The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI said late Monday they are investigating bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish community centers across the U.S. On Monday alone, at least 10 community centers received bomb threats, forcing many to evacuate while officials searched the premises, NBC News reported. Separately, more than 170 tombstones at a historic St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery were toppled and damaged in a weekend attack that included sites that hold the remains of Holocaust survivors. Police have not determined the motivation of that attack or whether it constitutes a hate crime, according to local reports. The bomb threats were reported at community centers in Albuquerque; Birmingham, Alabama; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Cleveland; Houston; Milwaukee; Nashville; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Tampa. “We are aware of a number of bomb threats at JCCs. Js are working directly w/local authorities to make sure people & premises are safe,” the JCC Association of North America posted in a tweet. Jewish community centers have seen a spike in bomb threats in 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told NBC News that “hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the premise of individual freedom. The president has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.” Though his daughter Ivanka tweeted her support for Jewish centers late Monday, President Trump himself has yet to comment on the reported spike rising in anti-Semitic incidents.