Congressman Josh Gottheimer issued the following statement on reports of swastikas and anti-Semitic vandalism found in northern New Jersey schools in recent weeks:
In recent weeks, swastikas and anti-Semitic vandalism have been found in multiple schools in northern New Jersey.
These incidents are entirely unacceptable and they will not be tolerated in our schools or our communities here in North Jersey. Every incident of hate-motivated graffiti or vandalism must be reported and investigated, and those responsible should be held accountable.
It is deeply concerning that these incidents have taken place just ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Unfortunately, these are part of an incredibly disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in our state, nation, and around the world. This trend requires immediate and comprehensive action. As the Anti-Defamation League has reported, anti-Semitism in the United States remained at near-historic levels last year – including a significant spike in incidents in K-12 schools over the past few years. Last year, New Jersey was ranked third in the nation in anti-Semitic incidents. That’s unacceptable.
I am fully committed to working with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the FBI, our mayors and councils, religious leaders, school administrators, and parents to ensure that instances of bias, hatred, and anti-Semitism are swiftly addressed. I hope our local school districts will use this as a teachable moment, with assemblies or classroom discussions, to remind our students that hate targeted at any group has no place here. Our children are looking to us to lead by example.