Photo Credit: DS Levi
NYPD at the scene where the New York-based Anti-Defamation League received the second bomb threat since January on March 7, 2017.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer opened his news briefing on Tuesday with a firm statement condemning the sixth wave of bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the United States.

“As the president said at the beginning of his joint address, quote, we’re a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its forms,” Spicer said.


“We denounce these latest anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms, and it’s incredibly saddening that I have to continue to share these disturbing reports with you, and I share the president’s thoughts and he fervently hopes that we don’t have to continue to share these reports with you.

“But as long as they will, as long as they do continue, we’ll continue to condemn them and look at ways in which we we can stop them,” he added.

Since January 1, more than 120 threats have been received by various Jewish Community Centers, Jewish Day Schools and other Jewish institutions across the United States.

Not all of the threats were phoned in on Tuesday, and not all of the institutions evacuated this time around. Some Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) chose “lockdown” instead, and sat tight throughout the search by police and bomb-sniffing K-9 units.

The JCC in the town of Brighton, a suburb of Rochester, New York, was the first to be hit on Tuesday (March 7). Also in New York, the DeWitt Jewish Community Center in Syracuse, was threatened. It was not evacuated, but instead was placed on lockdown after it received an email threat that did not involve a bomb at 9:44 am local time Tuesday, the third such incident since January 1. The facility reopened at 11:15 am after police and K9 units swept the building.

JCCs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Rockville, Maryland also received bomb threats.
So did the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, Alabama — it was the fourth one so far since January. “The police responded,” Executive Director Betzy Lynch told “The facility was cleared, there were no devices found, so it was a false threat.”

At least one JCC actually received a threat on Monday night. The Mittleman Jewish Community Center in Portland, Oregon received an email bomb threat Monday just before closing at about 8:30 pm local time. About 30 people were inside the building at the time, and another 30 were playing soccer outside, Executive Director Steven Albert told Oregon Live. “The MJCC leadership was fully prepared and took all necessary precautions, and law enforcement did its work. Fortunately, everything was found to be safe,” Jewish Federation of Greater Portland President and CEO Marc N. Blattner said in a statement.

The Chicago Jewish Day School in the Edgewater Beach neighborhood on the north side of Chicago was also targeted with a bomb threat on Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of the school. The threat was received by phone just after 9 am; students and teachers were allowed to return a bit more than two hours later after police and K-9 units performed a thorough sweep of the building.

The David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Florida received a bomb threat as well but its leadership also chose to go on lockdown and did not evacuate.

In addition to the JCCs and the day schools, bomb threats were called in to the ADL’s flagship headquarters for the second time in New York City, and its regional offices in Atlanta, Boston and Washington DC. The national headquarters voluntarily evacuated out of precaution.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement issued Tuesday that he was ordering New York State Police to “coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to launch a full investigation into these latest incidents to ensure that the perpetrators of these reprehensible crimes are held fully accountable for their actions…. We will continue to send a strong message that New York has zero tolerance for intolerance.”

Thus far, only one arrest has been made in the six waves of more than 100 bomb threats made against JCCs, Jewish Day Schools, ADL offices and other Jewish institutions. Some of the calls were made by live people; others were robocalls. Some of the threats were emailed to the institutions.

Ex-journalist Juan Thompson, 31, of St. Louis, Missouri was arrested by FBI agents last week in connection with eight bomb threats, including one made against a Jewish museum, and one against an ADL office. Thompson has been described by authorities, however, as a “copycat” perpetrator.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.