(JTA) — A Board of Education member in Jersey City has sparked controversy with social media comments following the shooting last week at a kosher market there.
“Where was all this faith and hope when Black homeowners were being threatened, intimidated and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the jewish community? (sic) They brazenly came on the property of Ward F Black homeowners and waved bags of money,” Joan Terrell wrote on Facebook, according to a screenshot circulating on social media.
Terrell was commenting on an article about an event attended by faith leaders and community representatives in Jersey City following the Dec. 10 attack in which two shooters killed two Orthodox Jews and a non-Jewish worker at the JC Kosher Supermarket, as well as a police officer at a nearby cemetery.
A screenshot of her comments started circulating Monday on social media. Terrell wrote that she was “speaking as a private citizen not as an elected member of the Jersey City Board of Education.”
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) December 17, 2019
Terrell seemed to imply that there was value in the shooters’ message. The post has since been taken down, according to the Hudson County View.
“Mr. Anderson and Ms. Graham went directly to the kosher supermarket,” she wrote of the shooters. “I believe they knew they would come out in body bags. 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?”
In the post, Terrell also said “6 rabbis were accused of selling body parts.” She referenced a man named Solomon Dwek, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to participating in a fraud scheme involving rabbis and the illegal sale of kidneys. Dwek was a prominent member of the Syrian Jewish community in New Jersey.
Terrell did not respond to requests from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency for comment by phone or email.
State officials believe the suspects were motivated by anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs and are probing possible ties with the Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement of African-Americans who believe they descended from the biblical Israelites. Some adherents hold anti-Semitic views.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murray and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop both called for Terrell to step down.
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.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 18, 2019
”My opinion is that she should resign,” Fulop told the Hudson County View. “That type of language has no place in our schools and no place amongst elected officials. Her comments don’t represent Jersey City or the sentiment in the community at all.”
I saw this and i’m saddened by the ignorance her comments demonstrate. Her comments don't represent Jersey City or the sentiment in the community at all. The African American community in Greenville has been nothing short of amazing over the last week helping neighbors.
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) December 17, 2019
Fulop, who is Jewish, told JTA on Friday that an influx of Orthodox Jews in recent years had created tension in the the Greenville neighborhood, which has a significant African-American community.
At times, some of the Jews “aggressively” attempted to buy homes, Fulop said, which led to resentment and complaints from some local residents, although there were no previous attacks.