Manalapan Rabbi: ‘Edison Council President Should Resign for Racism and Apparent Cover-Up’

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Madam Council President:

I was troubled to see your Facebook posts which denigrated Catholics, Jews, and Asian-Americans (attached).  Initially, you claimed you were hacked.  However shortly after this claim, you posted an apology which you quickly removed.  In an interview with nj.com, you seemed to admit that you in fact “shared” the offensive posts.[1]  Furthermore, this is not the first time you posted controversial material on social media (attached).

As Asian-Americans and Jewish-Americans experience increased violence and hate during this pandemic, I was astounded by your public statement during May 13th’s council meeting lashing out at your victims.[2]  Furthermore, I was shocked that you attempted to stifle Councilman Brescher’s ability to denounce this hate speech at the meeting.[3]

It is unconscionable that you refuse to take responsibility for targeting Jews and Asian-Americans during this volatile time.  This story has made national headlines[4] and is an embarrassment to the good people of Edison.     

I was heartened that the following leaders and individuals have publicly condemned your statements: Simon Wiesenthal CenterNAACP Metuchen Edison NJSouth Asian American Caucus, NJDSCCouncil Vice President Sam JoshiAssemblyman Robert KarabinchakAssemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex), and Senator Vin Gopal

As a rabbi, it is my duty to add my name to the above list to denounce your racism and anti-Semitism.  Madam Council President, you have demonstrated bigoted sentiments towards your constituents, attempted to cover up your wrongdoing, and attacked your victims. It is clear that you can no longer serve ALL the people of Edison.  I encourage you to do the honorable thing and resign.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Dr. David Rosenthal

See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdlZDEBC-c


[1] “”Let us not forget the good people of Edison, either, who are doing their part. While representing this town with one of New Jersey’s largest Asian communities, at a moment when anti-Asian sentiment is dangerously on the rise due to the coronavirus, their council president re-shared this meme on Facebook: “We don’t eat Chinese food any more okay black people if you with me repost.” Joyce Ship-Freeman promises it had “nothing at all to do with COVID.” She was simply upset, she told us, after seeing a CNN story about a McDonald’s in China, banning black people.What does this have to do with boycotting every Chinese restaurant owner around here, as small businesses struggle to stay afloat? “The Asians and everybody, they all around the world and they all go together,” she told us. “What happens in their country happens here too. That’s how the blacks feel about it.” There’re more, so hear her out: After first conceding that “Out of frustration, yes, I shared the meme,” and assuring us she’s since deleted the post and apologized, she said: “I don’t even think I shared it, because somebody’s been hacking my Facebook since January. I just took the blame for it to let it die.” Right. Is she one of the crazies? You decide.””

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0rWzwRQBqw

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSQWN67oLG4&feature=youtu.be

[4] https://www.politico.com/newsletters/new-jersey-playbook/2020/05/07/murphy-tops-christies-polling-peak-489142

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