Democratic US Rep. Josh Gottheimer (New Jersey, 5th District) said hecklers shouted “Jew” and other antisemitic slurs at him as he and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo descended to Bergen County, New Jersey to promote the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” infrastructure bill last September, Gottheimer said in a speech at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
In a September 20th speech, the pair were met by roughly 100 hecklers – most of whom, Gottheimer claimed, came from the local chapter of the Working Families Party (WFP) – in Glen Rock, NJ. According to Gottheimer, who spoke about the incident for the first time on December 13th in a speech addressed to the President of Rutgers University in New Jersey, “They were going from store to store protesting and as we were going into the bakery someone from the crowd derisively screamed ‘Jew.”
“Not long ago, I held an event in my district to talk about the benefits of the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill, only to have members of the Working Families Party disrupt the event by screaming ‘Jew’ at me. What has our country come to?” Gottheimer said in his December speech.
The WFP, who endorsed progressive candidate Arati Kreibich in the primary against Gottheimer, refuted Gottheimer’s claim. Kreibich, who was among the protesters at Gottheimer’s speech, was also endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
“There is no place for antisemitism at WFP, and to be clear, if that ever happened at a WFP event, the person would have been rebuked instantly and asked to leave,” said Sue Altman, WFP’s New Jersey state director.
Raimondo, however, confirmed to The New York Post that she indeed heard the hateful slurs. “Antisemitism is wrong, reprehensible and unacceptable. I join Congressman Gottheimer in condemning these hateful attacks that have absolutely no place in our politics,” Raimondo said. InsiderNJ, which covered the protest at the time, also noted in an overview of the September 20th speech that “verbal insults were hurled at the congressman.”
Gottheimer had originally come to the Rutgers campus to voice his displeasure over a decision by the part-time faculty union at Rutgers to support internationally-recognized terrorist group Hamas during their most recent battles with the State of Israel.