Threats to US Jewish centers coming from abroad?
Scary, alarming, disheartening, unprecedented.If the calls are coming from abroad the suspects are likely to be from either ISIL or Palestinian extremists. Ethnic hatred of the Jews is deeply ingrained in the hearts of radical Islamists. They often quote from the Koran to justify this hatred.
Those are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the recent widespread spate of bomb threats that have targeted Jewish community centers and schools in 33 states in the United States and two provinces in Canada.
The threats have reached such a crescendo that President Donald Trump used his speech to Congress on Tuesday night to address the issue.
"Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms," the President said.
The President was also referring to dozens of Jewish headstones recently vandalized in two cities and the shooting of two Indian men in Kansas over the weekend.
Law enforcement officials believe many of the threatening calls to Jewish commuinity centers have originated overseas. So far, none of the threats have been carried out. But the lack of destruction has not made them any less chaotic or anxiety-inducing.
"This is the first time in the 60-plus years of our organization we have had a bomb threat called in. And now we've had three bomb threats this year," said the CEO of a JCC in the Northeast who wished to remain anonymous for fear of copycats targeting his center. "It's alarming."
The alarm from the bomb threats, combined with the recent vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and in Philadelphia, have led some to see a pattern of rising anti-Semitism.