Bi-Partisan Letter Calls for National Response to JCC Threats

Just two days after a wave of bomb threats were called into Jewish Community Centers around the country for the fourth time in five weeks, a bi-partisan group of 158 legislators signed a letter calling on the Secretary of Homeland Security, the FBI Director, and the U.S. Attorney General to quickly take steps to address these threats.  In addition to the bomb threats, dozens of headstones were tipped over in February at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri, a similar vandalism was discovered at a Jewish cemetery in Pennsylvania last week, and yesterday in Rochester, New York.
“This is not an idle concern, given that there have been at least three casualty-causing attacks at JCCs or other Jewish institutions in the last two decades-in 2014 at a Kansas JCC, in 2006 at the Jewish Federation of Seattle, and in 1999 at a California JCC.  This is a national problem and, as such, it requires a national solution.
“We urge you to approach this issue with a sense of urgency, and to work in partnership with state and territory governments, local law enforcement officials, JCC Association of North America, individual JCCs, and Jewish community institutions and leaders to address the threat in a holistic manner.  We look forward to your response regarding the specific steps being taken to prevent and respond to this threat.”

We applaud local members of Congress — Joyce Beatty, Pat Tiberi, and Steve Stivers — who signed onto the letter, which was also commended by William Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America, who stated that, “…the calls were intended to sow fear and disrupt lives and communities and must be taken seriously.  The JCC bomb threats follow a growing record of plots, attempted attacks, and deadly occurrences targeting the Jewish community at home, a rise in anti-Semitic hate groups organizing, and an  assessment by the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI and DHS that violent homegrown extremists are prioritizing ‘soft targets’ such as Jewish communal institutions.”

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