Rep. Gottheimer to Post: ‘We must not back down against antisemitism’

The New Jersey Congressman addressed the FBI announcement about a threat to synagogues in the state of New Jersey.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) (photo credit: KRISTIE BOYD/US HOUSE OFFICE OF PHOTOGRAPHY/PUBLIC DOMAIN/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
(photo credit: KRISTIE BOYD/US HOUSE OFFICE OF PHOTOGRAPHY/PUBLIC DOMAIN/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The ongoing situation in New Jersey is “deeply concerning and outrageous,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) told The Jerusalem Post following an announcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in Newark on Thursday afternoon of a potential threat to synagogues in the state.

“I've been in touch with the governor and with the FBI, as well as with local rabbis, schools and congregations, asking everyone for them to stay vigilant and make sure law enforcement is stepping up their monitoring and other patrols.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)

Gottheimer said that he was working very closely with law enforcement at the state and local level. “I've been in touch with the governor and with the FBI, as well as with local rabbis, schools and congregations, asking everyone for them to stay vigilant and make sure law enforcement is stepping up their monitoring and other patrols,” he said.

He noted that according to the Anti-Defamation League, the second-highest number of reported incidents in the country was recorded last year. “This is what happens when you are just continued to have these types of antisemitic incidents in our country,” he said.

Asked what his message to local congregants who want to go to synagogue, Gottheimer replied: “Feel safe, go. They should go to shul. I feel very confident in my conversations with local law enforcement and state law enforcement based on action being taken to protect our synagogues, that people can feel safe, but they should remain vigilant, as they always should. We must not back down against antisemitism.”

Jewish community's reaction to the FBI's announcement

Nathan Diament, Executive Director for OU Advocacy, said he was determined to work with government, federal, and local authorities, as well with New Jersey Synagogues, “to make sure everybody is safe at and that those who are antisemitic and want to disrupt our community are not going to succeed.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer speaks at a Maryland infrastructure press conference in April 2021. (credit: MDGOVPICS/CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)Rep. Josh Gottheimer speaks at a Maryland infrastructure press conference in April 2021. (credit: MDGOVPICS/CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

“Police are very aware of this threat and are very determined to thwart whatever the threat is,” said Diament. “People should feel that law enforcement is doing everything they can.”

The Secure Community Network (SCN), the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America, has been in direct contact with senior FBI leadership on Thursday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as other law enforcement agencies.

“SCN is aware that the FBI is working with law enforcement partners to actively investigate the threat and work to mitigate it,” the organization said in a statement.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents and threats of violence,” said SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters. “We are reminded that these can impact any part of our community, on any day. We are grateful for efforts of our law enforcement partners and urge the community to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity immediately.”