The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed today’s 30-count indictment against two individuals in a series of firebombings, arsons, and bias related incidents targeting synagogues in Bergen County, New Jersey, calling the indictment “an important message that anti-Semitic attacks on the community are unacceptable.”
The indictments, announced this afternoon by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, were the culmination of an extensive investigation by multiple New Jersey police departments and were the first charges to be brought under New Jersey’s Anti-Terrorism Act, which was signed into law in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“We commend the efforts of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office and New Jersey law enforcement for making these cases a priority and for pursuing terrorism and hate crime charges against the alleged perpetrators. Throughout this entire process, Prosecutor John Molinelli has devoted himself tirelessly to bringing the accused perpetrators of these anti-Semitic attacks to justice,” said Ross Pearlson, ADL New Jersey Regional Board Chair, and Jeffrey Salkin, ADL New Jersey Regional Director. “The indictments send an important message that anti-Semitic attacks on the community are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Anthony M. Graziano of Lodi, NJ, and Aakash A. Dalal of New Brunswick, NJ, were indicted on multiple counts in connection with a series of synagogue bias attacks in December 2011 and January 2012, including first-degree attempted murder and first-degree terrorism charges, each carrying a 30-year to life penalty, in addition to three counts each of first-degree bias intimidation.
Graziano and Dalal were charged with the attempted murder of a rabbi and members of his family in the attempted firebombing of Temple Beth El Rutherford synagogue, as well as the January 3 arson and firebombing of the Temple K’Hal Adath Jesrun of Paramus, and the attempted arson of the Jewish Community Center of Paramus on January 7. They also face bias intimidation charges in connection with incidents at Temple Beth El Hackensack on December 20.
ADL worked with the community and law enforcement immediately following the synagogue attacks to deter future hate-fueled acts. The League encouraged increased police patrols near synagogues and Jewish community buildings and urged Jewish community institutions to consider preventative security measures.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Rutherford Police Department, Paramus Police Department, the Hackensack Police Department, the Maywood Police Department the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Newark Field Office.