RELEASE: Gottheimer Joins Rally Against Antisemitism

Feb 05, 2023
Press

LIVINGSTON, NJ

Above: Gottheimer at the Rally Against Antisemitism in Livingston today.

Today, February 5, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer, a member of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, joined the Rally Against Antisemitism with Temple B’nai Abraham, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Temple Beth Shalom, Congregation Etz Chaim, the Synagogue Suburban Torah Center, and the Livingston Clergy Association.

The Rally Against Antisemitism comes following the recent threat from an individual who stole a Livingston school bus and left behind journals with a variety of threats against Jewish people.

Gottheimer was joined by NJ State Senator and former Governor Richard Codey, NJ Assemblyman John McKeon, NJ State Senator Nia Gill, Livingston Mayor Michael Vieira, Livingston Councilman Shawn Klein, Livingston Councilwoman Rosy Bagolie, Livingston Councilman Ed Meinhardt, Commissioner Pat Seabold, and the North Jersey community. 

Today’s rally was organized by Temple B’nai Abraham, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Temple Beth Shalom, Congregation Etz Chaim, Synagogue Suburban Torah Center, and Livingston Clergy Association.

“As the only Jewish member of the New Jersey congressional delegation, the spike in antisemitism, and anti-Israel sentiment, hits me and my family particularly hard — like I know it does yours. I know what it feels like to be persecuted and attacked for your religious beliefs — for proudly being Jewish. Like many of you, I also lost loved ones in our family in the shoah … and I have been on the receiving end of antisemitic attacks. So, when I see a surge in swastikas in schools and communities, what’s happening on our college campuses and on social media, a Molotov cocktail at a temple, it’s personally gut wrenching,”said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5).“I’ve been at the forefront of combating antisemitism for years now — even before coming to Congress. Speaking up and out — even against those in my own party — whenever and wherever we see it.”

Gottheimer continued, “I want you all to know that I’m committed to the fundamental premise that country should always come before party — whether it is protecting our nation’s freedoms like the one that lets all of us practice our religion freely and without fear of repercussion — or supporting Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East and our longtime ally, or working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to practice their religion freely and safely.”

Last month, in response to this ongoing crisis of antisemitism, Gottheimer led a bipartisan group of 85 Members of Congress condemning antisemitic celebrities and public figures.

Last week, Gottheimer led a group of 32 total Members of Congress in introducing a new House Resolution — H.Res.92 “Recognizing Israel as America’s legitimate and democratic ally and condemning antisemitism.” Full text of the H.Res.92 can be found here.

Gottheimer also recently introduced new bipartisan legislation — the Holocaust Education and Antisemitism Lessons (HEAL) Act — with more than 60 cosponsors. The bipartisan HEAL Act will direct the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to conduct a study on Holocaust education efforts in public schools nationwide.

Gottheimer has helped claw back more than $8 million in Nonprofit Security Grants to New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District since 2016. This federal investment provides security for houses of worship, religious schools, and community organizations that are at risk of a terrorist attack from homegrown and lone-wolf ISIS-inspired terrorists, white supremacists, and other domestic threats. 

Below: Gottheimer at the Rally Against Antisemitism in Livingston today.

Below: Gottheimer with local elected officials at the Rally Against Antisemitism in Livingston today.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. Thank you for having me here today. I’m Josh Gottheimer and I represent New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District in Congress, made up of towns in North Jersey across Passaic, Sussex, and Bergen Counties.
 
I want to thank all of you for coming together during these trying times — to unite and speak out as one voice against the dramatic rise of hate and antisemitism here in Jersey and across the country.
 
As the only Jewish member of the New Jersey congressional delegation, the spike in antisemitism, and anti-Israel sentiment, hits me and my family particularly hard — like I know it does yours. I know what it feels like to be persecuted and attacked for your religious beliefs — for proudly being Jewish. Like many of you, I also lost loved ones in our family in the shoah … and I have been on the receiving end of antisemitic attacks. So, when I see a surge in swastikas in schools and communities, what’s happening on our college campuses and on social media, a Molotov cocktail at a temple, it’s personally gut wrenching. 
 
And my heart goes out to the Rabbi and every congregant at Temple Ner Tamid.
 
That’s as real as it gets — and, unfortunately, much more emotionally stinging than a statistic.
 
Although, the numbers are brutal and eye-opening. Antisemitic incidents spiked by 25 percent in New Jersey in 2021 — the most ever recorded in New Jersey by the ADL since tracking began. Up more than 30 percent across the country.
 
That’s why I’ve been at the forefront of combating antisemitism for years now — even before coming to Congress. 
 
Speaking up and out — even against those in my own party — whenever and wherever we see it.
 
To say I was outraged by the recent firebomb attack on Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield is an understatement. This was a direct attack on New Jersey’s Jewish community – and on all religions and their freedom to practice. 
 
We must remember that it is the strength of our community and our enduring faith that will guide us through these difficult times. It’s why I visited with Rabbi Katz the day after the attack to show support for the congregation and for religious freedom. 
 
The congregation in Bloomfield is not alone in their fight against hate and antisemitism — just take a look around at one another. They will never extinguish the flame.
 
But, sadly we know last week’s attack was not an outlier in our communities.
 
We’ve seen violent attacks against Jewish people in New Jersey and New York, repeated antisemitic attacks against the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi at Rutgers, and the horrific incidents in Jersey City. 
 
In September of 2021 in Teaneck, New Jersey a man wielding a hammer broke the windows of a pediatrician’s office and drycleaners. The bloodied man confronted a mother and daughter asking if they were Jewish. And, just recently, there was a warning from the FBI of a broad threat to New Jersey synagogues back in November.
 
And a Saudi national who recently stole a school bus here in Livingston was found to have journals with a variety of threats against Jewish people.
 
In Congress and here at home, working with Mikie Sherrill, I’m proud to have helped New Jersey houses of worship, synagogues, temples, churches, mosques, and religious schools claw back more than $8 million dollars in nonprofit security grants to enhance physical security measures. 
 
I believe that this rise in antisemitism can, in part, be attributed to years of antisemitic comments from public figures, celebrities, and even in our political dialogue. Just look at Kanye West who has continued to spew antisemitic filth, promote Nazism, and praise Hitler. After comments from Kyrie Irving and Nick Fuentes — we saw someone project “Kanye is right about the Jews” onto the outside of the Jacksonville Jaguars football stadium. 
 
Last month, in response to this ongoing crisis of antisemitism, I led a bipartisan group of 85 Members of Congress condemning antisemitic celebrities and public figures. 
 
It’s critically important not just to remember the victims of the Holocaust killed by the Nazis in gas chambers and concentration camps simply for being Jews, but also because our history teaches us that we have a responsibility to confront bigotry, hatred, and intolerance wherever it can be found. 
 
I also recently introduced the bipartisan Holocaust Education and Antisemitism Lessons Act, known as the HEAL Act to require the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to conduct a study on Holocaust education efforts in public elementary and secondary schools.
 
As Elie Wiesel said: “Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger or hatred.” 
 
Just this week, following the ongoing rise in the BDS movement, and those who’ve tried to block replenishing Iron Dome or who sympathize with Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, I led a resolution condemning antisemitism and antisemitic tropes, including those masquerading as anti-Israel sentiments. It also recognized that Israel is a legitimate and key democratic ally of the United States. The U.S.-Israel relationship is key to America’s national security and our fight against terrorism. 
 
Again, no room for indifference.
 
I want you all to know that I’m committed to the fundamental premise that country should always come before party — whether it is protecting our nation’s freedoms like the one that lets all of us practice our religion freely and without fear of repercussion — or supporting Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East and our longtime ally, or working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to practice their religion freely and safely.
 
Thank you all for demonstrating what it means to live with Jersey Values.
 
I know that if we continue to come together, like we are today, and stand up to antisemitism, our best days will always be ahead of us.
 
Thank you and God bless our great country. 

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