Elected officials in New York are condemning the wave of anonymous bomb threats aimed at Jewish centers across the country, after more than 60 incidents were reported in 27 separate states– including four centers in New York– over the past few weeks, including 11 new threats made on Monday alone.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has now ordered an investigation.
“We will not allow anyone to intimidate or strike fear in the state of New York,” said Cuomo. “The full force of government will be brought to bear in these efforts and these perpetrators will be punished.”
Approximately 100 children, ages 2 to 5, were evacuated from the JCC of Mid-Westchester on the cusp of New Rochelle and Scarsdale after police said the center received a robocall bomb threat around 10:30am on Monday.
Local Jewish clergy in Brooklyn also have expressed concern: “There were over 90 bomb threats called into American Jewish institutions this year,” saidRabbi Yaacov Behrman of the Jewish Future Alliance based in Crown Heights. “Although the threats don’t seem to be credible, we are deeply concerned about the anti-semitism behind these threats and the recent wave of anti-semitic acts across the United State and the world.”
City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, who represents the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Midwood and Flatbush–a district that includes a substantial Orthodox Jewish community– also condemned the attacks.
“I along with many are very concerned about the wave of anti-semitic threats in recent weeks, including today, at the JCC of Staten Island,” said Williams in a statement. “The threats against the Jewish community, irrespective of real or hoax status, is troubling to a community understandably already concerned.”
Williams noted that the recent wave of anti-semitic attacks and bigoted rhetoric, threats have increased since the election of Donald Trump as president. “We must be honest about the results of the atmosphere this administration is creating,” he said. “We must also not wait until it is ‘us’ or ‘our group’ before we speak. We must continue to stand up vehemently against every bigoted threat to any group. We are NYC, we are America.”
Cuomo has ordered State Police to work with federal and local law enforcement to investigate the threats and arrest those responsible.