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Jewish Students React to JCC Bomb Threats

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Threats Shock Buffalo Community

ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/REUTERS

ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/REUTERS

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Since Donald Trump has become president in January multiple bomb threats have surfaced that targeted the Jewish population and JCC’s. Threats have been made in 10 cities, recently Buffalo was added to the list of cities where the public has been frightened by bomb scares.

JCC stands for Jewish Community Center. These centers are places of socialization and organization in the Jewish community. They promote the Jewish culture and heritage and are supposed to be a safe haven. But not just Jewish people belong to JCCs. People of all walks of life are welcomed into a JCC if they choose to join. “It does not matter what race or religion, accepting everyone is the Jewish way,” said Alex Kane, a Jewish senior.

Abby Collins
“It isn’t right to be doing these things to the communities, to people who have been oppressed and have been put in similar situations only 70 years ago,” said Alex Kane ’17.

The numbers of threats and occurrences increase as the months go on. The Jerusalem Post wrote on January 9 threats were called into 16 JCC’s forcing evacuations throughout the Northwest and South. January 18 was the day that 30 Jewish  institutions in 17 different states also received bomb threats. On the 31 of January approximately 17 JCC’s in the United states had bomb threat scares. This was only in one month.

A Jewish Community Center in Buffalo was only one of the many evacuated due to bomb threats on Presidents’ Day February 20. According to NBC, phoned in threats were received by JCC’s centers in Birmingham, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul,  Tampa,  Albuquerque,  Nashville and Houston.  A Jewish junior who wished to remain anonymous because of not wanting her political views printed said, “I have family and friends who are at the JCC all the time and it really worries and concerns me that the place that their going to enjoy themselves is being threatened by something so serious as a bomb.”  No threats were acted upon and all appeared to be hoaxes but this still leaves an immense amount of fear and uncertainty in the Jewish community and throughout the country.  “I feel disgusted that a place like the JCC  that means so much to me has received these bomb threats.”

Chanel 2 News Broadcast
JCC evacuated all inside due to multiple bomb threats in Maitland, Florida on January 4.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer and presidential daughter Ivanka Trump made statements about keeping Jewish people safe. They did so weeks after more threats targeted 53 Jewish community centers across 26 U.S. states and one Canadian province during three days in January,  as reported on NBC. “I am very proud and passionate about being a Jewish person and I think that it’s so upsetting that a community that I feel so strongly about is being threatened,” a junior said.

Despite his daughter’s statement to the public, Trump himself has not directly answered very important questions the public has asked him repeatedly about antisemitism. When asked  a question about the rise of antisemitism and what the government planned to do about it by a Jewish reporter Jake Turx, Trump immediately defended himself. He disregarded the question completely naming himself “the least antisemitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life.” He then went on to say Mr. Turx’s question was unfair and told him to sit down and be quiet cutting him off. Alex said “I just think it’s really awful that we aren’t hearing much about what the government is doing to fix this problem that is targeting specific communities.”

Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto
Protester held a sign during a demonstration in Beverly Hills  on December 4 against Breitbart News and its former editor Stephen Bannon.

Alex said, “I don’t think it’s enough. He talked about himself. He doesn’t talk about how he’s going to try and fix what’s going on. He didn’t talk about how people should be going against antisemitism. He didn’t bring up that antisemitism wasn’t okay, he brought up his own beliefs and his own life. That’s not personally what I want to see from a president. I want to see him doing something about it.”

Tess Owen
At Chesed Shel Emeth Society, a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis that was vandalized on February 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bomb threats are not the only alarming occurrence that has happened to the Jewish Community recently. Destruction of 100 headstones in the Jewish cemetery of Chesed Shel Emeth Society in St. Louis was reported the day the White House acknowledged bomb threats as evil, reported CNN. “I am just perturbed at how nothing seems to be getting done and that’s affecting me because I am worried about my community, I’m worried about my peers, I’m worried about how this will eventually affect me more prominently in my life,” Alex said. The now common vandalism is categorized as a hate crime.  The same anonymous Jewish junior said “As a Jewish person it makes me feel upset that the cemetery was destroyed just because Jewish people were buried there.” Sadly more than one Jewish cemetery has been desecrated. The numbers of destruction raise daily as recent as only days ago. 

I think that Jewish people including myself are just honestly upset that we’re being targeted for our religious views.”

— Jewish Junior

It is documented that number of threats have increased greatly since the inauguration of President Donald Trump.  The Jewish junior remarked,”It would be so upsetting if someone truly wanted to harm people based on their religious views.” As reported by NBC,  the Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,094 incidents in the 34 days after Nov. 8, from antisemitic and anti-immigrant to anti-LGBT and anti-black expressions.  Alex said “People find that it’s okay to act on these things that they have beliefs on like antisemitism and anti-Islam and those types of beliefs because they have a president who has spoken about women derogatorily and has spoken out against other topics that he himself is very against and is making the country very against.”

REUTERS/Mike Segar
Demonstrators held a banner during a “Muslim and Jewish Solidarity” protest in New York City during the month of February.

“Make America Great Again” seems to be the very least of what we have done. People are more divided than ever before. Acts of vandalism and threats have become more prevalent since the inauguration of President Trump and his policies whether they have been enacted or not. The many speeches he has given have made people think that it is okay to act with such hate against minorities. The threats against Jewish people and other groups of people must be stopped.

Bomb threats are terrifying to think about, and we haven’t gotten a legitimate response from the president of our country for things that have been happening since January and that scares me.”

— Alex Kane '18

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SEM news written by students for students, faculty, parents & alumnae
Jewish Students React to JCC Bomb Threats