US Jewish groups call on federal gov’t to condemn antisemitism

By
February 28, 2017 02:21

This latest wave of threats comes after over five others in January and February, with a total of 89 incidents at 72 locations in 30 states and 1 Canadian province.

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Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecrated by vandals , suspected antisemitism (credit: REUTERS)

Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecrated by vandals , suspected antisemitism (credit: REUTERS)

NEW YORK – Jewish organizations expressed outrage on Monday after another rash of bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers and Jewish day schools, calling on federal authorities to speak out against the phenomenon.

Some 21 such incidents were recorded on Monday affecting 13 JCCs and seven Jewish day schools in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

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This latest wave of threats comes after more than five others in January and February, with a total of 89 incidents at 72 locations in 30 states and 1 Canadian province.

In addition, two Jewish cemeteries were vandalized in the past week, in St. Louis and Philadelphia.

While all institutions affected Monday were cleared by local law enforcement, director of strategic performance at the JCC Association of North America David Posner said that “antisemitism 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 antisemitism impacting communities across the country,” Posner added. “Actions speak louder than words. Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities.”

Posner also maintained the JCC Association is grateful to local law enforcement for their response to the threats.

The Anti-Defamation League, which has also been targeted by a bomb threat its headquarters last week, has issued a security advisory to Jewish institutions across the country with guidelines on actions they can take if faced with such threats and how to protect Jewish institutions.

“While this latest round of bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers and day schools across the country again appears to not be credible, we are nonetheless urging all Jewish institutions to review their procedures,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which has 1.6 million Christian donors in North America and around the world, also issued a statement condemning the latest antisemitic attacks nationwide, urging Christians and Jews to “build bridges in response to hatred.

“We have heard from so many of our Christian brothers and sisters expressing their profound dismay at the recent rise of antisemitic and hate crimes nationwide, and offering their love and support,” president and founder of the fellowship, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said. “Hatred only reinforces our mutual determination and resolution to continue building bridges between Christians, Jews, and other faith communities, each and every day, to counter anti-Jewish bigotry.”

Through a social media campaign, the fellowship has collected more than 10,000 signatures from Christians condemning antisemitism in a letter titled, “We stand with the Jewish community against antisemitism”. The group plans to ultimately present the statement to President Donald Trump.

“As a Christian and supporter of the fellowship, I stand with the Jewish people as they endure rising attacks and displays of antisemitism in America and abroad,” the letter said. “Never again will we remain silent in the face of such threats. We stand side by side with our Jewish brothers and sisters in deploring the attack on the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, threats to Jewish Community Centers, and other such attacks.”

“We declare that there is no place in America for hatred, even as we pledge to build bridges of love, healing, and unity in our nation,” it continued.

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