Public protests and behind-the-scenes diplomacy have kept Libyan leader Moammar Kaddafi out of New Jersey. Following weeks of opposition to Kaddafi’s plan to stay in a Bedouin tent on the grounds of an Englewood estate during his appearance at the UN General Assembly in September, Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) said last week that he was assured by a Libyan “representative” that Kaddafi will stay in a Manhattan hotel instead.
“I’m glad it’s over,” said Rothman, a former mayor of Englewood, who called Kaddafi “a financier of international terrorism who has American blood on his hands.”
Thirty-eight New Jersey residents were among the 270 people killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, an attack believed to be the work of Libyan agents.
Several relatives of the victims were among some 200 people who took part in a rally Sunday at the home of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the author and lecturer who lives next door to the Libyan estate.
“We have made our town a terrorist-free zone,” Rabbi Boteach told the rally. Several public officials attended the Sunday rally, including Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes and Gov. Jon Corzine, who said. “This is a community that’s still in pain. To not have him here is a victory.”