Federal officials have been investigating 122 bomb threats called in to nearly 100 Jewish Community College schools, child care and other facilities in three dozen states.
Local Jewish community center’s sites in Wynnewood and Cherry Hill have been among the institutions that have been threatened.
In addition to the anti-Semitic acts, a fatal shooting of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, one of two Indian men shot inside a bar in Olathe, Kan., is being investigated as a hate crime.
Witnesseses to the shooting said Adam Purinton, a 51-year-old White man, yelled “Get out of my country” at Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, both 32, before opening fire.
Kuchibhotla was killed and Madasani was wounded. Both were working as engineers for GPS device-maker Garmin.
President Donald Trump opened his address to a joint session of Congress last week by condemning the recent threats against Jewish community centers and the fatal shooting in Kansas
Trump said that “while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”
He rightly received criticism from some civil rights groups that accused him of being slow in denouncing the violent acts.
Trump also has to take some responsibility for creating an atmosphere of intolerance during his campaign for president.
Alt-right groups that spout anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric publicly praised the election of Trump and the elevation of Steve Bannon to White House chief strategist and senior adviser.
Bannon is the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a website he described as “the platform for the alt-right.” Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke called Bannon’s selection “excellent.”
On March 3, police began to make some progress in arresting those directly responsible for the attacks.
Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis and appeared in federal court in Missouri on March 3 on a charge of cyberstalking.
Thompson, who is Black, made threats in his name and in the woman’s name, and his first one was Jan. 28 to the Jewish History Museum in New York, authorities said.
Federal authorities said Thompson made up an email address to make it seem like the woman was sending threats in his name. Authorities said Thompson made threats this way to Jewish facilities in Farmington Hills, Mich., and New York.
Thompson, a former journalist, was fired from the Intercept last year after he was accused of fabricating several quotes and creating fake email accounts to impersonate people, one of whom was the Intercept’s editor-in-chief, Betsy Reed. One of the stories involved Dylann Roof, the man convicted in the fatal church shooting in Charleston, S.C.
Some use the arrest of Thompson as proof that hate crimes are exaggerated or mainly perpetuated by members of racial and religious minority groups themselves.
But a report released in February showed that “the number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016 as the radical right was energized by the candidacy of Trump.” The information was contained in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations.
With more than 100 bomb threats reported nationwide, the investigations on the rash of anti-Semitic and racist acts do not end with Thompson’s arrest.