Fight against Jew-hatred! SWP speaks out in New Jersey

By Joanne Kuniansky
February 20, 2023

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. — More than 1,000 people took part in an interfaith rally at Temple Ner Tamid Feb. 2 in response to the attempted firebombing of the synagogue in the early morning of Jan. 29. No one was hurt.

Just before children were due to arrive for class, a worker at the temple found broken glass and spilled gasoline at the door. A surveillance video showed a masked man pulling up in a car and hurling a Molotov cocktail at the building hours earlier.

This attack is not an isolated incident. Documented reports of harassment, vandalism and violent assaults targeting Jews reached a record high across the country in 2021, reports the Anti-Defamation League.

Nicholas Malindretos from Clifton was arrested and charged with the firebombing Feb. 1. Numerous speakers used the rally to shower praise on local cops and the FBI.

The program featured government officials, including U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez; clergy, including Imam Kevin Dawud Amin of Masjid Al Wadud of Montclair and the Rev. Thomas Korkuch of Park United Methodists; and representatives from the Montclair NAACP, Asian American and Pacific Islander Montclair, Bloomfield Pride LGBTQ and New Jersey Alliance for Immigrants.

“There are a lot of other communities who are feeling as equally bereft, as equally angry, as equally in search of hope as the Jewish community is after these events, and after every antisemitic event,” Rabbi Marc Katz of Temple Ner Tamid told participants.

Menendez and other officials called for harsher anti-hate laws — which target people for what they think and say — and for increased funding for security at places of worship through programs organized by the Department of Homeland Security.

The FBI lost no time utilizing its arrest of Malindretos to try to boost its reputation. Agent James Dennehy told the New York Times the arrest shows “our determination and dedication to protecting houses of worship.”

Lea Sherman, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New Jersey General Assembly, delivered a solidarity message to the temple the day before, pledging the party’s support against antisemitic attacks, and attended the rally.

“Jew-hatred cannot be fought by joining Washington’s drive to refurbish the reputation of the FBI — its political police — or by strengthening hate crime laws that assault constitutional freedoms that workers need,” Sherman told the Militant. “Whoever the target is today, it is working people who will be targeted tomorrow.

“Antisemites scapegoat Jews for the inequalities caused by capitalism,” Sherman said. “Our unions must speak out, organize and act to defend Jews from every antisemitic assault.

“The SWP points to the only road to eradicating Jew-hatred once and for all — organizing to overturn the system that gives rise to it,” Sherman said, “and replacing capitalist rule with a workers and farmers government.”

Joanne Kuniansky is the SWP candidate for New Jersey State Senate.