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Civil rights groups join forces to fight hate in NJ

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 18:25:13-05

TRENTON, NJ — Two of the most prominent civil rights groups in the nation are joining forces to fight hate. It comes in the face of rising anti-Semitism, including hate-filled attacks in New Jersey and New York, and offensive comments from some officials.

"To the Jewish community in New Jersey, I want you to know that the NAACP stands with you in this challenging time," NAACP New Jersey President Richard Smith said.

After violent attacks, including a stabbing inside a Monsey home and a deadly case of domestic terrorism in Jersey City, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP held a joint press conference Thursday to condemn the attacks and the words of two now-suspended New Jersey NAACP leaders, Jeffrey Dye and James Harris.

"I unequivocally condemn the anti-Semitic remarks," said Smith. "The stereotyping and scapegoating of Jews that we see in anti-Semitism is all-too-familiar and connected to the racism that we confront."

In February, both groups will bring anti-bias education to Christian, Jewish and Muslim houses of worship. They also want to educate elected officials and they pledged to stand united against any future spates of hate.

"There is no question that the last few months, there have been some of the most difficult times for the Jewish community in our region," said ADL NY/NJ Regional Director Evan Bernstein.

Anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey are up. There were 200 incidents in 2018 alone, the third highest rate in the nation.

"In order to truly eradicate anti-Semitism and racism once and for all, we must be willing to engage in meaningful dialogue about the way in which anti-Semitism and racism function," said Bernstein.