A headstone, pushed off its base by vandals, lays on the ground near a smashed tomb in the Mount Carmel Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. February 27, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – The Anti-Defamation League’s San Francisco Regional Office was evacuated late Monday afternoon after yet another bomb threat was called in to its San Francisco office.
The threat was received at 4:19 p.m. by a staff member answering phone calls at the location and is the second one received by the ADL, after its New York headquarters were targeted last week.
This is also the latest such incident in a series of nearly two dozen fielded by local Jewish institutions across the country earlier on Monday, including Jewish community centers and Jewish day schools.
The latest wave of bomb threats comes after over five others since the beginning of the year, with a total of 89 incidents at 72 locations in 30 states and one Canadian province. In addition, two Jewish cemeteries were vandalized in the past week, in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
In Washington, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, “The president continues to be deeply disappointed and concerned by the reports of further vandalism at Jewish cemeteries. 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 antisemitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms. From our country’s founding, we’ve been dedicated to protecting the freedom of our citizens’ right to worship. No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly.”
Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecrated by vandals , suspected antisemitism (credit: REUTERS)
The ADL’s San Francisco offices were evacuated without incident. Local law enforcement authorities swept the scene and an investigation is underway.
“One threat or evacuation is one too many, and yet we’ve now seen more than 20 incidents in a single day, not just at ADL, but to children’s schools and community centers – and more than 90 incidents since the start of this year,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said. “The level of threats and incidents is astounding, and must not stand. We will do everything in our power to combat this wave of antisemitism.”
ADL added that it is working closely with law enforcement officials at the local, state and national level in response to the calls and has previously convened community security briefings.
Earlier on Monday, the organization had released the “ADL Action Plan on Antisemitism” calling on the Trump administration to adopt a plan of action to address the scourge of threats aimed at Jewish institutions. This, they said, includes ordering the Justice Department to launch a robust investigation into these incidents, establishing an interagency task force to combat antisemitism and improving hate crime training, reporting and response.
After Monday’s rash of bomb threats, the JCC Association of North America also called on federal authorities to take a stand against the latest manifestations of antisemitism.
“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,” said David Posner, the group’s director of strategic performance.
“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,” he added.