A New Jersey mayor, accused of anti-Semitism on Twitter after telling a resident to call the cops on “Hasidic and Orthodox Jews” invading parks and beaches, apologized Wednesday and said it was a big “misinterpretation.”
A resident of Brick Township reportedly tweeted: “Can we please do something about our parks and beaches. They are being invaded by the Hasidic and Orthodox Jews and being ruined. Our tax paying residents are being forced out while politicians sit and do nothing.”
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Mayor John G. Ducey responded on Twitter: “Our parks security has started already. Just call police with any problems and they will send them out.”
Yashar Ali, a high-profile freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Huffington Post and New York magazine, shared a screenshot of the tweet and pointed out Ducey “makes no mention of the tweeters anti-Semitic tone.”
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The mayor denies his response was anti-Semitic, adding he answers every tweet addressed to him.
“I did not want to acknowledge the bigotry thereby giving the commenter the power he was seeking,” Ducey tweeted to one critic. “I just tried to diffuse things and focus his anger at me. … I’ve done pretty well for six years but this is a learning experience.”
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Brick borders Lakewood, which has surged in population with one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the world, according to NJ.com.
On Wednesday morning, Ducey wrote: “This twitter feed (and the world in general) is no place for bigotry or hateful comments. They are hurtful and divisive. They are condemned by me and all who are trying to make a difference in the world. Look for the good in you and others and the world will be a bettter place.”
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond for comment.