U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today spoke at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s Security and Safety Summit where he denounced the rise of anti-Semitism in the region and across the country, and also recommitted himself to standing up against hate and to fighting for resources to protect the Jewish community at home and around the globe. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents across the nation doubled between 2015 and 2018. In 2018 alone, more than 200 incidents took place in New Jersey, the third-highest in the country.
“The most horrific of these events, from Jersey City to Monsey, from Pittsburgh to Poway, have shaken us to our core. They invoke a history of violence against Jews that many of us would like to believe are relics of the past,” said Sen. Menendez. “But we cannot afford to be that naïve. For when these events take place alongside other anti-Semitic incidents—desecration of Jewish cemeteries, swastikas painted on schools, harassment of Jewish journalists, broken windows in synagogues—we remember that anti-Semitism is not dead but dormant and all-too-easily awoken by those who stoke hate.”
Last month, an anti-Semitic-fueled shooting-spree targeted the Jewish community in Jersey City and left four individuals dead, including a Jersey City police officer. Just weeks later, five individuals were stabbed at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, N.Y., while celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah.
“We will not let bigotry and violence intimidate this community. Not here, not now, not ever,” the Senator continued. “So let this be a day that we stand up against hate. That we stand up against violence. And that together, we stand up for the beautiful diversity that makes this country unique among nations, and the Jewish community that contributes so much to what makes New Jersey great.”
On Friday, Sen. Menendez attended a memorial dedication for the Tree of Life Synagogue at Temple Shalom in Succasunna, Morris County. The Tree of Life Synagogue was the site of the deadly mass shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018, which was one of the deadliest attacks on Jews in U.S. history.
Earlier this month, Sen. Menendez joined U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and State Assemblyman Gary Schaer in calling for an increase in government funding to help protect communities from targeted hate crimes and domestic terrorism.
In wake of the Jersey City attack, Sen. Menendez joined an interfaith roundtable with Governor Phil Murphy and community leaders at Temple Beth El in Jersey City. The Senator also rallied with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action in calling on Congress to pass commonsense gun safety reform measures.
After several New Jersey Jewish Community Centers were targets of bomb threats in 2017, Sen. Menendez led a rally at the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly to stand in solidarity with the community.