More bomb threats at Jewish facilities across North America
Jewish facilities across North America received bomb threats Tuesday morning, the latest in a wave of harassment and intimidation that has targeted the community in recent months.
Several Jewish community centers and Anti-Defamation League offices in the U.S. received threats, in addition to two centers in Ontario, Canada, according to news reports. The Jewish Community Center in Syracuse, New York was put on lockdown, and the Toronto police’s explosives unit was deployed to a local Jewish community school after staff received threats over the phone. Other facilities have been evacuated.
More than 80 Jewish centers and other spaces in the U.S. and Canada have been coping with waves of anti-Semitic vandalism, threats, and harassment since the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The FBI is leading an inquiry into the matter. A number of researchers and law enforcement officials have told the New York Times they do not believe the incidents to be part of a coordinated effort.
Although the bomb threats have proved empty, more than 100 tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were desecrated in February. In January, the same thing happened to more than 150 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri.
A Jewish community center in Calgary was evacuated last week following a bomb threat, weeks after a community center in London, Ont. faced a similar threat. The Ontario Provincial Police has boosted its presence at synagogues, and other Jewish facilities in the area.
Jewish leaders have been calling on the Trump administration to take swift action to quash the threats, something echoed in an open letter signed Tuesday by all 100 U.S. Senators addressed. Trump has been criticized for his delayed and contradictory condemnation of the the acts of anti-Semitism.
“These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states,” the letter states. “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities.”