Eleven Jewish Community Centers around the country were targeted with phoned in bomb threats today. This is the fourth time a wave of threats has been made against the centers since the start of the year. The Jewish Community Center Association (JCCA) put out a press release saying all of the threats were investigated and turned out to be hoaxes:
On Feb. 20, 11 Jewish community centers received called-in bomb threats, which were ultimately determined to be hoaxes. Our centers have in place security protocols to ensure the safety of their program participants and facility visitors. All JCCs have now received the all-clear from local law enforcement and resumed regular operations, with a heightened level of security…
While we are relieved that all such threats have proven to be hoaxes and that not a single person was harmed, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats, and the repetition of threats intended to interfere with day-to-day life.
The press release notes a total of 69 threats have been made against 54 Jewish centers in 27 states since the beginning of the year. I wrote about a previous wave of “telephone terrorism” in January. All of these incidents have turned out to be hoaxes but it’s important to note that many of the centers include schools with young children, leaving parents concerned about the safety of their kids. Ivanka Trump tweeted about the threats today:
America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 20, 2017
Also today, police in Missouri are investigating the vandalism of gravestones at a Jewish cemetery. From Fox 2 in St. Louis:
Police would not say if they considered the vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery to be a hate crime or not. It is believed there was some organization behind the crime, meaning this was not the act of one individual. Police said they’re reviewing security camera footage from the area.
This report from a CBS affiliate in Minnesota notes that the local JCC which was evacuated today in response to a bomb threat includes a preschool and day care. The FBI is said to be investigating these threats but so far no one has been arrested.