A Jewish Community Center in Plainview where only last week Congressman Tom Suozzi had held a SRO town hall, was among several in New York State terrorized by a new wave of bomb threats on Feb. 27 sweeping the country.
Bomb threats were also phoned into JCCs in Tarrytown, Staten Island and New Rochelle.
In all, there were 29 bomb threats made across 18 states – 89 in 30 states and Canada since January.
That same day, the Mount Carmel Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized, with 100 tombstones damaged.
It was the second such incident in a week, following a desecration of more than 100 tombstones in a 123-year old Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.
Last week, an anonymous bomb threat was phoned in to the headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League — its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt had only days before addressed Temple Beth-El of Great Neck on the rise of anti-Semitism and the fact Donald Trump had taken no action, nor even come out with a statement denouncing such acts.
But Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who responded swiftly last week with a hotline (888-392-3644) to the State division of Human Rights, and instructed the New York State Police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to fully investigate and hold perpetrators accountable.
He also introduced a $25 million grant program to boost safety and security at New York’s schools and day care centers “at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.”
“I share the pain and the outrage of so many New Yorkers who are affected directly and those who are sickened by watching these attacks unfold,” Gov. Cuomo stated. “We will not allow anyone to intimidate or strike fear in the state of New York. The full force of government will be brought to bear in these efforts and these perpetrators will be punished.”
After the attack on the ADL headquarters in Manhattan, Cuomo called it “unacceptable, un-American and — disturbingly — increasingly common.
This despicable act of anti-Semitism completely contradicts the values we hold dear as New Yorkers.
This is now a national crisis as a troubling pattern of recent anti-Semitic threats have been directed at Jewish Community Centers on a regular basis, including Buffalo, New York City, Albany, and Syracuse.
“We are treating these incidents for what they are — as crimes — and we will not allow them to go unpunished,” Cuomo said. “Today I have directed the New York State Police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to launch a full investigation into this latest incident.
“Make no mistake, we will find these perpetrators and hold them fully accountable for their actions….We stand with all Jewish people here in New York and across the country to say loud and clear – enough is enough.”
Meanwhile, there has been nothing of any consequence from Donald Trump, who otherwise doesn’t hesitate to express his outrage in 140 characters at any perceived personal slight. Instead, he shut down questions about the rise of anti-Semitic incidents from an Israeli reporter at his press conference with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and during his press conference the next day, told an Orthodox man who was careful to say he was not accusing Trump of being anti-Semitic, in fact calling him Zaide, the term for a Jewish grandfather, to just shut up and sit down, proclaiming himself the least anti-Semitic person anyone would meet.
But Trump has not called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who also has been extraordinarily silent) to have his Department of Justice investigate and prosecute hate crimes, or done anything of any consequence.
Trump, who has already completely undone America’s value system in his zeal to combat terrorism from abroad, doesn’t see or care about domestic terrorism.
Indeed, he has instructed that domestic terrorism no longer be classified as terrorism.
This emboldens acts against Jews, minorities of every stripe, immigrants, foreigners. It gives permission to regard “others” as non-people, not deserving of civil or indeed human rights.
Indeed, Trump made no statement after a Kansas man shot two Indian engineers who worked for Garmin and another man who tried to come to their aid, killing the 32 year old Indian man.
“Get out of my country,” the man reportedly shouted just before opening fire.
My country. Could you imagine what Trump would have said if an undocumented immigrant had shot the Kansan?
Finally, ambushed during his photo-op at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington D.C. on Presidents Day, he meekly replied. “Anti-Semitism is horrible. And it’s gonna stop and it has to stop…I think it’s terrible. I think it’s horrible. Whether it’s anti-Semitism or racism or any — anything you wanna think about having to do with the divide. Anti-Semitism is, likewise, it’s just terrible.”
“The issue of anti-Semitism is not partisan,” Greenblatt told Temple Beth-El just a few days before the ADL received a bomb threat. “It is potentially lethal. Nor is it an arcane policy matter that demands debate. This is a simple social problem that demands moral leadership — with the president’s leadership it can get better and with neglect or instigation it will get worse. The president’s repeated failure to address it is empowering, emboldening bigots.”
Trump should take a cue from Gov. Cuomo.