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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Photo by Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe.

AG asks Facebook to monitor anti-Semitic group

By Nikita Biryukov, April 05 2019 11:53 am

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Division of Civil Rights director Rachel Wainer Apter on Friday asked Facebook to monitor an anti-Semitic group promoting violence against Orthodox Jews in Ocean County.

“Far too often, we have seen how hateful comments can escalate to hateful conduct,” Grewal said.  “Our Division on Civil Rights is committed to fighting this rising tide of hate, and we’ll continue taking proactive steps to make New Jersey a more welcoming community for people of all backgrounds and faiths.”

Wainer Apter said the group, called Rise Up Ocean County, appears to have been formed in opposition to Lakewood’s growing number of Orthodox Jews and contains posts calling to “get rid of them like Hitler did.”

The letter came as Grewal’s office introduced a new set of guidelines for the investigation of bias crimes.

The new guidelines add gender, gender identity, national origin and disability status to the list of classes covered under the state’s definition of a bias incident and, among other things, requires county prosecutors notify the Attorney General’s office when pursuing bias intimidation charges.

“We are grateful to the law enforcement and community stakeholders who worked with us to ensure that these new standards address the critical issues and concerns surrounding bias incidents and their investigation by law enforcement,” Division of Criminal Justice director Veronica Allende said. “Bias incidents pose a special threat because of their capacity to traumatize victims and create tension in a community.  These standards ensure that law enforcement responds effectively and sensitively when these incidents occur.”

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