ADL Says 'Community Breathes Easier' After Police Detain Suspect In New Jersey Synagogue Arsons

New York, NY, January 24, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised the Bergen County Prosecutor's office for the identification and arrest of a suspect, who law enforcement described as an individual infected with anti-Semitism, in two recent attacks against synagogues in Rutherford and Paramus, New Jersey. 

"Our community breathes easier now that law enforcement has identified and arrested this individual who allegedly was deeply infected with anti-Semitism and who apparently acted on his beliefs," said Etzion Neuer, ADL's Acting New Jersey Regional Director. "We are gratified and relieved at the arrest in these horrific attacks against Jewish houses of worship." 

According to prosecutors, Anthony M. Graziano, 20, of Lodi, New Jersey, is being charged with nine counts of attempted murder, one count of aggravated arson and one count of hate intimidation in connection with the January 11 firebombing of Congregation Beth El in Rutherford. He will also be charged with one count of aggravated arson and one count of hate intimidation in the January 3 firebombing of Congregation K'Hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus. 

"We are gratified and relieved at the arrest of Anthony Graziano in these bias crimes," Mr. Neuer said. "It is disturbing that an alleged hatemonger like Graziano was living in our midst. His arrest sends a clear message that violent criminal actions targeting the safety of any group of individuals will not be tolerated in our community." 

"We salute the diligence of Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli and his office, which spearheaded a dedicated taskforce that devoted much time and effort leading to the arrest," said Lawrence Cooper, ADL New Jersey Regional Board Chair. "The relief that many of us feel should not be taken as an excuse to lessen any Jewish communal security awareness prompted by the incidents. Jewish institutions should use this as an opportunity to develop long-term sustainable security policies and procedures." 

The League commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the local, county and state law enforcement agencies who worked together on a task force in this investigation. 

Two previous incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti against synagogues in Hackensack and Maywood remain unsolved at this time.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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