Rising Hate: Jewish Community Centers Confront a Wave of Bomb Threats
The country is confronting a wave of bomb threats and vandalism against Jewish Americans institutions. At least 19 community centers and schools in 11 states were targeted on Monday, just one day after scores of headstones were damaged or pushed over at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, and less than a week after a Jewish cemetery in suburban St Louis reported more than 150 headstones vandalized, reported The Atlantic.
After the vandalism in Missouri, Governor Eric Greitens wrote in a Facebook post: “Anyone who would seek to divide us through an act of desecration will find instead that they unite us in shared determination. From their pitiful act of ugliness, we can emerge even more powerful in our faith.”
The bomb threats against Jewish day schools and community centers happened in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, prompting some evacuations. No acts of violence have been reported and most institutions have resumed normal operations.
In Philadelphia, police reported that roughly 100 headstones have been toppled or damaged in the Mount Carmel cemetery. This isn’t even the first time Mount Carmel has been desecrated: In 1989, dozens of tombstones were shattered and scrawled with graffiti, according to a story from the time by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The incident has been condemned by all local Jewish institutions and has draw Jewish and Muslim communities together in their fight against fear.
According to the FBI, Jews and Muslims together account for the vast majority of religiously motivated hate crimes: In 2015, 51 percent of religious motivated crimes were committed against Jews, while 22 percent were against Muslims.
For his part, President Trump is accused of being slow to condemn the recent rise in anti-Semitism, and so far he’s failed to address a parallel increase in Islamophobia.
David Posner, the director of strategic performance at the JCC Association of North America, called on government leaders in a statement Monday to take forceful action, adding: “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.” According to this tracker by the Huffington Post, approximately 61 of the 166 JCCs nationwide have received threats since January. As reported in The Atlantic.