In a sad and frightening display of hate towards the Jewish community, neo-Nazis started calling Jewish community centers with bomb threats and violent hate speech. There were at least 17 Jewish centers that received these types of threats and it’s the third time this has happened in just a month. On January 9th, 16 Jewish centers received threats, and on January 18th, at least 28 received threats.
The threats hit Jewish centers across the country, including centers in Albany, New York; Syracuse, New York; West Orange, New Jersey; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; San Diego, California; and Salt Lake City, Utah. There were even preschools that received these threats.
A Jewish center in New Haven, Connecticut has now been the target of multiple bomb threats after already suffering a fire on December 5, 2016. That Jewish center is now spread out over a few locations because of that fire, and it evacuated people from all its locations after this most recent bomb threat. Fortunately this threat, like the others, turned out not to credible, so everyone was able to return to the center after law enforcement confirmed that it was safe.
It’s clear that neo-Nazis and white supremacists feel more empowered than ever now that Trump is in office and has selected neo-Nazi Stephen Bannon, one of their own, to a senior role in his White House. Under this new administration, the White House’s latest Holocaust Memorial Day statement didn’t even include any words about all the innocent Jewish people who were killed during the Holocaust. White House press secretary Sean Spicer came to the statement’s defense, saying that the writer is Jewish and a descendent of Holocaust survivors, and accusing the media of nitpicking.
However, the mainstream media isn’t the only one that noticed the omission of the Jewish people who died in the Holocaust. Neo-Nazis also picked up on it and felt even more emboldened, believing that the White House was sending them a message. On the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, a writer known as Zeiger wrote an article stating that the entire incident was “a subtle nod to us.” Zeiger also took the White House’s response to the criticism, or “attack by the Jews,” as it doubling down on its rhetoric and saying that it doesn’t regret a thing.
Just weeks into his administration, Trump chose to single out Muslims because of their religion and refuse them entry into the United States. Not only that, he did so on the day dedicated to the memory of the 11-million innocents who lost their lives because of the Nazis. It’s not a coincidence that the very next week saw another string of threats targeting Jewish centers. It’s obvious where this road of threats and eventually violence can lead, as it has already played out before over the course of history. What’s terrifying is that it’s now happening again.
The only way to fight this is to be united against Bannon and Trump, standing up or people regardless of their religion, race or nationality and making sure they feel safe here in the United States. Despite what neo-Nazis may think or feel, Americans have long been opposed to Nazism. During World War II, almost half a million Americans gave their lives to help defeat the Nazis and protect the innocent. It’s sickening to think that one person could so drastically change our nation 70 years later and make it an autocracy. But the people have power in this country, and that’s why everyone must stand together and make it clear that they don’t tolerate what’s happening.