Photo Credit: NorthJersey.com screen grab / USA
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Public Safety Director James Shea, Dec. 13 2019

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop may not be the most popular person with the New Jersey State Attorney-General’s office right now.

That’s because while the AG is remaining tight-lipped on the possible motive of the attackers who murdered a top 15-year veteran on the Jersey City police force along with three people at a kosher supermarket in the city, the mayor is being completely open with his own opinion that the attack was motivated by anti-police and anti-Semitic hatred. Fulop also says he believes the two attackers intended to do a lot more damage.

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“I feel 100 percent comfortable saying that it’s a hate crime and domestic terrorism and you know when more and more information comes out over the next few days I think it’s going to be very very apparent that had intent of murdering more than
three people. And had it not been for those officers responding immediately and pinning them inside that grocery store this would have been much worse.”

Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea agreed with the mayor.

Fulop wrote in a tweet on Friday that it is his opinion that “as more information comes out, it will become increasingly clear that the target (of last week’s domestic terrorists) was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store.”

Since the hours-long attack took place last Tuesday, Fulop has maintained a continuous flow of communication with the community via a series of tweets, offering information and support via his personal Twitter account.

“If antisemitism can exist in a place that’s accustomed to diversity it can … exist anywhere. Every moment that you don’t call it out, you’re wasting an opportunity to bring attention to it,” he said in an interview with CNN.

In one tweet he pointed out that although there was no way to know “100%” the doorway to the yeshiva was only three feet away from that of the supermarket, and it seemed the terrorist “goes in that direction 1st.”

In another tweet acknowledging the fear and sadness still gripping the Jewish community, Fulop wrote, “This is a horrible tragedy but even in so much darkness with lives lost there is some light in that without question had the bravery/quick response of the police not trapped them in the store this could have been much, much worse.

In another post, Fulop went further: “I just want to share something personal. I come from a family or holocaust survivors where 35 members of my immediate family were taken to Auschwitz and only 7 survived. The rest were put in the gas chamber,” he wrote.

“My family immigrated here because of what…this country was about – tolerance, acceptance + opportunity. That’s why I feel so strongly about calling out hate. When I first held the press conf + said we need to call this what it is hate/anti-semitism my mom called me up + said “I saw you on TV. Thank u and I’m proud of u”

From the very start, Fulop was blunt in saying the attack had all the markings of an anti-Semitic hate crime, one that met all the criteria for domestic terror.

NYC on High Alert, NYPD Protecting Jewish Sites After Jersey City Terror Attack

Without skipping a beat, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio did the same, adding, “We have to recognize that this is a crisis.” But other than deploying “hundreds” of NYPD officers to protect “crucial” Jewish community locations, De Blasio offered little else in concrete measures to address the increasing danger from antisemitism faced by New York City’s Jews.

Fulop, meanwhile, noted in a separate tweet that the FBI has created a depository web page for photos and videos with the potential to contain relevant information “relevant to the crimes our community is mourning from.” Members of the general public are asked to submit that media at: http://fbi.gov/jerseycity

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.