by Haya Luftig
Washington DC – The ongoing bomb threats aimed at Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) have sown fear in more than 100 Jewish communities and institutions across the country. “We call upon our public officials, in both word and deed, to do everything in their power to put a stop to these threats and incidents,” stated David Bernstein, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).
“We are heartened and appreciative that President Trump gave this issue top billing in his speech before Congress last night,” stated Cheryl Fishbein, Chair of the JCPA. “We urge the President to continue to speak out against these threats against the Jewish community and other minority groups in a timely and decisive manner.”
“Our public officials can create an environment in which such incidents are more or less likely to occur,” stated Bernstein. “The more our officials declare a commitment to an inclusive, bigotry-free society, the more likely radical elements will be kept in check.”
On Monday alone more than 30 JCCs received bomb threats, a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was desecrated and swastikas were found on playgrounds and sprayed on cars in several cities. For some of these JCCs, this was the fourth or fifth threat received by these institutions in the past couple of months. Since January, there have been 101 threats to the Jewish community, including bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers, day schools, and communal organizations.
Shockingly, hate crimes against African Americans, Muslims, minorities, and immigrants topped 1,000 during the same period.
In addition to issuing clear public statements, there is much more work to be done. We urge the President, the Attorney General, and the FBI to spare no resources to investigate these new threats and bring the culprits to justice.
We also call for implementation of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) anti-hate recommendations:
- Convene a federal inter-agency task force on Fighting Hate that brings together all the relevant agencies • Appoint a White House coordinator for Fighting Hate
- Support federal and state-level legislation to protect students from increasing religious harassment and discrimination on college campuses
- Train state and local law enforcement agencies led by the Department of Justice on how to handle hate crimes, including detection and response
We urge Jewish community institutions to reinforce a sense of safety and not allow these highly disruptive threats to deter participation in Jewish life.