Speaker Gordon Johnson calls on Bergen County, NJ prosecutor to investigate September incident against Rep. Josh Gottheimer as hate crime.
New Jersey’s Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore Gordon Johnson has urged the Bergen County, New Jersey prosecutor to investigate as a potential hate crime a September 2021 incident in which a protestor screamed “Jew” at Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), the New Jersey Globe reported.
Speaking at Rutgers University in December, Gottheimer alleged that a protestor from the Working Families Party (WFP) yelled the antisemitic slur at him while he was attending a Glen Rock event with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. Raimundo later confirmed Gottheimer claim.
The Working Families Party has denied that the incident took place. Speaking last month, the party’s state director, Sue Altman, said that they had reviewed the footage and interviewed participants.
“To be absolutely clear, if that ever happened at a WFP event, the person would have been rebuked instantly and asked to leave,” Altman said. “However, we do not believe Gottheimer’s explosive allegation ever occurred.”
Johnson blasted the party for refusing to conduct a proper investigation.
“To deny hate speech is to give bigots and racists power — whether against people of color or members of any faith,” Johnson told the news outlet. “By denying the hate speech against Congressman Gottheimer ever occurred, despite the courageous confirmation by a member of President Biden’s cabinet, the WFP leadership and their allies truly empower haters.”
“The solution here is simple: Acknowledge the hateful incident and work together to prevent more acts like this from happening again in New Jersey,” Johnson said.
Altman described her party as a “political home for Jews and people of all faiths.”
“It is for that reason that spurious and false allegations of antisemitism are extremely dangerous. They cheapen real ones,” she added.
Johnson called on Bergen Country prosecutor Mark Musella to launch an investigation into “this disturbing incident of anti-Semitic bias.”
In another development, on December 16th, Israel National News reported that a swastika sticker was found on the parking lot sign of a New Jersey synagogue.
The sticker featuring a swastika and the phrase “We are everywhere” was discovered at Adath Emanu-El Synagogue in Mount Laurel, NJ police said. They believed that the sticker had been there for some time and had gone unnoticed until December.
The anti-Semitic act was denounced by Jewish community leaders and local officials, including Mount Laurel Mayor Stephen Steglik, who called it “disgusting” and said it did not represent the community, the Courier Post reported.
Adath Emanu-El said in a post on its Facebook page that “we must choose light amid the darkness.”