On September 5, Trenton Council President Kathy McBride used the offensive language of “Jewing her down” in reference to a discussion about a personal injury settlement. On September 10, a similar comment was made by Paterson Councilman Michael Jackson when talking about a property negotiation.
Jackson quickly apologized for his remarks, and Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, as well as the city business administrator and three other city council members, strongly condemned him. In addition, several council members left the chamber in protest of the offensive phrase.
McBride and two of her colleagues, Councilwoman Robin Vaughn and Councilman George Muschal, defended the remarks as acceptable “statements of speech.” McBride finally made a public apology after nearly two weeks.
In response, the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, including Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and others issued the following statement on Wednesday, Sept. 18, regarding the anti-Semitic comments:
“Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world and right here in New Jersey. We must never accept bigotry or hatred in any form. We are calling on both the Trenton Councilman and Councilwoman to apologize immediately or resign.”