Latest Wave of Threats, Vandalism, Intimidation Rock Jewish Communities Across U.S.

Desecration of grave sites at cemeteries in Philadelphia and outside St. Louis. Swastikas etched on cars in Miami Beach. Bomb threats forcing evacuation of Jewish community centers.

Another wave of intimidation targeting Jewish communities swept across the nation Monday, and community leaders and law enforcement struggled to stop it.

Jewish sites reported at least 16 bomb threats, said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The latest series of attacks was the fifth this year.

“I have been here more than 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Potok said. “There are provocateurs out there who say that if you don’t like somebody, go after them.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that President Trump was “deeply disappointed and concerned” by the cemetery vandalism and other acts.

“The president continues to condemn these and any other forms of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms,” Spicer said.

But Potok and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt say Trump has failed to consistently speak out against anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“I think, in large part, the election of Donald Trump let the genie of anti-Semitism out of the bottle,” Potok said. “And it’s not going to go back in easily.”

Greenblatt said Monday’s threats raised the total this year to about 90. No bombs have been found.

In Wilmington, Del., Democratic Sen. Tom Carper was meeting with Jewish community leaders at the Siegel Jewish Community Center to discuss the climate of threats and violence when someone called in a bomb threat. The center was evacuated, police investigated, and programs resumed a short time later.

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SOURCE: USA Today, John Bacon