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It’s Been a Truly Awful Week of Antisemitism in America

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It’s Been a Truly Awful Week of Antisemitism in America 1

Children being arrested for planning synagogue attacks and a nationwide swatting spree targeting Jewish community centers capped off yet another horrible week for antisemitism in North America.

Almost 200 Jewish community centers were targeted with swatting calls in a single day last weekend. The Secure Community Network, an organization that works with Jewish communities to provide security, said in a press release it has “tracked staggering 199 (and counting) swatting incidents and false bomb threats targeting Jewish facilities.” This includes “93 in California, 62 in Arizona, 15 in Connecticut, five in Colorado, and four in Washington.”

Swatting is the process of making a false police call in the hopes of sending a SWAT team to a targeted address. It has led to several deaths of innocent people at the hands of police.

“The alarming volume of swatting incidents and false bomb threats being carried out across the country is a major concern for the safety and security of the Jewish community in North America, as well as law enforcement,” SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters said in a statement. “It’s critical to recognize that these are not victimless crimes or innocent pranks: they can have real—and even deadly—consequences.”

These threats led to the evacuation of several synagogues and religious institutions, including a Hebrew preschool.

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An FBI memo obtained by ABC News indicates that authorities believe the spree is coordinated and is coming from outside of the United States. “Based on similar language and specific email tradecraft used, it appears the perpetrators of these threats are connected,” the memo which was sent by Assistant FBI Director Cathy Milhoan reads.

Earlier this month, a minor was arrested in Orange County, California, for making swatting calls against synagogues and Black churches over the summer. The FBI indicated that the minor was working in part with a group to make the calls.

Last week a minor in Canada was arrested and received several charges for an alleged plan to attack a synagogue. Public details about the case are sparse because of the accused’s age, but authorities say that earlier this week, he received three more charges, two in connection with handling explosives.

“The RCMP is concerned with the growing trend of violent extremism, in particular, the increase in youth involvement,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wrote in a release announcing the new charges.

Finally, this week a judge handed down a unique sentence to a 13-year-old boy who was arrested in September after he shared a plot to shoot up a synagogue on the gaming app Discord. The minor received a year of probation and was ordered to read and write a report about a book about Carl Lutz, a Swiss diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews in World War II.

In Washington D.C., an Ohio man was arrested after spraying two people outside of a synagogue with a noxious-smelling substance and shouting “gas the Jews.”

There has been a demonstrated and legitimate rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks since October 7, when Israel declared war on Hamas in response to a terrorist attack. This wave of incidents includes the murder of a 6-year-old Muslim boy by his parents’ landlord. Authorities said that the 71-year-old man arrested in connection to the killing targeted the child and his mother because of “the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.”

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