The Anti-Defamation League today expressed their concerns over public comments made by Jackson Township Council President Barry Calogero in which he urged Governor Murphy to deploy the National Guard in Ocean County, such as Lakewood, where he alleges that people are using religion as an excuse to break social distancing rules.
In a statement, ADL Vice President Evan Bernstein said, “In face of this public crisis, we share the fears that many residents in Ocean County feel for their safety and that of their loved ones. But we cannot allow this fear to embolden those who would take advantage of this moment to stir hatred and division. In this regard, we are deeply concerned by recent statements of Jackson Township Council President, Barry Calogero, suggesting that people are “hiding behind their culture and religious beliefs” to put others at risk. As we are seeing a spike in online anti-Semitism and attempts to scapegoat the Jewish community in Ocean County for Covid-19, these accusations are not only baseless – the virus has spared no religion, township or county – but also deeply offensive to a community that like everyone else is coping with the loss of life. Residents and public officials need to reject attempts at finger pointing and work together to defeat this virus that is threatening us all.”