Jewish cemetery vandalized, bomb threats target community
Niles Niemuth, WSWS, Feb 28 2017
In a continuing surge of anti-Semitic acts and threats across Pindostan, several hundred gravestones were toppled or damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, late Saturday night. The attack came amid a wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers and schools and less than a week after vandals overturned some 200 headstones at Jewish cemetery in University City, a suburb of St Louis, Missouri. While police initially reported that upward of 100 headstones were vandalized at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia, volunteers helping clean up on Sunday stated that more than 500 gave sites had been damaged. Destruction at the cemetery was extensive, with row after row of headstones knocked over. Some stones more than a century old were split in half. A group of activists calling themselves Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery, who had raised $133k to assist in cleaning up the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery near St Louis, announced Sunday that they will also donate some of the money to help clean up the Mount Carmel Cemetery. The ADL is offering a $10k reward for information. The JCC Association reported that there were 21 separate bomb threats on Monday against 13 community centers and eight Jewish day schools across Pindostan. Three locations in the Philadelphia suburbs were evacuated on Monday. The targeted organizations in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, NJ, NY, NC and RI were all evacuated by local police, searched and found to be clear of any explosive devices. Jennifer Weiss of the Jewish Federation of southern New Jersey told the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Has there been anything like this in our lifetime? It’s just devastating! It’s unbelievable!
Monday’s incidents brings the total number of bomb threats against JCCs and day schools since the beginning of January to 90, affecting 73 institutions in 30 states and Canada in five separate waves. David Posner of the JCC Association of north Pindostan, released a statement on Monday appealing to the federal government to act swiftly to find those responsible for the continuing anti-Semitic threats. Posner demanded:
Actions speak louder than words. Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities.
Pres Trump made a half-hearted belated denunciation of anti-Semitism last week after coming under pressure from Jewish organizations. VP Pence made a trip to the Missouri cemetery on Wednesday, where he made a show of helping the cleanup effort. Reacting to the latest acts of vandalism in Philadelphia, Sean Spicer told a presser on Monday that Trump was “deeply disappointed and concerned.” Despite the hollow condemnations of anti-Semitism coming from Trump and his surrogates, it is clear that anti-Semitic elements in Pindostan have been emboldened by his election and the nationalist and anti-immigrant policies being pursued by his administration. Trump has filled his White House with virulent nationalists and outright fascists. Steven Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart News, an online bastion of the alt-right neo-Nazis and anti-Semites, is Trump’s chief strategist. The latest survey of active “hate groups” by the SPLC found that the number grew for the second year in a row in 2016 from 892 to 917, the highest number since 2011. At least 407 of these were KKK, Neo-Nazi, White nationalist or racist skinhead organizations.