New Jersey state Senate cancels hearing on bill condemning antisemitism due to ‘safety’ concerns

May 15, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

The New Jersey Senate has canceled a hearing on a bill that would define antisemitism in the state due to alleged “safety and security concerns.”

The hearing, which was originally scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, was marked “canceled” on the state legislature’s website. No additional details as to why it was canceled were provided online.

“The NJ Senate cited safety and security concerns as the reason for cancelling the committee hearing that would have voted on codifying the IHRA definition of antisemitism in the state of New Jersey,” Jason M. Shames, CEO of the Jewish Federation, told Fox News Digital.

“Jewish Federation of Northern NJ is very disappointed that such a crucial piece of antisemitism legislation is not being heard. It is ironic that a bill designed to protect the rights and safety of Jews was cancelled due to concerns about keeping the community safe,” Shames added. “We look forward to working with our elected officials to pass this critical legislation in the near future and thank our community leaders and fellow organizations for their incredible partnership in mobilizing behind essential protections for Jews.”

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The hearing was canceled by the Senate “because they can’t guarantee the protection of Jews at statehouse,” according to The Forward’s Jacob Kornbluh, who first reported the cancelation.

Fox News Digital reached out to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy multiple times about the purported “safety and security concerns” that led to the cancelation of the hearing but did not receive a response.

Others also sounded off about the cancelation, expressing frustration that the bill would not be heard in committee this week.

“Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey’s office is shocked to learn that bill S1292, which proposes the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism within the state of New Jersey, will not be heard in committee due to ‘safety concerns,’” Agudath Israel of America wrote in a Monday evening post on X.

The New Jersey Senate was originally slated to take up Senate Bill 1292, which was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. James Beach, to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism in an effort to combat antisemitism in the state.

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Democratic New Jersey state Senate Majority Leader Paul Sarlo and the sponsors of the legislation in both chambers did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

“The Senate Majority office controls the Senate agenda, including committee and session meeting dates and the legislation to be considered at those times,” Republican Sen. Anthony Bucco, the minority leader of the New Jersey Senate, told Fox News Digital. “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.”

Assembly Bill A3558, which is sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Gary Schaer, was introduced as the state Senate measure’s companion legislation.

Both bills call for the creation of a public awareness campaign regarding antisemitism and appropriate $100,000 to the cause.

It is unclear whether the state Senate will reschedule a hearing or hold a vote on the bill.

Data released by the Anti Defamation League in April showed a 103% increase in antisemitic incidents — including harassment, vandalism, and assault — in New Jersey from 2022 to 2023.

The 830 recorded incidents in New Jersey in 2023, according to the data, constituted 9% of the total number of antisemitic incidents reported across the United States last year.

The New Jersey Senate is said to have cancelled a hearing slated to take place on Thursday for a bill that would define antisemitism in the state due to alleged “safety” concerns.[#item_full_content]

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