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Congressman Mike Thompson

Representing the 5th District of CALIFORNIA

Thompson Denounces Rise of Anti-Semitism

Feb 27, 2017
Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) denounced rising anti-Semitism sentiments, exemplified by multiple bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and schools as well as vandalism in Jewish cemeteries.

“These threats must stop,” said Thompson. “I commend the authorities for acting swiftly and decisively to investigate each incident, but I am deeply alarmed by the rising level of anti-Semitism in the country. That is why I joined over 150 of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to treat every incident seriously and take immediate action against those who wish harm on the Jewish community. Hatred of any kind cannot be tolerated.”

The full text of the letter can be found at https://mikethompson.house.gov/sites/mikethompson.house.gov/files/2.22.17final_joint.pdf or below:

February 22, 2017

The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

The Honorable James B. Comey
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535

Dear Secretary Kelly, Attorney General Sessions, and Director Comey,

We write to express our deep concern regarding the recent spate of anonymous bomb threats made via telephone against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) across the nation.  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.

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-in 2014 at a Kansas JCC, in 2006 at the Jewish Federation of Seattle, and in 1999 at a California JCC.  This is a national problem and, as such, it requires a national solution.

In the first two months of 2017 alone, there have been 68 incidents targeting 53 JCCs in 26 states, according to JCC Association of North America.  A number of JCCs, such as the Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando, have received multiple threats.

These phone calls have an immediate emotional impact, of course, but they also have an economic impact.  JCCs provide a range of educational and community services for Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and families, with a particular focus on children and youth.  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.

We urge you to approach this issue with a sense of urgency, and to work in partnership with state and territory governments, local law enforcement officials, JCC Association of North America, individual JCCs, and Jewish community institutions and leaders to address the threat in a holistic manner.  We look forward to your response regarding the specific steps being taken to prevent and respond to this threat.

Sincerely,

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