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Attorney General: Hate Can Lead to Violence, Calls on Community to Denounce Groups that Promote Fear, Division

JERSEY CITY-This week, six people lay dead after a shootout in Jersey City that authorities are now saying was hate-based, targetting the Orthodox Jewish community here. As details continue to come to light, the motive of the attack has become clearer, even suggesting that the intended target could have been a boys Yeshiva attached to the JC Kosher Supermarket where two assailants, two Orthodox Jews, and a Latin American worker were shot to death.

Today, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal reinforced the principle that hate can lead to violence and called upon local, county and state officials to stand up and call out acts of hate.

Grewal’s public information officer Peter Aseltine said the Office of the Attorney General is taking notice of rising anti-Semitism, including Ocean County where the Orthodox Jewish population is growing and expanding into neighboring towns of Jackson and Toms River.  Aseltine mention Jackson Township by name expressing concerns over groups that use social media to stoke fear and division.

“The Attorney General is focused on rising anti-Semitism across New Jersey, including in Ocean County and Jackson. He is also focused on groups that use social media to try to stoke fear and division. We take the safety of the Jewish community seriously, and will not tolerate threats or acts of violence,” Aseltine said. “He encourage all local, county and state-wide officials to stand up and call out acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic language when they see it, and to acknowledge that hate can lead to violence.”

The Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, and Division on Civil Rights are working with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and members of the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service to address conflicts within these communities.  Those agencies have hosted two meetings to date with representatives from Jackson and Lakewood clergy, community leaders, educators, and police.

“The goal is to help these communities build their capacity to independently prevent and resolve future conflicts. We are planning two more meetings with these groups in January,” Aseltine said.

In addition, the Division on Civil Rights is currently chairing the Interagency Task Force to Combat Youth Bias, which hosted a community listening session in Toms River a few weeks ago and heard from many members of the Ocean County community. Any member of the Toms River, Jackson or Lakewood community that would like to submit feedback to the task force about how to address fear and hate and foster a community in which we love our neighbors and acknowledge that we are all, as humans, entitled to equal dignity and respect, can do so on Tuesday night at the final listening session at Trenton Central High School, or online at https://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/listening.html.

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