As news broke on Thursday that a dual American-Israeli citizen teenager was responsible for the bulk of bomb threats called into Jewish community centers and other Jewish organizations, reactions poured in on social media and in press releases. Here is a round-up of takes from community leaders, politicians, writers and other notables.
Jonathan Greenblatt, President of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement “While the details of this crime remain unclear, the impact of this individual’s actions is crystal clear: These were acts of anti-Semitism. These threats targeted Jewish institutions, were calculated to sow fear and anxiety, and put the entire Jewish community on high alert. Even though it appears that the main culprit behind the majority of these attacks has allegedly been identified, anti-Semitism in the U.S. remains a very serious concern. No arrests have been made in three cemetery desecrations or a series of other anti-Semitic incidents involving swastika graffiti and hate fliers. JCCs and other institutions should not relax security measures or become less vigilant.”
Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, speaking to the Forward: “It is clear that, unlike what many of the pundits said, it was not the work a Trump-loving white nationalist. As a fellow Jew and Zionist, it deeply pains me that it turns out to be a Jewish teenager. But he is apparently a deeply disturbed individual. It would not be appropriate to smear the Jewish people with this.”
JCC Association of North America, in a statement: “On behalf of the JCC Association of North America and JCCs across the continent, we are gratified by the progress in this investigation, and applaud the commitment and leadership of the FBI and other federal agencies, Israeli law enforcement, and local law enforcement across the United States and Canada. We are troubled to learn that the individual suspected of making these threats against Jewish Community Centers, which play a central role in the Jewish community, as well as serve as inclusive and welcoming places for all – is reportedly Jewish.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement: “Today’s arrest in Israel is the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country… The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro:
JournalistsForward’s D.C. correspondent Nathan Guttman: Washington Post blogger Sarah Posner: Tablet senior writer Yair Rosenberg:
Far RightFormer KKK Grand Wizard David Duke: Social media celebrity Mike Cernovich:
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.