The JCC Association, a body which oversees Jewish Community Centres across the United States, has attempted to calm its members after a series of bomb threats were made against JCCs yesterday.
16 Jewish Community Centres were targeted with bomb threats in total, which were called into police, with some being recorded and some being live.
Centres in Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, South Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania were targeted by threats.
Thankfully, following evacuations of most of the facilities, which were a concerted effort between police forces and JCC staff members, the threats were all discovered to be hoaxes.
Whilst some groups took aim at President Elect Trump over the threats, ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt called for calm, saying “While each of these threats must be taken seriously, and excellent preparation is key to a good response, bomb threats are most often not credible and are usually used as scare tactics in order to disrupt an institution’s operations, and to cause fear and panic”.
Whilst these threats appear to have aimed to intimidate, not to kill, they still represented a coordinated attack to strike fear into Jewish communities across the country, which will leave many people vulnerable. Many Synagogues, Jewish schools, and other communal institutions now have increasing amount of security, yet this incident seems to be designed to make Jews think that perhaps no amount of security is enough. As an effort, it would have required planning, research and coordination, and quite possible several people.
Whilst it is important to recognise that these threats were an attempt to cause fear, Jewish communities must still remain vigilant of the real threat of violence which they face. We recently reported on similar bomb threats in Florida, and whilst these turned out to be hoaxes, violence against Jews is always a possibility, and such an incident reminds us of the need for greater communal security measures.