white supremacist group that has distributed hate fliers across the county. The use of the triple parentheses – or stylized (((echo))) symbol, is also a gimmick used by white supremacists and anti-Semites to single out Jews on Twitter and other social media, which was added last year to the ADL “Hate on Display” online hate symbols database.
“Community leaders, religious clergy and elected officials must offer a full throated condemnation of this brazen anti-Semitic incident, which has left town residents feeling vulnerable,” said Joshua Cohen, ADL New Jersey Regional Director. “An attack on the Jewish community in Lakewood is an attack on the entire community.”
“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is not now a new phenomenon in New Jersey towns and cities,” Mr. Cohen added. “Our state ranked third in the nation for anti-Semitic incidents last year which shows us that we – as a community at large – must utilize our full span of resources to combat this growing problem.”
According to ADL’s Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, New Jersey suffered a total of 157 anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, representing a 14 percent increase from the 137 incidents in 2015. In the first quarter of this year, ADL’s Audit tallied 24 incidents, including nine incidents of vandalism and 15 under the harassment, threats, and events category.
ADL praised the Lakewood Township Police Department, the Ocean County Prosecutors Office and the state Attorney General, for investigating this act of hate. The Attorney General’s office has offered a reward of $10,000 for the arrest and prosecution of those responsible. Anyone with tips and information is asked to call the Bias Crime Toll Free Hotline at 1-877-277-2427.