Monday, February 20, 2017

Fourth round of bomb threats hits Jewish Community Centers across the country

Jack Jenkins/Think Progress
In what is becoming an almost weekly occurrence, a fourth wave of bomb threats appears to have been made against Jewish Community Centers across the country, forcing evacuations.
According to various reports and independent ThinkProgress reporting, Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in Birmingham, Alabama; Houston, TexasSt. Paul, MinnesotaWhitefish Bay, WisconsinBuffalo, New York and Amherst all received threats on Monday.
NBC News reporter Peter Alexander also cited threats in Chicago, Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Tampa, Florida; and Nashville, Tennessee.
It’s at least the fourth wave of bomb threats targeting American JCCs since January. Prior to Monday, roughly 48 Jewish centers in 26 states reported received unsettling phone calls this year—allegedly from a caller using a voice disguiser—in what is being described as “telephone terrorism.” Although none of the incidents have uncovered actual bombs or resulted in physical harm to the patrons of the centers, the fear-based attacks are rattling Jewish groups.
At least one of the centers—Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC in Whitefish —has received more than one bomb threat in recent weeks.
The incidents are part of a sharp uptick in anti-Semitic incidents across the country that began during Donald Trump’s campaign for president and appear to have escalated after his election. ThinkProgress tracked 70 instances of anti-Jewish hatred since Trump’s election, and while evidence indicates that hate incidents are skyrocketing generally, the largest number of incidents according to our data are anti-Semitic.
President Donald Trump was asked three times by multiple reporters to comment on the rise of anti-Semitism in press conferences last week, but declined each time. When he was asked explicitly by one Jewish reporter to comment on the rash of JCC bomb threats, Trump interrupted him, saying his question was “very insulting.”
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