Domestic Terror in Jersey City

Domestic Terror  in Jersey City

JEWISH LIGHT EDITORIAL

The cold-blooded attack took six lives, including two Hasidic Jews, a police officer and the two alleged attackers. The suspects were identified as current or former members of a radical fringe group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, which has been around since the 1880s.

The sect claims to be the “authentic” descendants of the biblical Israelite tribes and is biased against modern Jews.  Until now, the group has not violently attacked mainstream Jews. But that apparently changed last week, when the attackers advanced on the JC Kosher Supermarket, heavily armed with automatic weapons.

When asked about the motive of the attackers, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said, “The evidence points toward acts of hate.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

Adding to the sad irony of the killings, the site of the shootings is “a city of Chinese grocers and Indian shopkeepers and recent college graduates, all striving for a better life in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty,” Grewal said.

Authorities said the shooters, identified as David Anderson and his girlfriend, Francine Graham, had hate sites on their computer along with vast amounts of anti-Semitic and anti-police printed material. They are also described as prime suspects in the killing of a 34-year-old livery driver in nearby Bayonne, N.J., just days before the Jersey City attack.

The kosher market gunfire, coming after targeted killings at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, Calif., as well as rising attacks on Jewish students on college campuses, are beyond shocking. Just last week four Jewish students were taunted at a fraternity at the University of Indiana. Such incidents must never be allowed to become a new normal that includes anti-Semitism anywhere in America.

To that end, President Donald Trump received praise from the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee for his executive order mandating that anti-Semitism be banned on our educational campuses. The order threatens to withhold federal money from educational institutions that fail to combat discrimination.

Discussing the issue in an op-ed piece in The New York Times, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, said that as “a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I understand the horrors of anti-Semitism,” and he said he welcomes the effort “to support and defend Jewish students in the United States.”

“For the first time,” Kushner said, “a president is making clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against discrimination based on race, color or national origin covers discrimination against Jews.”

In its reaction to Trump’s order, the ADL said it “provides valuable guidance, giving law enforcement and campus officials an important additional tool to help identify and fight this pernicious hate.”

Signing the order, Trump vowed to “crush” the scourge of anti-Semitism. In the wake of the shootings in Jersey City and the growing incidence of hatred against Jews on college campuses, that pledge and renewed attention are welcome. 

Everyone needs to do everything legally possible to stamp out such violent hostility wherever it occurs.