A number of Jewish community centers across the country received bomb threats today, including three on Staten Island; one in Tarrytown; one in Scarsdale; one on Long Island; and one in New Jersey. Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "Make no mistake: these reprehensible and cowardly attacks are not limited to the Jewish community. They are assaults on all New Yorkers and I vow that we will do everything in our power to catch those responsible for this wave of hate crimes."
The JCCs on Staten Island—in Sea View, Arden Heights and Tompkinsville,— were evacuated while police investigated. The threats were found to be not credible. An employee at the Joan and Alan Bernikow JCC on Staten Island told the Staten Island Advance that she received a brief bomb threat call from a caller who sounded male. The suspect reportedly said the bomb would explode in two hours, but the threat was not specific to the Bernikow center, and police responded to all three JCC locations.
Apparently 12 states received threats to Jewish community centers. CBS News reports, "The calls came within a couple hours of each other... A U.S. law enforcement official told CBS News the threatening phone calls appear to be coordinated and are coming from both within the country and from overseas. The FBI is also examining whether hacked communication devices were used, the official said."
— ADL (@ADL_National) February 27, 2017
Bomb threat at the JCC where my high school's Project Graduation party was held. pic.twitter.com/Q4IUb9VhmX
— 💀Maggie Serota 💀 (@maggieserota) February 27, 2017
Cuomo has asked the State Police to work with local and federal law enforcement to investigate the threats. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, whose midtown Manhattan headquarters received a threat last week, said, "While this latest round of bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers and day schools across the country again appears to not be credible, we are nonetheless urging all Jewish institutions to review their procedures. Since the start of 2017, we have witnessed nearly 90 bomb threats being called into JCCs... Unfortunately, bomb threats are not the only manifestation of anti-Semitism in recent weeks as we have seen Jewish cemetery desecrations strike St. Louis and Philadelphia."
Here is Governor Cuomo's full statement:
"Today we witnessed another round of bomb threats, this time directed at Jewish Community Centers in Tarrytown, Staten Island, New Rochelle, and Plainview, which appear to be part of a recent wave of threats against JCCs in New York and across the country.
"Make no mistake: these reprehensible and cowardly attacks are not limited to the Jewish community. They are assaults on all New Yorkers and I vow that we will do everything in our power to catch those responsible for this wave of hate crimes.
"In response to these anti-Semitic attacks, I am ordering the State Police to work with our federal and local law enforcement partners to investigate these threats and apprehend those responsible. Last week, my administration announced among other measures a $25 million grant program to boost safety and security at New York’s schools and day care centers at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.
"I share the pain and the outrage of so many New Yorkers who are affected directly and those who are sickened by watching these attacks unfold. We will not allow anyone to intimidate or strike fear in the state of New York. The full force of government will be brought to bear in these efforts and these perpetrators will be punished."