JACKSON-In a joint statement today, Republican National Committee Committee congChairwoman Ronna McDaniel, New Jersey GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt and New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer (R-Ocean/Monmouth County) denounced Facebook comments made by Jackson Township GOP County Committee Chairwoman Clara Glory and Jackson GOP Club President Todd Porter.
“We condemn hateful rhetoric in the strongest possible terms. There is no place for anti-Semitism in our party,” the joint statement said. The statement came just days after six people were killed in a targeted attack on Orthodox Jews in Jersey City.
The statement was made in light of Facebook posts made by the two Republican leaders regarding the growing Orthodox Jewish community in their own community. Jackson borders Lakewood Township which is home to the largest concentration of Orthodox Jews outside of Israel. It is approximately 60 miles from Jersey City where the anti-Jewish attack was carried out.
In an op-ed prior to the shooting entitled, “The Jackson GOP is driven by Hate” on the Lakewood Scoop a call for Glory’s resignation who also is a staffer for New Jersey Senator Ron Dancer, Vice President of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and a commissioner on the Jackson Municipal Utilities Authority was made. A day later, the Scoop called for the resignation of GOP Club President Todd Porter for similar comments he made against Orthodox Jews.
A post made on Facebook referring to Orthodox Jews read, “They are all crooks and should be deported they serve no good interest to America. People better start waking up before it’s too late.”
It was followed by a post by another user that read, “There [sic] a cult.”
Glory followed those posts with her own assessment after another user called for posters to stop stereotyping members of the Orthodox Jewish community.
“NO STEREOTYPING HERE.. FACTS ARE FACTS… THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT JACKSON RESIDENTS FEAR. AND YES IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING,” Glory wrote. The posts were made several years ago, but just recently surfaced online.
Two days later when confronted about her comments, Glory doubled down and said, “Hopefully people learn to tru[sic] facts and not believe everything they read,” Glory said. “This is a beautiful and amazing town that we love. I have no issue with anyone WHO DOESNT BREAK THE LAWS OF THE TOWN living here.”
Those laws have come into question in recent years as Agudath Israel of America feels some were developed to keep Orthodox Jews out of Jackson. AIoA is suing Jackson Township over religious discrimination regarding laws it says were put on the books solely to curb the growth of the growing Jewish community here.
Porter, who also serves on the Jackson Township Municipal MUA, on Facebook said he would, “for a free” drive through Jackson’s parks blasting Slayer to drive out Jewish families on Sundays.
The Jackson club has been plagued with resignations over what some have deemed inappropriate and sometimes anti-Semitic comments. Club officials have denied these claims, but the casualty report is growing almost daily. Several members of the town’s planning board and zoning board have resigned over anti-Semitic comments and associations with groups that have sprung up in opposition to the Orthodox Jewish community in the past two years.
Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman, III refused to comment on the posts made by his two underlings. Glory and Porter are staunch political allies of the chairman and were influential in his rise to power in the vacuum left when former Chairman George Gilmore resigned from his position. Holman’s 13 vote victory in this year’s Ocean County GOP Chairman election was due to the full support he received from the Orthodox Jewish members of the county committee. Now, some members of that committee have expressed remorse for their votes after Holman has ignored the anti-Orthodox actions by his allies in Jackson.
Recently, in opposition to growing strife within the Jackson GOP Club, Porter suggested adopting a rule that would allow him to forcibly remove club members who spoke in opposition to club’s actions. That measure was rejected by the club’s rank and file.
Two weeks ago, Jackson Township Councilman Robert Nixon, who is a defendant in two federal lawsuits and under investigation by the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice, along with others on the governing body announced his resignation from the township council. That lawsuit also names Barry Calogero, a Trump administration appointee who also serves on the Jackson Council. Calogero serves as the State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA New Jersey Farm Service Agency (FSA).
The Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General are also investigating actions by the Jackson Township Republican club concerning laws created by the township council that Orthodox Jews in the community say targeted them unfairly.
Dr. Richard Roberts, a philanthropist and one of President Donald J. Trump’s closest advisors on Jewish relations also condemned the local government for their actions.
“The Attorney General is focused on rising anti-Semitism across New Jersey, including in Ocean County and Jackson. He is also focused on groups that use social media to try to stoke fear and division. We take the safety of the Jewish community seriously, and will not tolerate threats or acts of violence,” said Peter Aseltine, spokesman for New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “We encourage all local, county and state-wide officials to stand up and call out acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic language when they see it, and to acknowledge that hate can lead to violence.”