In the latest eruption of hate targeting Jews in America, Jewish community centers and schools around the country received bomb threats Monday, spurring evacuations in multiple states.
NBC News reports that at least 16 institutions received calls within hours of one another Monday, including schools and community centers in North Carolina, Delaware, Alabama, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Indiana. Facilities in Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, and Rhode Island also reportedly received threats. According to the Associated Press, many of the buildings were evacuated and local law enforcement has not recovered any explosives.
"Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities," Jewish Community Center Association of North America's David Posner said in a statement.
Though no one appears to have been injured, the calls fit into a broader trend of anti-Semitic threats so far in 2017, which has already seen dozens of bomb scares across the country. And the hate has spilled over into actual violence: In the last week alone, hundreds of headstones were vandalized at two Jewish cemeteries—roughly 170 in Missouri and some 100 more in Philadelphia this past weekend.
President Trump, the self-proclaimed "least anti-Semitic person" there is, commented on the recent rise in anti-Semitic threats last week, intoning, "The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil." That statement fell short in the eyes of the Anne Frank Center, which after the Philadelphia grave attacks called on the president to make a televised address about the broader climate of fear in America.
"The FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division are investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country," Carrie Adamowski, Philadelphia's FBI public affairs specialist, said Monday. "The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner."