19 Jewish community centers receive bomb threat

"We take every threat seriously," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

A police officer blocks an entrance as officials respond to a bomb threat at the Jewish Community Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A police officer blocks an entrance as officials respond to a bomb threat at the Jewish Community Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
At least 19 Jewish community centers (JCC) across New York State received bomb threats via email on Sunday.
Police were notified at around 11:30 a.m. local time that a JCC in Albany, New York, had received a bomb threat, CNN reported. A police spokesman said that the building was evacuated and checked to ensure that it was clear of any explosive devices, before being declared safe.
It was later announced that Albany was not the only target: the message was sent to several people with JCC emails, threatening at least 19 Jewish community centers in the state.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet: “Bomb threats were made by email today against multiple Jewish Community Centers across NY,” adding that “NY has zero tolerance for antisemitism – we won’t let hate & fear win.”
 Police, however, refused to speculate on why those specific targets had received the threat.
An investigation is underway, and the FBI and Homeland Security have been notified.
Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO and Executive Vice President of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, confirmed the bomb threats and issued a statement.
“19 JCCs throughout the United States, including JCC MetroWest, received bomb threats today. The FBI, Homeland Security and local police departments coordinated. Our Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ security platform and our national liaisons concluded that the messages were not credible.”
Ben-Shimon added that communities thrive and beat threats and terrorism by “...showing up. By being there. By not being intimidated. Facebook won’t create community for us.”
At a news conference, Cuomo denounced the threats as an act of “terror.” “That’s what they’re trying to do – trying to create that terror – and we can’t let them,” he said.
Over the past few months, the number of antisemitic incidents has largely increased in New York and around the United States.
Cuomo declared that there have been around 42 antisemitic incidents in New York State in the past couple of months, adding that “it’s getting worse.”
He also compared the spread of antisemitism and hate to the spread of the coronavirus.
“There’s a contagion of hate all across this country,” he said. “The way people worry about the coronavirus, which we’re watching in this state, there’s also a virus of hate and it’s spreading, and it’s spreading quickly.
“Unfortunately, this state has also been infected,” Cuomo added, but continued on to say that “no state is doing more to combat antisemitism than this state.
“This was a terrible unfortunate incident but it in no way reflects how people feel about the Jewish community in the capital district or in this state,” Cuomo said.
This is not the first time Jewish community centers received such bomb threats.
In 2018, an American-Israeli teen from Ashkelon was found guilty for sending 2,000 bomb threats to Jewish community centers as well as to schools, airports, shopping malls, hospitals, police stations, the Israeli Embassy in the United States and more. He was convicted of extortion by threat, sending fraudulent messages, conspiring to commit crimes, penetration of computer material, money laundering, attacking a policeman, unlawfully carrying a weapon and other offenses.