More than 150 members of Congress signed on to a letter urging federal law enforcement officials to investigate recent bomb threats leveled at Jewish community centers across the country.
The bipartisan letter, sent Feb. 22, was initiated by Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla. The letter urged the Department of Homeland Security, the attorney general and the FBI to “approach this issue with a sense of urgency, and to work in partnership with state and territory governments, local law enforcement officials, JCC Association of North America, individual JCCs, and Jewish community institutions and leaders to address the threat in a holistic manner.”
Since Jan. 9, there have been over 70 bomb threat incidents at JCCs and other Jewish institutions in 27 states and one Canadian province. All were hoaxes but forced the evacuation of many of the buildings. In the latest wave, threats were called in to 11 JCCs on Monday.
“We urge the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to swiftly assess the situation and to advise Congress on what specific steps are being taken, or will be taken, to deter such threats from being made, to identify and prosecute the perpetrators for violations of federal criminal laws, and to enable JCCs to enhance security measures such as physical barriers and guards, in the event that an individual seeks to act upon these threats.” the letter reads.
The JCC Association of North America welcomed the letter.
“JCC Association of North America applauds this bipartisan effort toward an issue impacting communities across the country, and we are grateful for Rep. Murphy and Rep. Crowley’s leadership,” Stephen Seiden, chairman of the JCCA’s board of directors, said in a statement. “We urge the administration and federal agencies to continue joining us in prioritizing our communities’ safety, and we look forward to seeing the perpetrators brought to justice quickly.”