Jewish sites en­dure new wave of threats

100 sen­a­tors’ let­ter: Ad­min­is­tra­tion must do more in re­sponse.

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Mark Ber­man

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.

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