The Story: Several dozens anti-Semitic threats and acts of vandalism have occurred over the past few weeks, causing Jewish Americans throughout the country to fear for their safety.
The Background: Over the weekend vandals toppled about 170 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. The FBI and Department of Justice are also investigating a rash of bomb threats to Jewish centers across the United States. Since January 54 Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in 27 states and one Canadian province have received 69 bomb threats, including 11 on Monday.
According to ABC News, David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America, said that while the JCCs that received the threats have all resumed operations “with a heightened level of security,” he added, “we will not be cowed by threats intended to disrupt people’s lives.”
“While we are relieved that all such threats have proven to be hoaxes and that not a single person was harmed, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats, and the repetition of threats intended to interfere with day-to-day life,” said Posner. “Local JCCs serve not just the Jewish community but the entire community. Participants from all different backgrounds come to their local JCCs.”
These incidents follow a rise over the past few years in anti-Semitic violence. As Matthew Hawkins of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission notes,
Lest we think this is only a European problem, violent anti-Semitic assaults in the U.S. saw an increase of over 50 percent in 2015. Anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses alone doubled in 2015. Those numbers eclipse 2014, which was already a disturbingly high year for such incidents. That was the year the FBI reported that 56 percent of all anti-religious hate crimes were anti-Semitic in nature, though Jews make up a mere 1.8 percent of the population. That year also included the murder of three people by a white-supremacist gunman who opened fire at two Jewish institutions in Kansas, a day before Passover.
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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition