Leaping to West Coast: 29 Bomb Threats Against Jewish Targets Across U.S. in Fifth Wave

JCCs, schools and an ADL office in 16 states receive bomb threats. 'I am angry that Trump, and especially Bannon, have let these feelings loose in American society,' D.C. mother says.

People evacuated because of a bomb threat return to the David Posnack Jewish Community Center and David Posnack Jewish Day School, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Davie, Fla.
People evacuated because of a bomb threat return to the David Posnack Jewish Community Center and David Posnack Jewish Day School, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Davie, Fla. Wilfredo Lee/AP

Bomb threats against Jewish targets leaped from the East to the West Coast on Monday afternoon, bringing the number of centers threatened to 29 in yet another such wave sweeping the United States.

According to the JCC Association of North America, bomb threats targeted centers and schools in 16 states on both coasts: Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.

>> For Full List of Bomb Threats >>

The Anti-Defamation League's San Francisco Regional Office was also evacuated after a bomb threat was recieved Monday afternoon. This was the second bomb threat recieved by an ADL office this past week, after its New York headquarters was also targeted.

This is the fifth such wave in less than two months. Last week, at least 11 Jewish centers in five U.S. states were targeted with bomb threats in a single day. According to the JCC Association, Monday's wave brought the total of called in bomb threats over the last two months to 89 incidents at 72 locations in 30 states and 1 Canadian province.

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The Secure Community Network, the security arm of the national Jewish community, reported Monday afternoon JCC evacuations in Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona; Orange County, Palo Alto, San Diego and Long Beach in California, Southern Nevada, and Mercer Island in suburban Seattle, Washington state. 

Earlier evacuations in the day were reported in North Carolina, Michigan, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. They included 13 JCCs and eight schools.

"I am angry more than scared," said Janet, a lawyer from D.C. whose children go to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, which was evacuated Monday. "I am angry that Trump, and especially Bannon, have let these feelings loose in American society. That he hasn't condemned these acts.  That he is vulgar, and is allowing vulgar racism and anti-Semitism to come out. I am angry that my life and my children's lives are being disrupted."

"I will call the White House, of course, lots of parents are going to do that, and tell them that Trump should speak up.  But we shouldn't have to pressure him to speak up.  He should do that because he is the President. "

“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities," David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America, said in a statement. "The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country."

"Jews, given their history, are appropriately wary of threats to their safety," Prof. Leonard Saxe, director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University said. "The systematic targeting of JCCs by threatening phone calls is a serious matter. I doubt that there's a direct relationship to the heated rhetoric coming out of the White House, but it may be a reflection of the same social forces of disaffection that are behind the election upset."

On Sunday, a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia became the latest victim of vandalism, when dozens of headstones were broken and toppled in an incident Israel decried as "shocking" and as "a source of worry."

The incident in Mt. Carmel Jewish cemetery comes less than a week after hundreds of Jewish graves were desecrated St. Louis in what many took as a continuation of anti-Jewish incidents, including numerous bombs scares at Jewish centers.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters that recent bomb threats made against Jewish groups are "unacceptable" and a "very serious and destructive practice."