In a surprise move, the Irish Anti-Defamation Federation has sided with Hoboken.
Outrage has been expressed about the cancelation of the New Jersey parade by many Irish groups who say the Irish have been targeted unfairly because of the rowdy activities of a few. John R.Howe a former Grand Marshal of the parade has accused the Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer of racism against the Irish.
However, the Ant-Defamation Federation has backed the mayor calling the parade “distasteful and “crime ridden.”
The statement, sent out by recording officer Mary Beth Phillips states:
“The Officers and Members of the Irish Anti-Defamation Federation, based in Philadelphia, would like to support Hoboken's Mayor Dawn Zimmer, in her decision to cancel the St. Patrick's Day Parade in her town.
“Although we are saddened by the loss of this tradition (what should be an all-generations, family-friendly celebration of Ireland's patron saint, and display of our Irish heritage and culture for those claiming Irish roots), we think Mayor Zimmer was wise to put a stop to the distasteful, dangerous, and crime-ridden activities that have accompanied the parade, especially since last year's parade-associated crimes included three reports of rape.
Mayor Zimmer is sending a strong signal to all, whether Irish-American supporters of the Hoboken parade, revelers in the bars, and even spectators, that things are out of control. Her necessary cancellation of the parade is just one step towards fixing a dreadful batch of problems.
We applaud her decision to try to make St. Patrick's Day the pride-filled celebration and holiday it should be. Mayor Zimmer does not want, and cannot afford, for Hoboken to be New Orleans at Mardi Gras, even if it means drastic changes are needed this particular year.
For all those who disagree with her, we at the IADF recommend ways to create a family-friendly celebration once more, one that will not tax the police and other services required of the citizens of Hoboken.
Here's video highlights of the Hoboken St. Patrick's Day parade 2011: