Jewish sites endure new wave of threats
100 senators’ letter: Administration must do more in response.
A new wave of bomb threats Monday and Tuesday hit Jewish schools and institutions, including offices of the Anti-Defamation League in four cities, as the U.S. Senate called on the Trump administration to take action.
In a letter to the administration’s top law enforcement officials, all 100 senators asked them to do more in response to the bout of threatening messages that have repeatedly rattled Jewish groups this year.
Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., two of the lawmakers who said they were behind the message, on Tuesday shared a copy of the letter, which called the anonymous threats “deeply troubling.”
The letter and the new threats underscored the anxiety still present in Jewish communities four days after a disgraced former journalist was arrested and charged with sending a handful of the threatening messages. Authorities have accused 31-year-old Juan Thompson of making at least eight of the more than 100 threats that have been reported.
But the FBI, which has called its investigation into the threats “a top priority,” said it does not believe Thompson was behind all of the calls or the vandalism of headstones at three Jewish cemeteries.
“There are many more JCC bomb threats that have not been solved, and communities are hurting,” Evan Bernstein, the New York regional director at the Anti-Defamation League, told reporters in a conference call. The threats on Tuesday targeted facilities in at least eight states, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, officials said.
“Four ADL offices in Atlanta, Boston, New York and Washington D.C. received telephoned bomb threats today,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s chief executive, said in a statement, adding, “We will not be deterred or intimidated.”
Before Tuesday, the ADL had also reported 121 bomb threats made across the United States and Canada, including Jewish Community Centers and day schools.
In their letter, lawmakers said the threats “are not isolated incidents,” and called them an anti-Semitic attempt to spread fear across the country. “This is completely unacceptable and un-American,” the senators wrote. “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.”
The letter was addressed to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey.
Police officers probe a bomb threat Tuesday outside the Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester in Brighton, N.Y.