ADL: We Want Action, Not Just Words From Trump Against anti-Semitism

In an interview with Haaretz, Jewish watchdog urges president to take steps to stem wave of incidents after ADL office in NY hit by a bomb threat following four waves of such threats to Jewish centers across America.

President Donald Trump denounces threats against Jewish community centers as "horrible," on February 21 2017, in his first forceful statement against anti-Semitism.
Evan Vucci/AP

The Anti-Defamation League demanded on Wednesday that President Donald Trump take action to fight anti-Semitism, following a bomb threat on the organization's New York headquarters.

>> Get all updates on the Jewish world and Trump: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>

Oren Segal, director of the ADL's Center on Extremism, told Haaretz:  “What we are hoping is that the President consistently speaks up about antisemitism, and statements are important, but so are actions. We also need to see actions."

The latest threat followed four waves of coordinated bomb threats to Jewish centers across the United States in the past two months and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Many in America's Jewish community are wondering why it is taking so long to apprehend the perpetrators of these crimes.

“A lot of people are asking this question,”’ Segal told Haaretz from the New York office that had been threatened earlier on Wednesday. The ADL's director, Jonathan Greenblatt, tweeted that the group was planning on asking Trump what is plan was to combat anti-Semtism.

The New York City Patch reported that the threat was called into ADL’s Manhattan headquarters at about 11:08 a.m. Wednesday, quoting police.  The reports did not say whether the building had been evacuated.

>> Explained: Are hate crimes targeting Jews increasing since Trump came to power? <<

Segal said the ADL was "in contact with the FBI, who are doing what they can" to bring the perpetrators to justice. The investigation was complex, "but the way people or groups are using technology to harass makes it much more complicated to investigate.

"Perhaps a comprehensive investigation from the Department of Justice, along with the attorney general bringing all their powers to this issue" can do it, he said.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday addressed the bomb threats made to Jewish sites for the first time, saying that "anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil." 

Segal, pointing to a rise in hate crimes against the Jewish community, urged that the president offer more than denunciations.

“What we are hoping is that the President consistently speaks up about anti-Semitism. Statements are important, but so are actions. We also need to see actions. Perhaps bringing the Justice Department or Attorney General to investigate this issue," Segal said.

Segal also called for the legislation of additional hate crime laws, especially in states that do not have them.

“With the rise of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim crimes, now is the time to make sure that every state has hate crime laws,”’ he said.