Terrorism & Insurgency

Supermarket attack highlights broadening of threat of anti-Semitic violence in US

19 December 2019

Aftermath of a small-arms attack on a kosher supermarket in New Jersey, the United States, on 10 December 2019. Source: Bryan R Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Key Points

  • On 10 December, two individuals targeted a kosher supermarket, killing three people, in Jersey City, New Jersey. The perpetrators were apparently Black Hebrew Israelite followers, a group mainly known for its non-violent, yet controversial, preaching.
  • This event follows a series of anti-Semitic attacks across the United States, mainly through arson and vandalism. Most notably though, JTIC recorded three notable small-arms attacks in which 15 people were killed during the past 14 months.
  • The attack highlights the escalating levels of anti-Semitic violence. Although the majority of these have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, the progression from attacks targeting properties to assaults on individuals underlines the potential threat posed by extremist followers of Black Hebrew Israelites.

On 10 December, two individuals, identified as 47-year-old David Anderson and 50-year-old Francine Graham, targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the United States, killing three people in a small-arms attack. Following a clash with police officers, both perpetrators were killed. The two individuals are also suspected of killing a taxi driver in Bayonne, New Jersey, on 7 December and a veteran police officer in Jersey City on 10 December. Reports indicate that the officer had spotted a van linked to the Bayonne murder and attempted to question the suspects, but was immediately shot and killed. Shortly after the attack, police found an IED, described in reports as a pipe bomb, in the suspects' vehicle. According to their social media accounts, Anderson and Graham were apparently Black Hebrew Israelite followers, a movement of African-American Jews known mainly for its non-violent yet controversial gospel preaching. Although the depth, if any, of the involvement of the perpetrators with the movement is unknown, at the time of writing there is no information in open sources to indicate that they were operating in the name of any specific group or movement.

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