Bipartisan Congressional Letter Calls for Swift Action on JCC Bomb Threats
WASHINGTON – 150 Democratic and Republican Members of Congress signed a letter on Wednesday urging the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to take swift action against the bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers (JCC) across the country. Representatives Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) co-authored the letter which has received support from The Jewish Federations of North America and the JCC Association of North America.
“We urge the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to swiftly assess the situation and to advise Congress on what specific steps are being taken, or will be taken, to deter such threats from being made, to identify and prosecute the perpetrators for violations of federal criminal laws, and to enable JCCs to enhance security measures such as physical barriers and guards, in the event that an individual seeks to act upon these threats,” the letter states.
On Monday, 11 Jewish Community Centers (JCC) throughout the U.S. were targeted with bomb threats. Since January, 54 JCCs have been targeted across 27 states. Police in Missouri also reported over 100 headstones at Jewish cemeteries damaged or toppled during the past week.
“This is not an idle concern, given that there have been at least three casualty-causing attacks at JCCs or other Jewish institutions in the last two decades. This is a national problem and, as such, it requires a national solution.” the letter notes. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is running for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, also signed the letter.
This week the White House has taken its most forceful action against the issue with President Trump on Tuesday calling anti-Semitism “horrible” and “painful.” Vice President Mike Pence cleaned up a vandalized Jewish cemetery in a St. Louis suburb while offering an overwhelming condemnation. The President had earlier faced criticism for not directly denouncing anti-Semitism when asked by Jewish reporters at multiple press conferences.
“These phone calls have an immediate emotional impact, of course, but they also have an economic impact… The individuals who make these calls no doubt recognize that bomb threats, particularly when repeated, can compromise and even destroy a JCC’s financial future,” the letter adds.