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135 Bomb Threats Strike U.S. Jewish Community

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Nearly half of the country’s Jewish community centers have received bomb threats in 2017, reported Forward (US).

72 of the 151 JCC locations in the United States have received bomb threats — over 47%. Five ADL locations, several Jewish day schools, an egalitarian synagogue in Framingham, Massachusetts and a Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights have also received threats.

The latest bomb threat occurred on Purim Day in Rochester, NY. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a full investigation, adding, “I am profoundly disturbed and disgusted by the continued threats against the Jewish community in New York. We will not stand by silently.”

On March 7, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted, “We have not seen anything like this in many years, this level of hatred directed against the Jewish community, this many threats. So we are really in an unprecedented moment.”

That same day, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued a statement calling on the Trump Administration and Congress “to take concrete steps to catch those threatening the Jewish Community.”

“Four ADL offices in Atlanta, Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. received telephoned bomb threats today. This is not ‘normal.’,” Greenblatt added.

On February 28, the JCC Association called for federal action. On March 1, the organization spoke with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security. Later in the day, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly released a statement calling the threats and harassment “unacceptable and escalating,” and noted that he directed his department to “heighten outreach and support to enhance public safety.”

David Posner, who as director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America advises local JCCs on security policies and practices, released the following statement in response:

“The Department of Homeland Security is offering concrete help at a time when our JCCs need to hear that the federal government is prioritizing our security. DHS has promised that its protective security advisers, stationed in all 50 states, will be in contact with JCCs within the next week, offering their expertise on protective measures, threat reporting and security awareness. We look forward to working with DHS through this unparalleled level of assistance, which comes as very welcome at an extraordinarily stressful time for JCCs and the diverse communities they serve. We again thank Secretary Kelly and DHS.

We urge fellow federal agencies to follow DHS’s lead and apply all resources necessary toward finding the perpetrator or perpetrators of these disruptive, harassing calls, and bringing them to justice. We are relieved no one has been harmed, but the atmosphere created by these calls hangs over our communities and will only be lifted once someone is caught and punished.”

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Vandals scrawled graffiti claiming the Holocaust was "fake history" on an exterior wall of a Seattle synagogue, leading the rabbi to urge President Donald Trump to more forcefully denounce a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in recent months, reported Reuters.

Seattle police said they were investigating the vandalism at Temple De Hirsch Sinai as a hate crime after an off-duty officer spotted it on Friday.
"Holocaust is fake history!" read the spray-painted message, with each letter S written as dollar signs.
The graffiti, along with bomb threats against five U.S. Jewish community centres and one in Canada, were the latest incidents targeting Jewish organizations in recent months.

In Seattle, Rabbi Daniel Weiner linked the incidents to what he characterized as permissiveness toward white supremacy from parts of the electorate during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
"A message needs to come from our president, not only decrying anti-Semitism but specifically indicting white supremacists and in particular those who support his candidacy," Weiner said, also referring to the bomb threats, vandalism against Jewish cemeteries and aggression against Muslims, Sikhs and immigrants.

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Scores of headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia have been broken and overturned, media reports said on Sunday, in the latest apparent vandalism incident at a Jewish burial ground in the United States, reported USA Today.

Police in Philadelphia were investigating vandalism to dozens of gravesites at a Jewish cemetery early Sunday, with as many as 75 to 100 headstones broken or overturned.
"It's criminal. This is beyond vandalism," Detective Shawn Thrush told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's beyond belief."

The attack comes nearly a week after authorities in St. Louis said vandals there damaged 154 headstones at a suburban Jewish cemetery. Last Wednesday, after Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens called for volunteers to assist in the cleanup of the Chesed Shel Emeth Society Cemetery, more than 1,000 people, including Vice President Mike Pence, showed up to help clean up.
Pence, who was in the area to give a speech at a business in Fenton, Mo., said of the damage, “There is no place in America for hatred or acts of prejudice or violence or anti-Semitism.”

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