Thursday, May 28, 2020

It’s gone too far. Even for Facebook.

But especially for Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights.

There are rampant social media accusations that the quality of life in Ocean County is “under assault” and that a group of Orthodox Jewish rabbis “who control the fate of Lakewood” is leading a “colonization” of the township.

Rise Up Ocean County, or RUOC, a self-described community group, has used Facebook in a blatantly anti-Orthodox, anti-Semitic way.

So much so that the AG and Division on Civil Rights asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg directly to help tamp down the “rising tide of hate” on the group’s social media page.

Division on Civil Rights Director Rachel Wainer Apter authored a letter to Zuckerberg noting that many of the RUOC’s Facebook posts, comments and videos promoted “incitements to violence against Orthodox Jews,” including “We need to get rid of them like Hitler did,” “when they resist, bulldoze them” and “the gang war has begun.”

In this time when the vile nature of anti-Semitism is fueled by social media, we are gratified that state leaders such as AG Gurbir and Director Wainer Apter have gone directly to Facebook’s founder and pointed out to him that the RUOC incites a message that goes against the grain of the state’s law against discrimination. Clearly, the comments on RUOC’s page suggest acts of violence based on religion.

And just because this is happening in a jurisdiction different from Bergen County, it doesn’t mean that the disease of hatred can’t spread across borders. We’ve seen in towns such as Mahwah and Toms River that there are no boundaries for ugly social media misconduct.

Now, with anti-Semitic acts seemingly on the rise across the nation and the world, we ask the state to continue its diligence in keeping the lid on this searing cauldron of hate speech.