(JTA) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to set up a task force to catch the callers who have made false bomb threats to Jewish community centers across the country.
In its statement issued Tuesday, the Jewish human rights NGO said it also called on President Donald Trump to outline his administration’s plan to combat what the center called “surging anti-Semitism.”
The statement said the center appreciated “the efforts made by law enforcement to protect people of all faiths,” but added that “given the current circumstances,” it was urging Session to create the task force “with the assignment of identifying and capturing the culprit or culprits who seek to terrorize American Jewry through their threats.”
“The multi-pronged threats of anti-Semitism today demand concerted action,” Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, dean and associate dean, respectively, of the center, said in the statement. “We look to President Trump to take a leadership role in addressing the problem of anti-Semitism and hate in America head-on in a speech at a time and place of his choosing.
“We need lead leadership from the top to effectively combat the hate.”
Trump on Tuesday morning condemned anti-Semitism, calling it “horrible” and saying it “has to stop.”
Jewish groups and political leaders have called on Trump to speak out against anti-Semitism, especially after four waves of bomb threats called in to dozens of JCCs in the past five weeks.
The JCC Association of North America said that since Jan. 9, there have been 69 bomb threat incidents at 54 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province. All were hoaxes but forced the evacuation of many of the buildings.