Anti-Semitic attacks in New Jersey leave questions, raise worries
January 12th, 2012
09:25 PM ET

Anti-Semitic attacks in New Jersey leave questions, raise worries

By Ronni Berke, CNN

New York (CNN) - Synagogues firebombed and defaced by graffiti. Windows smashed at shops owned by Jewish merchants. Is anti-Semitism on the rise?

The FBI is investigating a rash of anti-Semitic attacks in northern New Jersey, including the attempted murder of a rabbi after incendiary devices were thrown at his home above a synagogue.

Rabbi Nosson Schuman suffered minor burns in the incident Wednesday at Beth El Synagogue in Rutherford.

It was the fourth anti-Semitic incident in the past month in Bergen County. On January 4, a Paramus synagogue was hit by an arson attack, and in December, two temples were vandalized.

No arrests have been made. "We don't know if we're looking at one person or a group of people," said Bryan Travers of the FBI's Newark division.

In November, vandals smashed windows at five stores owned by Jewish merchants in Middlesex County.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie condemned the recent synagogue attacks. "I will not stand for it, and we will summon all necessary law enforcement resources to identify and prosecute those responsible," Christie said in a statement.

The Anti-Defamation League, which catalogs anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, is urging law enforcement authorities to step up security around synagogues. It's offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved in the Bergen County attacks.

But Jewish leaders and scholars contacted by CNN could only speculate on why there is a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the Northeast.

"This year, it did go up, but I'm not ready to draw any conclusions," said Ken Jacobson, the ADL's deputy national director.

But Jacobson said he was concerned about the spike in attacks in New Jersey. "The surge of these incidents in a short period of time in New Jersey is not a conventional kind of thing," Jacobson said.

The type of incident is also alarming, he said. A rabbi attacked in his home is far more worrying than a swastika scrawled on a door. "We are watching very closely," he said.

Economic insecurity and polarization "create the kind of atmosphere where people act out," he said.

According to a November survey by the ADL, 15% of Americans hold deeply anti-Semitic views; that figure stood at 12% in the 2009 survey.

In the poll, 19% of respondents answered "probably true" to the statement: "Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street." The theme of the "miserly Jew," as personified by Shakespeare's Shylock, is common in anti-Semitism.

"There's a persistent economic theme of the Jew not just as miserly but as economically parasitical," says Derek Penslar, Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto, and author of "Shylock's Children."

In the 1930s, anti-Semitism was "visible, public and people did not try to hide it," Penslar said. "Jewish bankers were often accused of fomenting wars." Things are much better now, he added. "There seems to be a change in the United States in how Jews are accepted."

Penslar is not convinced that the economic downturn is the main cause of anti-Semitic attacks.

"Things were much worse in 2008 and 2009. I was expecting something then.

"My sense is more often than not what's happening now is related to Middle Eastern politics." Namely, the stalemate about Israel, Penslar says.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center cited FBI statistics showing an actual decrease in hate crime incidents against Jews during the most recent recession.

"I don't think there are any obvious explanations," Potok says. "It may be there is a small number of people who are attacking repeatedly, and that just says you have a few very active anti-Semites out there."

Nationwide, the FBI reported 887 such incidents in 2010, compared with 1013 in 2008.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism • Violence

soundoff (459 Responses)
  1. Take it All

    Google your history, than Google mine. Want to compare what 15M/5700yrs accomplished against the 7B balance. My recommendation, spend a little less time on this site and a little more time protecting the little you have left before we take it...And to the rest, that's right, only 15M vs 7B. Learn from us and be enriched, fight us and your offspring will likely work for us...

    January 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • pass the salt

      What the hell?? This article seemed to flush out the most moronic posts I've seen in a long time.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

    judaism is anti jesus christ plain and simple good riddence and thy end of fake jews who call themselves rabbis

    January 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • pass the salt

      I regret this glimpse into your wee brain.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      Nope! I totally disagree.
      They believe in the Prophet Moses who led them out of bondage from Egypt under the Pharaoh. You will too if your forefathers were freed from slavery and bondage. We see nothing wrong with that since you believe and worship Sarah Palin as your living virgin mary. Not only that, we have not read from you crying foul of some jew accusing you of your worship of your idol, Sarah palin? Worship whatever rocks your boat. Its white evangelicals like you that are Anti-Christ and fully support your GOP actions against the poorest amongst us.
      Since you’re a Sunday Christian, I leave you with this though as TRUE Christian by birth; The Lord said: He who oppresses the poor, show contempt for the Living God. It’s written somewhere in the Bible. Read it and change your ways towards your fellow human beings needing a little bit help. That’s the task the Lord asked you to do on his behalf and to glorify his name. The last time we checked, you’re more worried about jews than the Lord’s mission assigned to you on this earth.
      Do the Lord’s Will, buddy!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  3. SPQR

    America needs to come togehter for the same cause.

    The United States of America.

    The land of the free.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  4. F

    If the "anti-antisemitism" is on the rise, then it means that more and more people are aware what the Jews are up to, even though the media always portrays them as innocent.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • mike fischer

      umm what are the Jews up to pre-tel? I'm Jewish...am I not getting the emails for world domination? Maybe you need to be aware of your own messed up view bud.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Mashka

      You are a moron. And what are they up to?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • grouchomarxdeceased

      Hey Mike, if we do get world domination, count me in. I want to be the Minister of Wine!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Really?

      Very. Very. Very. LOW. IQ. Just like all bigots.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  5. blursd

    Judging by the overwhelming tenor of the comments on this forum it seems anti-semitism is alive and well. Half these comments could be collected then bound together and marketed as Mein Kampf II – We Didn't Get Them All.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • pass the salt

      amen to that, blursd

      January 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Mayor D

      It's the yelling and the spitting and the cursing....why all the schlepping and spitting? I don't get it. Did Jews learn there language from farm animals? Seriously, I don't know the history....

      January 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • AK

      I dunno...suspect maybe it's the same six residents of Moms basements who have nothing better to do then troll..

      January 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  6. Take it All

    Voiceinthewind, another genius. And how much money was given to Egypt/the made up Palestinians? Your oil would be triple like Europe if not for Israel. Da Jooz? Your humor. Who are you? What are you? If not for my people, you'd walk on all fours and not have a savior. Now the history moron, before typing. Palestine is/was a made up name. None of Mid East wants them/recgonize them. The only reason other Mideast countries support them, was to take the spot light off their oppressive governments. You dont like the influence, elect other officials and stop crying of your inability to impact. Look at a map. Look at the size of Israel compared the the entire Mid East. You can't see it dummy. It was sand before we turned it into life. The other governments in Mid East treat their own people like animals and you want to blame the Zionists stupid?

    January 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • JJStuart1

      Nobody wants the Palestinians, it's pretty evident they are an outcast lot from the rest of the Arabs, or they would have found a home already

      January 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Max Powers

      All names were made up at some time or the other. Israel was built with money from all over the world. The Zionists that moved there after WWII had very little of their own. Read history from several sources and you won't sound so ignorant. In any case, this has nothing to do with Palestine, it most likely has to do with Neo-Nazi's in Jersey. Those responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  7. JJStuart1

    Face it-no matter what-What G-d wants, G-d gets, G-d help us all....

    January 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  8. The Central Scrutinizer

    Jews, Christians, Muslims: Please go kill each other so the rest of us can be rid of you. Thank you advance.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      *in advance

      Oh and Jews, easy on the schlepping and spitting....cold and flu season.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • republicanwhineypoo

      amen to that

      January 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • grouchomarxdeceased

      (Bill Maher) "There are two types of people in the world, religious people and sane people".

      January 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      One good thing about Bill Maher, he's an animal lover.


      January 13, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  9. Cohen the Barbarian

    It doesn't matter what Goim say. It matters what the Jews do.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You are a barbarian.


      January 13, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  10. Cohen the Barbarian

    That's precisely is what the Second Amendment is for.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  11. Patrick A.

    Frankly, I am surprised that things like that has not escalated around the World,Jews are going around murdering scientists in front of their wives and children.I am certain some people are taking notes and eventually will retaliate against Jews around the World.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Kay

      Stop with your anti-Semitic nonsense.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • pass the salt

      Go back to your cave.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Cohen the Barbarian

      Patrik, it is perfectly fine to hate and even kill us. I have no problem with it. It is just what you do. Just don't forget that we fight back. Quite successfully so far. This is just what we do.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • grouchomarxdeceased

      Please present your evidence; your mere speculation is indicative of your bias. There are many groups who would like to see the fall of the Iranian theocracy, including the Kurds. I encourage you to do more reasearch, and contact your local physician about your terminal cranial-rectal insertion!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  12. Paula Greenleaf

    Jews like to play the victim card. It generates nice cash flows for them. Jews excel at marketing fear, guilt, and gluttony; I regularly see this at Starbucks.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Kay

      Huh??? You go to a Starbucks and, for some unknown reason, make sweeping assumptions about millions of people? What a tool.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • pass the salt

      Blimey, this story certainly flushed out the anti-semites. I'm going to go wash my hands 3 times.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Cohen the Barbarian

      We took over the world not because we're that smart, but because you're that stupid.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Bill

      What an ugly reply. Are your brave enough to let me dissect your life? Can I expose your foibles and detail the ten trillion ways you annoy your co-workers? Let me list your insecurities for public examination and place you in the cross hairs of your own sanctimony. Karma is a bad bad thing.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Mashka

      Paula, you sound so bitter, sad and nasty. I hope you don't spread this hate to your children. You are a sorry human being

      January 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Really?

      Paula Greenleaf – trust me, you don't know any Jews. And, you're no longer allowed in Starbucks. You're a lunatic. So many psychos posting on this page. How do you become something like this? You're reprehensible. Go join the Taliban.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Cohen the Barbarian, you posted "We took over the world not because we're that smart, but because you're that stupid."

      Answer: You'll be singing a different tune when the Kenites that hide behind your ranks, kick you to the curb.


      January 13, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  13. Take it All

    AhhPures, another genius on this forum. Have you checked your own religion and the wars created. Are ALL of your people living in peace around the world? I think not – ever heard of the Crusades? Well, they're alive and well in 2012. A bunch of A-Hos? What's your point? Understand the issues before, before opening your mouth/typing. You konw nothing of history, yours or mine.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  14. Voiceinthewind

    What goes around comes around. Keep killing Iraian Scientst and keep stealing Palestinian land and keep killing innocent people in both places and other places then get ready for more of the same. I do not condone violence but as the saying goes live by the sword, die by the sword. You get what you give and people are tired of Da Jooz with thier killing and plundering of Palestine and killing of people. Sooner or later there will be hell to pay and it is probably going to get worse because Da Zionist Jooz just keep making more enemies each day and with enemies comes retribution for deeds done.
    This is a natural response to violence. America is also tired of supporting Da Zionist Jooz to the tune of one half billion dollars a year and giving them welfare when we have our welfare money and laws toughened while sending all this money to them. This will all come to and end oneday, it is only a matter of time.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      Another one the FBI needs to investigate.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • John P

      Seems someone wants the United States to become then next Germany of the 1930s and early 40s.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Elchino


      January 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Kay

      You seem to be confusing Israelis with Jews.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Bill

      Your ignorance of the motivations which underpin Israeli security concerns is typical of most Americans, but why should anything other than idiocy be expected from a nation which is rushing headlong into political obsolescence?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Sister golden hair

      No, correction...the American people are tired of sending money to the palestinans and arabs, especially Pakistan. We should have cut off those blood suckers years ago since they harbor terrorist. Go back to your mud house idiot.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Max Powers

      Kay, thank you for that. A diverse group of Jewish people raised money so I could participate in the peaceful resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Jews, Israeli's, and Zionists, all different folks. I'm against anti-Semitism and against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The crimes in New Jersey are completely unacceptable.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • steven

      Yep, a few suspects on here.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  15. Take it All

    Stan, I imagine you know nothing of AIPAC, it's policies, economic formenting, Mid East influence, history etc. Last time I checked, Haliburton/Blackwater/Cheney/Bush/Rove/Prince etc aren't Jewish and love their fat wallets enriched via the wars. Your displayed ignorance is a wonderful read. You like to join the masses and get a good rise, try doing it better understand the issues.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Stan

      William Kristol, Richard Perle, Ari Fleischer, Ariel Sharon, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, David Frum to name a few

      January 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  16. AhhPures

    There are a lot of Muslims in New Jersey. Are the Jews and the Muslims trying to turn Jersey into Jerusalem? When are you people going to live in peace? Probably never, what a bunch of a-hos.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Steve Arnold

      Looks like you've got it all figured out, detective.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      I certainly hope the FBI tracked you and has you on their list.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Kay

      I love it. You make an intelligent comment...and get attacked for it. And these people think that "Jews" are the problem?????

      January 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  17. bill\

    at least some investigation should be done on rival jewish Synagogues in these communities. i was told by a jewish friend that the 80's a rash of these incidents were occurring and it was later found to be inter community leadership fights. who knows!

    January 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      You were told? Yeah, that's believable. If that had actually happened it would have made national news.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  18. Stan

    What pi sses me off is The Jews at AIPAC control our foreign policy which is deeply anti american. They got us into a war with Iraq and now are pushing us into a war with Iran.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • David

      You just and internet hater, in real real life your just another sissy

      January 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Todd Willis

      GW Bush and Dick Cheney are Jewish!?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Trent

      You're wrong. American foreign policy actually controlled by a super secret organization linked to the Templar Knights who have formed an alliance with the remnants of the Mayan civilization to create a grand conspiracy to pretend the world is ending later this year, at which point they will contact the great alien warlord ZORN who will come and take over the world. The Jews are merely a diversion!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • wpqr

      Explain to me how the war in Iraq in any way benefited Israel.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      Make that a *clever* diversion and you have it right, Trent. And don't forget Elvis - his fingerprints are all over this plot.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      Another one for the FBI list.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Stan

      Saddam fired scud missiles at them

      January 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Stan

      William Kristol, Richard Perle, Ari Fleischer, Ariel Sharon, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, David Frum

      January 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • grouchomarxdeceased

      Gee, I did not know Dick Cheney was Jewish! Did you know that the back of the one dollar bill is a Masonic Symbol? Who controls?

      January 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • blue star

      @ Paulwisc - you are a pathetic hopeless moron. You work so toolishly on this forum, you make it disgusting. You make me nauseated to even think that 50% of me comes from your ancestors

      January 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  19. The Phist

    You can't break into someone's house or beat the hell out of another man anymore without it being referred to as a hate crime. No. Kick another dude's junk in so hard he can taste his own chowder and suddenly you're a racist or you hate muslims. This is what the world has come to. What happened to the good old days when you could just have a nice, clean fist-fight and go drink beer afterward? Long gone.

    January 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Kay

      Uh...those days never existed.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • pass the salt

      Oh yeah... them's was the good old days.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • The Phist

      Uh, yes, they did. You must be a 1990's baby. That would explain the stupidity.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  20. countrycook


    January 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Blob

      My money is on a Christian. Zombie worshippers are the most hateful of them all.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • abraham

      That's the exact declination of prejudice.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Keksi

      Muslims dont attack Jews usually,I would say more likely Nazi or another conflict between Jews.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

January 2012