ADL urges US Jewish institutions to be alert following bomb threats

Organization issues security advisory after some 30 facilities targeted.

January 19, 2017 20:53
1 minute read.
Crime scene [illustrative]

Crime scene [illustrative]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

The Anti-Defamation league on Thursday issued a security advisory to Jewish institutions across the US, after a series of bomb threats to some 30 Jewish community centers in 17 states.

It was the second wave of such mass disruption in two weeks.

The NGO said that while the threats did not appear to be credible, it nonetheless urged communal establishments to take serious measures.

The ADL received reports of bomb threats at community centers in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

“We are recommending that Jewish communal institutions review their security procedures and remain in close contact with law enforcement,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO. “While each incident needs to be taken seriously and investigated closely, thus far we are not aware of any of these threats being substantiated.

“Federal authorities and local police departments should be commended for their rapid response to these incidents,” he added. “We remain in close contact with law enforcement and are offering our support and resources to local community centers.”

ADL’s security advisory encourages institutions to review the Bomb Threat Guidance provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Homeland Security, as well as ADL’s own Explosive Threat Response Planning guidance, provided in its security manual “Protecting Your Jewish Institution.” It also referred the institutions to ADL’s list of 18 Best Practices for Jewish Institutional Security.

The group also alerted the institutions to reports from several companies and business around the country which have received antisemitic faxes in recent days, and highlighted the importance of protecting their computer networks and systems.

Wednesday’s bomb threats are the latest incident in a recent wave of increased antisemitism in the US. The ADL documented rising antisemitic abuse on Twitter last year, as well as a spike in hate crimes following November’s presidential election.

Last week, Secure Community Networks – an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America, which advises Jewish groups and institutions on security – held a conference call with top FBI and Homeland Security officials for more than a thousand callers from Jewish groups across the US.

JTA contributed to this report.

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