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‘Safety concerns’ stop New Jersey state senate hearing on antisemitism bill

The legislators “are not comfortable hearing bills supporting Jews at this time,” per an internal Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey email.

The senate chamber of the New Jersey State House in Trenton, N.J. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The senate chamber of the New Jersey State House in Trenton, N.J. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Intimidation has now reportedly impeded the legislative progress of a bill in the New Jersey senate seeking to codify national, state and local entities’ most widely embraced definition in guiding understanding of anti-Jewish hatred.

On Monday, the state senate canceled a Thursday hearing, when a committee was scheduled to vote on whether to advance S.B.1292, a bill to define antisemitism according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition.

An internal email from the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey read that the state senate’s leadership “has signaled that they have safety concerns and are not comfortable hearing bills supporting Jews at this time.” The communication further noted that the group had been “discouraged from gathering at the statehouse.”

The group’s CEO, Jason Shames, told Fox News that “it is ironic that a bill designed to protect the rights and safety of Jews was canceled due to concerns about keeping the community safe.” 

He said the organization looks forward to “working with our elected officials to pass this critical legislation in the near future.”

Shlomo Schorr, director of legislative affairs for Agudath Israel’s New Jersey office, said: “We urge the senate leadership to reconsider their decision and find alternative means to ensure both safety and the continuation of this important legislative process.”

Sen. James Beach, a Democrat, and Sen. Robert Singer, a Republican, sponsored the legislation, which members of the State House also introduced.

Sen. Anthony Bucco, the minority leader of the state senate, said to Fox News that “as the minority party, we were hopeful that S1292 was going to be on the agenda and were looking forward to it receiving a vote on Thursday. Unfortunately, that does not look like it will be the case.”

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