(JNS.org) At least 21 Jewish community centers (JCCs) and Jewish day schools were targeted with bomb threats Monday in the latest wave of threats against the U.S. Jewish community in recent weeks. In addition to dozens of bomb scares, Jewish cemeteries near St. Louis and in Philadelphia have been vandalized.
“Today, there were 21 incidents of bomb threats called into 13 JCCs and eight Jewish day schools in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia,” the JCC Association of North America said Monday. “All affected institutions have been declared clear and have returned to regular operations.”
Additionally, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said its San Francisco Regional Office was evacuated following a bomb threat Monday afternoon.
“One threat or evacuation is one too many, and yet we’ve now seen more than 20 incidents in a single day not just to ADL, but to children's schools and community centers...The level of threats and incidents is astounding, and must not stand. We will do everything in our power to combat this wave of anti-Semitism,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been five waves of bomb threats at JCCs and other Jewish institutions, totaling 90 incidents at 73 locations in 30 U.S. states and one Canadian province, the JCC Association said.
"Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out—and speak out forcefully—against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country," said David Posner, director of strategic performance at the JCC Association.
The White House Monday condemned both the latest round of bomb threats and the vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.
“The president continues to be deeply disappointed and concerned by the reports of further vandalism at Jewish cemeteries,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “The cowardly destruction in Philadelphia this weekend comes on top of similar accounts from Missouri and threats made to Jewish community centers around the country.”
“The president continues to condemn these and any other form of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms,” he continued, adding that “no one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly.”