In an address at AG Matt Platkin’s summit at Rutgers University to discuss and condemn hate and violence across the country, Governor Phil Murphy slammed anti-Semites who have been denigrating and attacking Jews and blaming them for every ill in the world.
“I do not feel the need to repeat the statistics which those who have spoken before me have laid out. Suffice it to say we all recognize that incidents of bias in New Jersey are increasing. Those numbers cannot be interpreted any other way,” Murphy said.
“Even if we accept the notion that part of this increase can be from a greater willingness on the part of those who have been the victims of bias to step forward, that is of little solace.
“Yes, we must applaud the bravery of those who refuse to sit silently and allow others to belittle or threaten, or in the worst cases, strike out violently against an individual who has done them no harm, but by whom, for some reason they feel intimidated. For the, this may be the hardest step.
“But the recognition is that if our numbers are increasing, in part, because of this willingness to step forward, that begs the question – how many previous acts have gone unreported and how many of our fellow New Jerseyans suffered silently at the hands and mouths of their tormentors?
“For our young people, especially, given the numbers of instances of bias reported to have occurred in their schools – the one place that, outside of the home, is supposed to be the safest and most supportive – answering this question gives me chills. And I am sure it does for many of you, as well.
“And I am doubly concerned given the erosion of our national political and social dialogue. We do appear to be regressing in many cases.
“For some, the recent instances of racially motivated hate – whether it be the murder of George Floyd or the wanton slaughter last month of innocent Black supermarket shoppers in Buffalo – has elicited the exact opposite response than what it should.
“Amazingly there are those who believe that the natural response to these incidents isn’t to acknowledge hundreds of years of institutionalized racism, but to dig in their heels in ignorance to claim such issues don’t exist or, worse yet, that they are somehow the victims.
“And I am certain these individuals did not spend their weekends pondering the meaning of Juneteenth or searching their own souls to ask for forgiveness for their own hatred or spending any time to come to terms with where such enmity comes from.
“As a quick aside, the French existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre, once wrote, “The anti-Semite claims that the problems that he is facing are due to another race, another time, another event; in short, he is responsible for nothing. The anti-Semite is a man who does not hate the Jews, but since he does not feel in control of things he hates himself.”
“Now, Sartre has been debated for 70 years, but despite that these words, I think, can be broadened to include all who profess hate.
“In fact, the news showed pictures of racists espousing replacement conspiracy while marching in Tennessee to protest a Juneteenth commemoration. Again, blaming others.
The same can be said for those who continue to show their ignorance and intolerance through anti-religious bias. While the numbers show that religious bias is not limited to just one faith, I am concerned by the sustained numbers of instances of anti-Semitism.”