Ocean County Jews finally speak out against Jackson anti-Semitism in powerful video (Opinion)
A new video, called “Hate Stops Here” has been released by a group called Families for Jackson Justice. The message? Jews there, as well as in adjacent towns in Ocean County like Lakewood and Toms River, are tired of being targeted for their religious practices.
In an apparent answer to videos by “Rise Up Ocean County,” a virulently anti-Semitic group and Facebook page that was finally shuttered after numerous calls for its closure by New Jersey leaders, the “Hate stops Here” video calls for an investigation into Jackson’s leadership.
After months, if not years, of alleged behind-the-scenes wrangling to curb the growth of the orthodox Jewish community in Jackson, Jackson’s mayor, council president and council vice president are called out in the video, accused of passing ordinances that target Jewish families, surveilling Jewish prayer groups in private homes and intimidating Jewish families.
I believe that these stories are merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of rampant anti-Semitism in Jackson Township and surrounding areas. Families for Jackson Justice’s video is the first step in exposing — and fighting back against — institutionalized persecution and discrimination of Jackson’s orthodox Jewish population.
As an observant Jew, I support any of Ocean County’s citizens — Jewish or not — making an effort to stem the tide of hate and anti-Semitism in Ocean County and in New Jersey as a whole. In response to the new, point-blank video, an editorial in the Asbury Park Press opines that the Families for Jackson Justice will “do far more harm than good.” And will “only add fuel to the fire of intolerance.” Could be. But look at it from their perspective: Rise-up Ocean County has had a nice, leisurely, long run under its unassailable “free speech” rights to trash Jews and all we stand for ... and we basically kept our mouths shut. It’s our turn to make noise.
The APP goes on to note that the video is using some photos of the paper's without permission, and that one of the founders of Families for Jackson justice doesn’t even live in Jackson, as if this matters. Then, of course, the piece belittles the actual mission of the group by saying ghat the video is not going help the situation.
So I gotta ask: did posting a Jewish prayer on the now-defunct Rise-up Facebook page (for derision purposes only) help? Did it do anything to quell tension in Ocean County? And now that’s it’s main man has been charged for alleged check fraud, his minions continue to “not help” the situation by posting on whatever platform will have the vile stuff they post. What else should Jews do besides “rise-up” themselves?
For those of you in the cheap seats, the stated goal of Rise Up Ocean County was preserving the environment and the natural resources of Ocean County (or some such nonsense) while employing the services of some disgruntled sleazebag shill, Jewish in name only, to feed them info that they could use to poke fun at some of our holiest and most revered prayers and customs. Yea, I’m sure that helped mitigate “over-development!”
All that said, like the Asbury Park Press, I’m not entirely convinced that this new group, Families for Jackson Justice, can make a difference. As it turns out, social media is not only a reprehensible beast, but a formidable foe. And as many of us have learned the hard way, it’s a war you’re kind of drafted into whether you like it or not. Consequently, you really can’t blame the Jewish group for trying. Regarding the Asbury Park Press’ contention that a video like this could make anti-Semitism worse in Jackson or “adding fuel to the fire,” as they wrote?
Yea, um, no.
“Rise-up” took care of that handily, pouring pretty much all the damn fuel that could have been poured onto that fire — and continues to, in all its creepy iterations.
Now, some will read this with the offhanded notion that the actions of the Jackson Township Council don’t affect them. Well, not specifically. But if discrimination like this, at the hands of an elected governing body, is allowed to happen to Jews, your group could be next. Watch it. For more information, visit familiesforjacksonjustice.com.
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