Bomb threats were reported Monday at 16 Jewish Community Centers in nine states, including Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, and New Jersey. Bombs threats were also reported at three Jewish schools in London, Haaretz reported Monday.
Paul Goldenberg, the director of the Jewish community security group Secure Community Network, confirmed that all of the reports were false. Nevertheless, some believe the threats reflect a sinister shift in the nation’s atmosphere.
“We’re in a completely different world now than we were a couple years ago,” Goldenberg told Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “What is unprecedented is in the shortest period of time we received a substantial number of bomb threats. These offenders are leveraging technology to intimidate and/or terrorize communities.”
Barry Ables, a JCC Columbia official, felt similarly, telling Haaretz that most people “are relieved that it was just a scare, but people are also thinking about the changing climate. Perhaps a bit more boldness on the part of people, to try and disrupt people’s lives, scare other people or promote acts of hate.”
Jewish Telegraphic Agency said FBI and Homeland Security officials will discuss the incidents Wednesday in a conference call with American Jewish community leaders. The call will also address ways of dealing with similar incidents in the future.
“Unfortunately, such threats are not new to the Jewish community,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said. “While each of these threats must be taken seriously, and excellent preparation is key to a good response, bomb threats are most often not credible and are usually used as scare tactics in order to disrupt an institution’s operations, and to cause fear and panic. At this juncture, none of these threats appear to be credible.”