PASSAIC, N.J. (TND) — A flurry of hateful comments interrupted the virtual stream of an in-person city council meeting in Passaic, New Jersey last week, stunning council members in attendance.
The comments came during an October 24 city council meeting, of which three members are Orthodox Jews. Hackers gave themselves offensive usernames and began shouting obscenities during Mayor Hector Lora’s address.
“All right, so when are we going to put these Jews in the [unintelligible],” one hacker said.
The hackers' comments included several uses of the n-word and other racist and antisemitic language.
Though he was originally unable to hear the virtual comments, Lora noted the presence of the offensive names.
“There were a number of false names that I chose not to read on the screen as you can see if you had read the names that were intended to, I guess, illicit a response,” Mayor Hector Lora said.
Lora later addressed the hateful comments, saying he had not initially been aware of them.
The stream was further disrupted with what Lora called “graphic” and “extremely antisemitic images.” He threatened to close the meeting to virtual participants if the harassment did not stop.
When a member of the audience took the stand to address the council, he began by condemning the hackers. In doing so, he repeated the n-word racial slur, prompting the council to revoke his opportunity to speak.
The man persisted, calling for everyone in the room to have “thick skin.” The council permitted him to speak, but threatened he was “walking on thin ice.”
“Just because people call you that word doesn’t mean you are one,” he said. The man later asked the council to renovate a local park admitting “we started off on the wrong foot.”
After hearing complaints from audience members, Lora closed the meeting by again condemning the comments.
Offense is not individual,” Lora said. “As a whole, the city takes offense to anyone who would believe they would target any group or take any opportunity to defame in any way with derogatory remarks and images. If in any way you come after any group in our city, our response will be swift and immediate and appropriate.”
Passaic police are investigating the meeting and the vandalization of cars belonging to members of the council during the meeting, North Jersey.com wrote.
The incident comes as Jewish Americans grow concerned over a rise in antisemitic incidents worldwide following the Hamas terrorist invasion of Israel.