Gov. Phil Murphy today scolded city council members in Paterson and Trenton for referring to a variation of “Jew them down” during meetings as a metaphor for negotiating a price.
“Make no mistake: that phrase is an anti-Semitic slur, period. And to hear current elected officials use an anti-Semitic trope so willingly, and seemingly without recognizing the history behind its hateful meaning, is hurtful and beyond disappointing,” Murphy said. “It shows how much further we still have to go.”
In the past two weeks, two local officials have made the anti-Semitic slurs during council meetings.
Paterson Councilman Michael Jackson said he appreciated a developer was not trying to “Jew us down” on the price of a during a major redevelopment project. Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride was caught on tape in a closed-door council meeting saying that a lawyers were able to “Jew her down” in referring to a woman who had settled a lawsuit with the city.
Two other Trenton councilmembers, Robin Vaughn and George Muschal, have defended McBride.
Last month, the Murphy administration fired Jeffrey Dye from his job at the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development after seeing a history of anti-Semitic and anti-Latino statements on his Facebook page. The NAACP suspended Dye’s membership and ousted him as president of their Passaic chapter.
Murphy noted the role Jews played in building the two New Jersey cities.
“The histories of both Paterson and Trenton – communities built in no small part by Jewish immigrants escaping anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe – are intertwined with the Jewish American experience,” the governor said.