Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017...1:53 pm

Twin Cities hit by spate of anti-Semitic crimes

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The St. Paul JCC was among the JCCs evacuated on Monday. (Screenshot from YouTube)


The St. Paul JCC was evacuated on Monday, after receiving a bomb threat. The robo-call message came at about 10 a.m., as part of the fourth wave of bomb threats called in to JCCs across the United States this year.

The bomb threats this week affected at least 10 JCCs in six states, including the Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC in Whitefish Bay, Wisc., north of Milwaukee.

After the St. Paul JCC was evacuated, St. Paul police sent in officers, including a bomb squad. No bombs or dangerous devices were found and the JCC reopened in the early afternoon, according to a report in the Pioneer Press.

A similar bomb threat was called in to the Sabes JCC, in St. Louis Park, on Jan. 18. In all of the cases this year, the threats were false.

The Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul expressed relief that the St. Paul JCC “was evacuated safely and nothing was found after a thorough investigation by the authorities.”

In a statement sent to the Jewish World, Steve Brand, Federation president, and Eli Skora, the agency’s executive director, said: “Through our partnership with the JCRC, Federation will continue to focus on the security of our community. We hope that the perpetrators of these abhorrent acts against Jewish Community Centers in the Twin Cities and across the country will be found and brought to justice.”

In a related development, the University of Minnesota has seen a series of anti-Semitic acts, mostly in the form of vandalism. There have been at least eight incidents since December, according to the school’s Bias Response and Referral Network.

Among these acts was a collection of fliers for a neo-Nazi website posted around campus this past week (“White man are you sick and tired of the Jews destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneration?” one asked); and a Jewish student returned to his dorm room on Feb. 8 to discover that it had been vandalized with a swastika and an illustration of a concentration camp, along with the words “Nazis rule.”

Most recently, an 18-year-old student from St. Cloud was arrested Feb. 16 for drawing a swastika on a publicly shared desk in a residence hall. The student was released from custody and it is not clear if he will be formally charged. The university released a public statement about the incidents, saying: “The University of Minnesota condemns all acts of hate on our campus.”

“We are a community that values respect, inclusion and diversity. Hate is not welcome here,” the statement continued.

(American Jewish World, 2.24.17)

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