West Orange condemns rise in antisemitism, provides message of solidarity

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The township of West Orange released the following statement earlier this week condemning the recent rise in antisemitism in our nation and expressing solidarity with the Jewish community:

“We wish to be clear: Antisemitism in all its forms is anathema to our beliefs and the values of our town.

“One of the greatest strengths of the town of West Orange is our diversity and our commitment to creating an inclusive township that celebrates, values and affirms our rich diversity. When acts of hatred, bigotry or bias occur, we understand that it is an affront to everything we stand for. 

“In the month of May 2021, there was a terrible and sudden increase in antisemitic violence in America. Jews and Jewish institutions in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere in our country suffered from violence, vandalism and hate. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the FBI and NYPD have opened investigations into more than two dozen new antisemitic hate crimes in New York alone. We know that the FBI Uniform Crime Report in 2019 documented that more than 60 percent of anti-religious hate crimes in America were committed against Jews. 

“The U.S. State Department defines antisemitism as any words and actions which blame Jews as a people or group for being generally responsible for real or perceived ills in society or the world, noting that it often employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits. 

“At our next Township Council meeting we will raise a formal proclamation in this regard. In the meantime, we ask all of our citizens to join us in the following assertions.

  • We condemn antisemitism in all its forms, without exception; and,
  • We call for all local, state and federal authorities to investigate and prosecute all criminal instances of antisemitism whenever they occur; and, 
  • We encourage our leaders, educators, community organizations, houses of worship and all citizens to work to understand and oppose antisemitism; and
  • We remain forever committed to being a peaceful and vibrant community, where all forms of diversity are embraced as a strength.

“As we continue to confront the realities of everyday injustice experienced by members of the Jewish community and other marginalized groups, let us continue to come together as a community to support, and affirm those impacted by oppression. To that end, the West Orange Human Relations Commission can be a resource to you in town. To learn more, visit http://westorange.org/wohrc.”

The statement was signed by Mayor Robert Parisi, Council President Cindy Matute-Brown, Councilwoman Sue McCartney, Councilwoman Michelle Casalino, Councilman Bill Rutherford, Councilwoman Tammy Williams, Human Relations Commission Chairperson David Jones and the Human Relations Commission​ as an entity.