JACKSON TOWNSHIP-An advertising blitz against Jackson Township elected officials and Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank “Frankie” Holman, III set mobile phones buzzing Wednesday night around 6:30 pm. Estimates report that between 30,000 to 40,000 people from Monmouth County down to Central Ocean County received the messages.
“See Jackson Township’s targeted harassment of Orthodox Jews in our video hitting cable tv tomorrow,” the text read. “Please join our effort.”
The text directed residents to visit a website, FamiliesForJacksonJustice.com. Upon arrival at the website, a YouTube video pops up with a one minute political commercial entitled, “Hate Stops Here”.
The video details the Jackson Township council’s reaction to an influx of Orthodox Jews moving into their community from neighboring Lakewood Township, Brooklyn and other locations around the country. In one scene in the video, Jackson Township Mayor Michael Reina is caught on audio saying if it was churches instead of synagogues, the town wouldn’t be fighting.
“If these were churches, would we be fighting them?” Asked former township attorney George Gilmore.
“Absolutely not,” Reina said.
The commercial also detailed a political attack by Reina and Councilman Barry Calogero, head of the USDA Farm Program in New Jersey, and a Donald Trump appointee against Republican Councilmember Ken Bressi, a decorated Vietnam Marine Corps Veteran. Bressi, in his deposition in one of the township’s many civil rights lawsuits, admitted that he felt Reina, Calogero and other members of the council were engaging in anti-Semitic behavior. In return, the mayor and council stripped Bressi of his volunteer positions on several municipal boards, including the township planning board.
The ad came weeks after GOP Chairman Frank Holman met with Dr. Roberts at his Lakewood home to try to mediate a solution to the problems between the township government and Orthodox Jewish families living in the town and after a township-wide social survey was conducted two weeks ago.
The website criticizes Holman, Reina and Calogero for their actions against the Jewish population.
Some Jackson residents expressed frustration over the text as an invasion of their privacy. Others said the township officials are just doing their job to ensure the fabric of the community is kept intact as the growth of the Orthodox community in town continues.
A large advertising buy on local cable television providers and on Facebook has been confirmed, but it is not yet fully known exactly who is behind the campaign. The paid-for message in the video cites “Families For Jackson Justice”, based out of shared office space facility in Freehold Township. Democrats in New Jersey have refused to comment on the campaign. It is suspected that the campaign is being run by a wealthy Republican donor and a former advisor to President Donald J. Trump, Dr. Richard Roberts. Roberts has not claimed responsibility for the campaign.
We have reached out to county and state Republican leaders to get their opinions on the campaign. Check back later for updates on this story.