New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie is a tough guy.
The former federal prosecutor is known for blunt talk and quick rejoinders to critics. The other day, up in New Hampshire, Christie had the back of the guy he probably hopes will tap him as vice presidential nominee. When hecklers shouted that Mitt Romney "kills jobs," the former Massachusetts governor politely said that view was unfortunate.
But Christie answered Jersey-style, saying "Something may go down tonight but it's not going to be jobs, sweetheart."
Before he takes off on the campaign trail through the primary states, though, there's work to be done in Christie's backyard, and his in-your-face style is perfectly suited for it.
This morning, someone threw a firebomb into a shul in Rutherford, injuring the rabbi with minor burns. Last month someone targeted Jewish-owned shops for a mini-Kristallnacht in Highland Park, and eggs were thrown at Orthodox Jews near Lakewood, prompting Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson to tell the Asbury Park Press: “This has happened before where kids from surrounding towns, Toms River, Howell, Jackson and Brick, come into Lakewood and think its fun to harass the Orthodox."
There have also been attacks on shuls in Maywood, Paramus and Hackensack. Clearly there is a pattern of old-fashioned Jew-hatred spreading in the Garden State that should be serious enough for the chief executive to take notice. "This is getting out of control, this is so troublesome,'' Joy Kurland, director of Jewish Community Relations for the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey told JTA.
In some of these incidents people have been caught and charged with minor crimes. But the arson attack, which the Bergen County prosecutor is treating like an attempted murder, shows that things could rise to a dangerous level.
So now might a good time for Governor Christie to tour some of the affected areas and make it clear, as only he can, that criminals who commit any kind of bias crime on his watch will "go down" just as swiftly as those hecklers in New Hampshire.