JACKSON-Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman has decided to take no action against his allies in his hometown of Jackson Township, New Jersey, a community divided by a rift between longtime residents and the ever-growing Orthodox Jewish community.
Facebook posts made by the Jackson Township Regular Republican Club President Todd Porter and Jackson GOP County Committee Chairwoman Clara Glory were condemned by national and state GOP leadership in December, but Holman has refused to call for their resignation, despite a growing sentiment in the community to do just that.
The anti-semitism within Holman’s party in Jackson was ignored by the chairman for nearly three weeks before he was coerced into making a half-hearted statement by former GOP Chairman Joseph Buckalew, according to party insiders. Holman is a staunch defender and ally of Glory. The two grew up together in the once sleepy wooded community.
Porter said on Facebook, when told that Jewish families were using public park space in the 100 square mile township, “For a fee I will head to random parks and blast Thrash Metal during daylight hours. I’m sure Slayer will keep the out of towners away.”
Porter was referring to Orthodox Jews from neighboring Lakewood Township as “out of towners”.
Jewish residents noted that Slayer is a band known for its edgy lyrics that often border on satanism and anti-Semitism. One of the band’s most popular songs entitled “Angel of Death” glorifies the horrific actions of World War II Nazi mad scientist Joseph Mengele.
Mengele performed horrific and deadly human experiments on Jews during the Holocaust and was a member of the team of doctors who selected victims to be killed in the gas chambers.
“Auschwitz, the meaning of pain. The why that I want you to die. Slow death, immense decay. Showers that cleanse you of your life,” the song lyrics read. “Forced in. Like cattle you run
Stripped of Your life’s worth. Human mice, for the Angel of Death. Four hundred thousand more to die. Angel of Death Monarch to the kingdom of the dead.”
Those lyrics would scare most Jewish families out of any park, probably most non-Jews too.
Porter’s ally in local politics, Clara Glory, who serves as Municipal Chairwoman to the Ocean County GOP said defended comments made against Jews comparing them to criminals who “should all be deported”.
Porter and Glory both serve as appointed commissioners on the town’s Municipal Utilities Authority which manages water and sewer systems in the community and each earns a public stipend for their positions.
Their comments were met with immediate condemnation and criticism from Republican party leaders at the federal and state levels.
“We condemn hateful rhetoric in the strongest possible terms,” said GOP National Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “There is no place for anti-Semitism in our party.”
State GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt and New Jersey Senator Robert Singer joined in the condemnation of Glory and Porter.
Days after the condemnation, Orthodox Jews were attacked and killed in Jersey City. This week, Jews in Monsey, New York were attacked during a Hannukah celebration, wounding 5. Security in neighboring Lakewood Township has been heightened at the request of Ocean County Sheriff Michael Matronardy and Lakewood Police Chief Gregory Meyer.
Weeks after a story about Porter and Glory’s comments broke on The Lakewood Scoop, Chairman Holman reluctantly was persuaded by County GOP Patriarch Joseph Buckelew to write his own statement.
Holman’s late response to the incident did nothing but fuel the flames of disappointment within the Orthodox community in the township.
“I have spent the past week meeting with numerous people regarding comments made on social media by certain members of the Jackson Republican organization. Some of those comments were made recently and some made long ago. My discussions included those who made the comments and those who were offended by them,” Holman said, defending Porter and Glory. “First and foremost, the OCGOP will never permit, participate in or condone anti-Semitism or any other discrimination against our fellow Americans based on their religious beliefs. I would like to echo the sentiments expressed by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt, and Senator Bob Singer. Hate has no place in our party. I am proud of the fact that our Republican Freeholders were one of the first groups to denounce hate speech on social media earlier this year. I think it is incumbent upon us as leaders to set a good example for our communities. We need to choose our words wisely, and we need to create a community for all residents to feel comfortable regardless of faith.”
Residents were anticipating Holman’s call for the resignation of Porter and Glory and their immediate removal from the Municipal Utilities Authority, neither has happened.
Porter eventually issued his own half-hearted apology for his remarks in a press release he sent to InsiderNJ saying his reference to playing music that glorifies one of the Holocaust’s most evil figures was done to help the Jewish community in town.
“A lot has been made recently over a comment I made over four years ago on social media. Social media posts are often unproductive and even more often devoid of intent – as most reading them have never met or spoken to the author,” he said. “In the past few weeks I’ve spoken with, and been willing to speak with, many people. From the County Chair of the Republican Party to members of the Jackson Republican Club that are Orthodox Jews. I’ve made it clear that the comments I made are not in any way anti-Semitic and, in fact, were meant to be supportive of them as residents of Jackson. I would like to reiterate that clarification to all Orthodox residents of Jackson.”
He said he was not offering his service, instead, was mocking those who didn’t want Jews in his town’s parks.
“I made a comment mocking those who thought we should keep any group of people out of a public park, a comment that was so absurd it couldn’t be considered anything but absurd and mocking. I presumed it would make a clear point that it was wrong to exclude anyone for any reason. I was wrong, very wrong. I fully understand how easily my words could appear to be hurtful,” Porter said. “I regret that I chose a way of expression that was so easily misconstrued. I regret that these comments affected members of the Republican Organization, especially our Orthodox members, as it did. To them I can only say that I am sorry.”
Glory has refused to issue an apology and is adamant that she owes nobody an apology for the comment she made. Glory also serves on the board of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and is the owner of Glory’s Deli & Market, a small family-owned business in town.
The anti-semitic comments made by Porter and Glory in Jackson Township caught the ire of Dr. Richard Roberts, one of President Donald J. Trump’s most prolific 2016 political campaign donors. Roberts was upset that comments made by the Republican party members, for which he is a strong supporter of went unchecked. Roberts said despite remarks made by the Republican party in Jackson Township, Orthodox Jews tend to lean Republican and generally are supporters of President Trump.
Rank and file Orthodox Jews in Jackson and Lakewood have now turned their attention to Holman, who they supported for chairman in the 2019 election and are threatening to withdraw their support for the newly elected chairman after giving him nearly unanimous support this past spring. Some are even calling for his resignation.