Officials call on Jersey City School Board member to resign amid ‘anti-Semitic’ remarks
Some New Jersey officials are calling on a Jersey City School Board member to resign after posting what they say are anti-Semitic remarks related to last week’s deadly shoot at a Jewish grocery store.
Jersey City School Board of Education trustee Joan Terrell Paige made the comments on someone else's Facebook page in response to an article about a meeting of faith and religious leaders pledging to do more to fight hate in Jersey City and to bring clashing cultures together.
In the now-removed Facebook comment, Terrell Paige wrote that the Jewish community threatened, intimidated and harassed black homeowners into selling their homes and asks of the suspects in last week's targeted attack "what is the message they were sending? "Are we brave enough to explore the answer to their message? Are we brave enough to stop the assault on the black communities of America."
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Gov. Phil Murphy are calling on Terrell Paige to resign. Critics of her comments say that it seems to imply that the victims of the Dec. 10 shooting are to blame for their own murders.
Fulop posted on Twitter, "That type of language has no place in our schools and no place amongst elected officials. Imagine she said this about any other community - what would the reaction be? The same standard should apply here.”
Murphy also chimed in on Twitter, posting, "We will not let anti-Semitism and hate go unchallenged in our communities. In light of Ms. Terrell-Paige's comments, I urge her to immediately resign from the Jersey City Board of Education."
Some say that what Terrell Paige said may have been harsh, but it doesn’t mean that she is anti-Semitic herself.
“I don't know if she's anti-Semitic, but what she said is anti-Semitic,” says Rebecca Shapiro, professor of Linguistics at CUNY.
Shapiro is Jewish and a resident of Jersey City. She teaches about race and ethnicity. She ways that she believes that Terrell Paige was not blaming the victims. But she says that the comments do more to pull Jersey City apart, rather than integrate it.
“I don't think she's blaming the victims at all … what she is saying is ‘these’ are the type of people coming into ‘our’ neighborhood. They are taking ‘our’ homes. They are shoving ‘us’ out. She's not saying they deserve to die. I didn't read that at all. She's saying they don't deserve to be here,” Shapiro says.
Others did defend Terrell Paige’s comments. One supporter calling her an activist for children. Another saying she was not hateful, but stating her perception of underlying tensions.
News 12 New Jersey was not able to reach Terrell Paige for comment on this story.