(JNS.org) Vandals recently damaged some 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri, and nearly a dozen Jewish community centers (JCCs) received bomb threats Monday, amid an uptick in anti-Semitism across the U.S.
Police said Monday that they were investigating the vandalism at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery near St. Louis, Mo.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said on Twitter that he was “disgusted to hear about the senseless act of desecration at the cemetery.”
At the same time, 11 JCCs were targeted with bomb threats Monday. Police eventually gave the all clear at each JCC. Since, January, a total of 54 JCCs in 27 U.S. states have received bomb threats, according to the JCC Association of North America.
In a statement, the FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said they are “investigating possible civil rights violations in connections with threats to Jewish community centers across the country.”
“I’ve been in the business for 20-plus years, and this is unprecedented,” said Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Secure Community Network, CNN reported. “It’s more methodical than meets the eye.”
In the aftermath of being criticized for his lack of response to the ongoing rise in anti-Semitism, President Donald Trump told NBC Tuesday morning, “I will tell you that anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop, and it has to stop.”
Ivanka Trump, the president’s Jewish daughter, tweeted, “America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship and religious centers.”
American Jewish organizations and Israeli leaders also voiced their concern over the vandalism and bomb threats. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home party, called the incidents “an assault” against the American Jewish community.
“We are confident the authorities will do everything in their power to apprehend those responsible for these horrific acts and continue to fight any display of anti-Semitism,” Bennett said.