Bomb threats against Jews must be addressed Joanna Falla March 29, 2017 Opinion The Jewish people have long been persecuted for their beliefs, often becoming the scapegoats for problems the public has no answers to. It has held true time and time again across history that minority groups are often the first to be attacked in a high-pressure situation, and the first to suffer the consequences of bad decisions. Microaggressions have taken place for ages, but since President Donald Trump began his term in January, the hate crimes have greatly increased in number, visibility and severity by up to 20 percent, according to NBC. America as a whole simply cannot have a change in heart and become tolerant to all people overnight. However, bringing to light the major assaults against minority groups across the country will destigmatize the idea of standing up for others. Further reporting of these events will prevent desensitization and incite change in the American people. Feb. 27 marked the fifth bomb threat against a U.S. Jewish Community Center (JCC) since Trumps election. Many people are unaware of the previous four instances, but this attack was reported nationally due to the magnitude of people affected. JCCs from 13 different states were anonymously informed of underground bombs that would kill everyone in the buildings, leading to mass evacuations of the centers. The JCCs in Marin and Palo Alto were among those called, followed by complete evacuation, including their preschool programs. Furthermore, members of the JCC gym and adjacent rental houses were emailed about the threat and advised to stay away from the area until a secondary email was sent out to confirm that the JCCs were safe. Local news reported on these two cases, but bomb threats and attacks were reported in 13 states. This wave of attacks does not include other isolated incidents like the grave desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and Missouri. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” Juan Thompson, an ex-reporter for Intercept, an investigative journalism website was arrested and charged with eight of the JCC bomb threats, as well as for calling in a bomb threat to the Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters in New York. Thompson allegedly made these threats in an attempt to frame a woman he had been harassing. His crimes will likely result in a five-year prison sentence. One cannot make any assumption about whether he is mentally ill, anti-Semitic or an egomaniac, but this event should not be taken likely as it could be a foreshadowing of what the future may hold. The fact that the suspect thought he could have the biggest impact by attacking JCCs should be a large reminder of what large groups of like-minded people can do once an enemy has been identified, whether they are validated or not. These attacks should not just worry the Jewish-American population, but serve as a reminder that any minority group can be targeted as a scapegoat. More recently, the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos was evacuated on March 9 following an anonymous call about a bomb, but this incident received significantly less coverage than previous disturbances. The lack of publicity is not due to underlying anti-Semitism in the media, but rather the growing insensitivity to these random acts of violence. President Trump has not incited violence or blatantly condoned heinous acts against American citizens, but the fact that he does not openly speak about these acts of domestic terrorism invites others to attack minorities, as the assumption is that they will face little to no national attention and only minor consequences. When our president says that the threats were made across the nation “to make others look bad,” one has to wonder what must happen to force him to openly oppose behavior that does not affect him personally. One would think that with his son-in-law and daughter, who are both practicing Jews, along with many Jewish businessmen servings as his closest advisers, President Trump would have the personal connection to make it easier to speak out against this blatant attack on the Jewish people. This is not an opinion stating that Trump condones violence. This article is not made to shift the American people’s blame from one minority group to another. Rather, it is meant to serve as a tale of caution for those who choose to be silent in the face of adversity. Even in a time when bomb threats are a common occurrence, acts of violence should never be taken lightly. Those who argue that people are becoming too sensitive to these heinous acts and microaggressions often lack a personal connection as well the empathy required to interject in social issues. Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller wrote a poem after spending seven years in Nazi concentration camps, which sums up the current American attitude. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.