In a statement denouncing a New Jersey man, who said that he would not work for Jews, the state’s attorney general and the director of its civil-rights division appeared to suggest that antisemitism requires Islamophobia and “other forms of bigotry” as a chaperone.
Matthew Platkin, the state’s chief prosecutor, and Sundeep Iyer, director of New Jersey’s civil-rights division, announced on Nov. 30 that the division issued a violation notice to Melquisedec Francis.
Francis stated on TaskRabbit and other platforms where people sell their services that “he would not provide services to Jewish patrons in at least three online communications in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination,” the state officials wrote. In one, Francis wrote, “I am currently not offering my services to the Jewish community.”
“There is no justification for denying services to members of the public based on antisemitism, Islamophobia or any other kind of discrimination,” Platkin stated. “We are committed to holding anyone who engages in discriminatory practices accountable.”
“As antisemitic and anti-Muslim acts of hate and bias continue to rise across our state, make no mistake: We will take enforcement action swiftly to ensure that the civil rights of all of our residents, including our Jewish and Muslim residents, are protected,” Iyer stated.
Nowhere else in the official state press release was there mention of any relevance of Islamophobia to the case of the man denying services to Jews.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Francis is a contractor in Paterson, N.J. In a post on the site, he claimed not to support Hamas nor Israel, and that he didn’t deny services to Jews.
“I was taken off the platform for saying that in order to protest the war in Gaza, and until the war in Gaza comes to a conclusion, I won’t confirm job requests from the Jewish community,” he said. He added that his being unemployed and with no means of self-subsistence “will change nothing about the atrocities of the world.”
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