Several Hoboken City Council members have blasted an antisemitic comment made by a member of the public at the regular council meeting Wednesday night.
At the meeting, the council was considering whether to vote on the mayor’s appointments of two new municipal judges — Benjamin Choi as the city’s next chief municipal judge, and Scott Pennington as the city’s new municipal court judge, starting this September.
The two appointments would mark the first time in the city’s history that an Asian American and African American individual held the positions.
Later in the meeting, a female resident of the city, Melissa Blanco, who is not an elected official, got up to complain. She said she didn’t see why Fazio wouldn’t be reappointed.
But then her comment took a turn.
“It’s about as diverse as all the people that have been plucked out of synagogues and all the synagogues that run the city of Hoboken,” the resident said, although only one synagogue remains in Hoboken and only two of the city’s elected officials, including nine council members, are Jewish.
Jewish watchdog organization StopAntisemitism was quick to denounce Blanco’s antisemitic rhetoric to their Twitter audience.
The remarks echoed antisemitic remarks made nationally that falsely put the blame on Jewish people for various ills. Such comments curry hate while ignoring the history of discrimination that kept Jewish immigrants to America from working in many industries.
5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, who is Jewish, blasted the remark during the meeting on Wednesday. The next day, Councilwoman Emily Jabbour and Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher (who is Jewish but was not at the meeting) sent comments decrying the remark, as did council candidate Marla Decker, who is running for Fisher’s seat.
Cohen said Wednesday, “Sadly tonight antisemitic sentiments were expressed in the public room. There is no place in our community for antisemitism. It does not belong in Hoboken.”
The council’s other Jewish member, Tiffanie Fisher, said, “I’m angered and saddened by the antisemitic remarks made by a Hoboken neighbor — even worse, by someone I know, which makes it feel even more personal. These comments in no way reflect what I know is best about Hoboken — a place where we deeply respect and embrace the diversity of all members of our community.”