Mayor calls on Jersey City official to resign over Jewish comments

Terrell was commenting on an article about an event attended by faith leaders and community representatives in Jersey City following the Dec. 10 attack on a kosher supermarket.

Jersey City Board of Education member Joan Terrell-Paige, seen at a meeting on Feb. 4, 2019, was critical of the city's Hasidic community in a Facebook post. (photo credit: MICHAEL DEMPSEY/THE JERSEY JOURNAL/TNS)
Jersey City Board of Education member Joan Terrell-Paige, seen at a meeting on Feb. 4, 2019, was critical of the city's Hasidic community in a Facebook post.
(photo credit: MICHAEL DEMPSEY/THE JERSEY JOURNAL/TNS)
A Board of Education member in Jersey City has sparked controversy with social media comments following the shooting last week at a kosher market.
“Where was all this faith and hope when Black homeowners were being threatened, intimidated and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the Jewish community? (sic) They brazenly came on the property of Ward F Black homeowners and waved bags of money,” Joan Terrell wrote on Facebook, according to a screenshot circulating on social media.
Terrell was commenting on an article about an event attended by faith leaders and community representatives in Jersey City, following the December 10 attack in which two shooters killed two Orthodox Jews and a non-Jewish worker at the JC Kosher Supermarket, as well as a police officer at a nearby cemetery.
A screenshot of her comments started circulating Monday on social media. Terrell wrote that she was “speaking as a private citizen not as an elected member of the Jersey City Board of Education.”

Joan Terrell is an elected member of the Jersey City Board of Education, she says that the murders of the Jews in Jersey City may be justified. @jcps_district pic.twitter.com/H5o0yqpcnO
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) December 17, 2019
In the post, Terrell said “Six rabbis were accused of selling body parts” and seemed to imply that there was value in the shooters’ message. The post has since been taken down, according to the Hudson County View.
“Mr. Anderson and Ms. Graham went directly to the kosher supermarket,” she wrote of the shooters. “I believe they knew they would come out in body bags. What is the message they were sending? Are we brave enough to explore the answer to their message? Are we brave enough to stop the assault on the Black communities of America?”
Terrell did not respond to requests from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency for comment by phone or email.
State officials believe the suspects were motivated by antisemitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs and are probing possible ties with the Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement of African-Americans who believe they descended from the biblical Israelites. Some adherents hold antisemitic views.
The city’s mayor, Steven Fulop, called for Terrell to step down.
”My opinion is that she should resign,” he told the Hudson County View. “That type of language has no place in our schools and no place amongst elected officials. Her comments don’t represent Jersey City or the sentiment in the community at all.”

I saw this and i’m saddened by the ignorance her comments demonstrate. Her comments don't represent Jersey City or the sentiment in the community at all. The African American community in Greenville has been nothing short of amazing over the last week helping neighbors.
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) December 17, 2019
Fulop, who is Jewish, told JTA on Friday that an influx of Orthodox Jews in recent years had created tension in the Greenville neighborhood, which has a significant African-American community.
At times, some of the Jews “aggressively” attempted to buy homes, Fulop said, which led to resentment and complaints from some local residents, although there were no previous attacks.
Terrell-Paige also claimed that black renters were evicted 30 days after homes were purchased by members of the hassidic community “so that more Jewish people could move in.”
In 2017, Jersey City passed a “no-knock” law, partly in response to complaints by some homeowners in the Greenville section and other areas of the city that they were being harassed by people wanting to purchase their homes.
Terrell-Paige’s commentary also rails against Jersey City officials, apparently tying the arrival of the hassidic community to the elimination of the “Friends of Lifers” and “Second Chance” programs. She added: “Many of the community gardens tended to by black people were eliminated. One still exists and has been harassed almost daily."
People familiar with the Greenville Jewish community told JTA after the shooting that community members had gotten along well with locals.
Ron Zeitlinger/NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J./TNS and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.