U.S. President Donald Trump issued a strong condemnation on Monday after the latest series of bomb threats was called in to Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Day Schools on Monday, panicking Jewish communities across the country.
Updated list of bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers & day schools today — at least 16 in all. These are places where kids play & learn. pic.twitter.com/iYv9BLgBgc
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 27, 2017
At least 16 JCCs and eight Jewish Day Schools were affected by the fifth wave of threats in two months to target Jewish communities in the United States and some parts of Canada.
NEW: A Jewish Day School in Annapolis, MD also received a bomb threat — 21 today. Make no mistake: they are targetting children.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 27, 2017
Just one day earlier, a Jewish man who had gone to visit his father’s grave in Philadelphia was shocked to discover that more than 100 headstones were knocked over and broken at the city’s Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery.
“The President continues to be deeply disappointed and concerned by the reports of further vandalism at Jewish cemeteries,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in a statement during the Monday news briefing. “The cowardly destruction at Philadelphia this weekend comes on top of similar accounts from Missouri and threats made to Jewish community centers around the country.
“The President continues to condemn these and any other form of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms. From our country’s founding we’ve been dedicated to protecting the freedom of our citizens’ rights to worship. No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing, freely and openly. The President is dedicated to preserving this originating principle of our nation,” he added.
Jewish community leaders also spoke out, demanding action to put an end to the threats.
“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities,” said David Posner, director of strategic performance at the JCC Association of North America. “The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Posner continued. “Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities.”
Nevertheless, Posner also emphasized that Jewish communities “remain grateful to local law enforcement who continue to serve our communities and ensure that our JCCs and schools remain safe and open for business as the vital community institutions they are.”