After six waves of bomb threats against Jewish community institutions across the country and other forms of harassment and attacks, it is maddening to hear some suggesting that Jewish organizations are hyping the anxiety in the community and taking advantage of the situation to wage political attacks and score political points.
Keep in mind that the entire United States Senate – 100 Senators from across the spectrum – united in a letter to the Administration urging them to take action against these threats. Are these skeptics casting doubt on the judgment and motivations of the entire U.S. Senate, or are they insinuating something else?
Here are the facts:
- Since early January, there have been more than 140 bomb threats phoned and e-mailed to 110 Jewish community institutions, including day schools, synagogues, JCCs and to ADL offices in Washington, D.C., Boston, Atlanta, and New York City. These threats have led to lockdowns and evacuations in 36 states and two Canadian provinces.
- In the first two months of this year, the New York City Police Department reports a 110 percent increase in hate incidents, many of them against Jews and Jewish institutions.
- One individual was arrested in St. Louis and charged with making some of the bomb threats, but he is not the sole source as they continue.
- Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia have been desecrated by vandals who toppled dozens of headstones. No arrests have been made in either case. And white supremacists and anti-Semites have, as expected, attempted to blame these attacks on the victim.
- In the months prior to the presidential election there was an unprecedented surge of anti-Semitic tweets directed at Jewish journalists, both liberal and conservative. By our count, there were a total of 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets over a one-year period, including nearly 20,000 harassing messages aimed at journalists.
- ADL’s regional offices in 26 cities around the nation are receiving increasing numbers of calls and e-mails reporting a variety of anti-Semitic incidents from swastikas on institutions to bullying of students in schools.
- We have seen an unprecedented uptick in white supremacist activity on college campuses, including more than 100 incidents of white supremacist fliering since the school year began.
We at ADL take all this very seriously and have proposed a series of steps by the White House, by Congress, by state officials and by educators to combat this problem. We are working with elected officials and community leaders from across the spectrum on this issue, and we are doing this not out of politics (in fact, we are a resolutely and legally non-partisan). We are doing this because these threats are real, are directly impacting our community, and run in direct opposition to the values that all Americans hold dear.