Passaic County Freeholder Assad Akhter called on Paterson Councilman Michael Jackson to disavow anti-Semitism after the councilman said a developer was trying to “Jew us down” during a debate on the redevelopment of Hinchcliffe Stadium Tuesday evening.
“As a Passaic County Freeholder and a resident of Paterson I was very disturbed to learn of Councilman Mike Jackson’s anti-Semitic remarks at this week’s Paterson City Council meeting,” Akhter said. “I cannot speak for Councilman Jackson’s intention or his heart, but his remarks are offensive and also help fuel a negative perception of Paterson. This despite the fact that the Silk City has welcomed people of all faiths and traditions for many generations.”
“If Councilman Jackson is truly sincere in his apology then he must — as must we all — be unequivocal in stating that antisemitism has no place in Paterson or anywhere else in this world,” said Akhter, who is a member of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council of New Jersey.
Jackson’s comments were first reported by TapInto Paterson.
The councilman issued a back-handed apology for his statement, which drew fire from Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and other members of the Council.
“Never do I make any apologies for the passion that I have and the commitment that I bring forward for my community,” Jackson said. “That was meant with no malice. It was a statement indicative of my upbringing, of where it was a term that was often used as children as we in our communities use other terms of endearment that now has for some has become forsaken.”
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