Fresh wave of bomb scares hits three JCCs in US


From The Times Israel:

Jewish centers in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Boulder receive bomb threats via email.

Jewish community centers in three states were hit with bomb threats between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with at least two coming via email. All were deemed to be non-credible.

JCCs in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Boulder, Colorado received the threats, according to local news reports. The threats in St. Louis and Boulder came via email; Atlanta’s JCC would not comment on the nature of the threat. All three JCCs had received bomb threats this year.

The scares are the latest of nearly 150 bomb threats to hit JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish institutions since the beginning of the year. The threats have mostly come in waves, via phone and email. Many of the institutions have been threatened more than once.

“The safety and security of our members, staff, and guests is always our top priority,” read a statement from Atlanta’s Marcus JCC on Tuesday’s threat. “We will not let this threat deter us from our mission and the responsibility we have to be the safe, welcoming, inclusive, and diverse communal town square for the generations of Atlantans who have relied on us.”

On Sunday, at least six JCCs in the US and Canada received bomb threats which were found to be non-credible. They were reported at JCCs serving Rochester, New York, Chicago, Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Houston, Texas. The calls and email came as Jewish communities around the globe celebrated the holiday of Purim.

The FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies have been investigating the threats, but have yet to charge anyone with committing the vast majority of them. Juan Thompson, a St. Louis resident, has been charged with committing eight of the threats, but appears to be a copycat.

On Thursday, a top New York police official said most of the threats were likely being carried out by a single individual using phone spoofing technology to mask the source of the calls.

Also Tuesday, the website for the metropolitan Detroit area’s Walk for Israel was hacked and peppered with hate-filled and anti-Semitic expressions.

20 minutes from DC: ‘Jewish pigs’ and swastikas


Anti-Semitic acts have been on the rise in the US ever since Trump’s election to president; a Jewish family in a North Virginia town recalls the frightening details of finding a swastika etched on the front door of their house.

Maya Berman was shocked to discover on Monday that a swastika had been carved onto the door of her North Virginian house when she returned home from work at 6pm, but her concern only increased when she found anti-Semitic pejorative the following evening.

“We’re in complete shock,” she told Ynet. “Until today, none of us personally felt any kind of anti-Semitism.”

Berman’s husband, Shai van Gelder, is a California native who previously came to Israel to volunteer for combat service with the IDF. He said that upon discovering the swastika he thought that this was a one-off occurrence, “but the next day, Tuesday, we were shocked to find that someone had added to the door of the house the words ‘JEW PIGS.'”

Berman told Ynet, “This isn’t ‘fake news’; it’s real, and it’s scary. We only live 20 minutes form the capital Washington, and we didn’t expect to see something like this in our lifetime.”

The couple reported the incident to the police, who still don’t know who was responsible. In the interim, they recommended that the couple stay alert.

“We spoke with the superintendent about putting up security cameras, and we’re definitely considering buying a weapon,” Berman said. “Jewish organizations, like the Jewish Federation, promised to look into the matter with the authorities. The JCRC told me that there’s been an increase by dozens of percent in the number of anti-Semitic incidents against Jews since Trump was elected.”

In a post Berman described her feeling following the discovery: “shock, rejection, anger, nausea, and a lot of despair—none of these words even begins to describe how I felt.”

“Please, tell me more about how racism and anti-Semitism no longer exist. Go on… we live in the wealthiest county of North Virginia, only twenty minutes from our capital. Is there no more grace in this world?” She continued.

A wave of hate crimes
On the same day in which the swastika was sprayed in North Virginia, other swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were sprayed in a high school and public library in Northbrook, Chicago, as well.

American media outlets have claimed that the wave of hate crimes and harassments, some distinctly anti-Semitic, have accompanied Trump’s election since November. The Washington Post published that the FBI stated that Anti-Semitic crimes are among the most common religious hate crimes in the US, and that racist violence against Jews is on the rise.

A month ago, a Jewish family from Arizona discovered that vandals had defaced the large menorah they placed in their backyard and turned it into a huge swastika. Another family from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, received threats and insults after national newspapers published stories according to which they had allegedly got their son’s school to cancel their Christmas production.

Original Article: YNet News



The FBI has not named any suspects or described a likely motive for the bomb threats earlier this week.

A wave of telephone bomb threats to 16 Jewish community centers in nine US states may have originated from the same number and been placed by at least one individual and an automated calling system, security officials said on Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the calls, which led to evacuations at some of the community centers on Monday, but resulted in no attacks or injuries. Police who searched the centers found no bombs.

The FBI has not named any suspects or described a likely motive for the bomb threats, and it was not clear why the centers in the US Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and South regions were targeted.

Some of the phone calls were made using an automated “robocall” system, while others were placed live by at least one individual, said Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit group that advises Jewish groups on security.

Automated calling has been used for threats before, including in January 2016 when a string of apparent hoaxes disrupted U.S. schools, but the tactic is still considered unusual.

“Bomb threats to Jewish communities are nothing new,” Goldenberg said in a phone interview. “What’s extraordinary is that we had so many in such a short period of time.”

The phone calls were made to Jewish community centers in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

All of the centers were back to normal operations on Tuesday after being declared bomb-free, the JCC Association of North America said. The centers offer children’s programs, fitness rooms and other services.

It was not clear if the calls were related to bomb threats against several British schools. Most of those schools were Jewish, and an analysis indicated the calls there came from separate countries, a source who monitors security threats said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It was possible that the US incidents “may have originated from the same phone number,” said Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, which he said was working with the community centers and law enforcement.

FBI officials declined to comment on the progress of their investigation but said in a statement that they were encouraging the public to be vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities that could be a threat to public safety.

Jewish organizations would step up security training and staff to counter threats, Goldenberg said.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Top US official: Rise of antisemitism creates ‘acute’ need for security grants for Jews


The FBI reported last year that 57 percent of reported anti-religious hate crimes had an anti-Jewish bias.

Painting a grim picture of Jewish vulnerability in the United States, a top US security official said that the vast majority of funds earmarked to secure non-profits goes to Jewish institutions because their need is most acute.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the deputy homeland security secretary, speaking Wednesday to the Orthodox Union’s annual leadership mission to Washington, said rising extremism in the United States and its threat to the Jewish community helped keep him awake nights.

He said the threat had shifted in the last year from the relatively small number of Americans who were radicalized overseas, to homegrown extremists whom the Islamic State terrorist group had reached through the Internet. The FBI was tracking more than one thousand suspected extremists across the United States, and they were to be found in all 50 states, he said.

“They find great access to a radicalizing Islam” on the web, Mayorkas said of the homegrown extremists. “They find what they believe is purpose and meaning in their life.”

“The nonprofit security grants approved by Congress — $20 million this year — ‘preeminently’ go to the Jewish community,” Mayorkas said.

“The need is most acute in the Jewish community because of the ascension of antisemitism and hate crimes we see,” Mayorkas said.

In past years, more than 90 percent of the funds have gone to Jewish groups. The FBI reported last year that 57 percent of reported anti-religious hate crimes had an anti-Jewish bias.

Mayorkas challenged Jewish leaders to raise awareness about potential threats, to hire better-trained security staff, to add protections at Jewish institutions, to train the community in how to respond to an active shooter, to establish relationships with local police and to increase cyber security. He said hackers could access personal information about Jewish children who are affiliated to Jewish organizations and use it to target them.

“This is real,” he said. “This is real. We must treat the imminence” – of an act of terrorism – “as real.”

He said his trepidation was in part formed by his upbringing. Mayorkas’ mother is a Romanian Jew who survived the Holocaust and who moved to Cuba after marrying a Cuban Jew. They moved to the United States after the Cuban revolution.

Among the things that “keep me up at night,” he said, was the threat to “my community,” the Jewish community, he said.

“I come from a tradition of a lack of security instilled in me as a very young person,” he said.

He said extremism was rising across the world.

“We live in a time of increasing concern, not diminishing concern,” Mayorkas said. “If one takes a look at some of the political leaders gaining ascension across the globe, it does not give me comfort with respect to the Jewish community,” he said, stressing that he was referring to foreign leaders and not domestic politicians.

Mayorkas also urged leaders to contact Paul Goldenberg, who heads the Secure Community Network, the security arm of the Jewish Federations of North America, to learn more about how to secure their institutions.

Separately, Goldenberg was reappointed Wednesday to the Department of Homeland Security’s advisory council, which consults with Mayorkas and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Goldenberg was first appointed to the council in 2013.

Orginal Article: The Jerusalem Post

CAIR Must Stand Trial in D.C. for Massive Fraud

cair trial

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today unanimously reversed a trial court’s ruling dismissing a fraud case brought against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The result of the appellate court’s ruling [1]is that CAIR National, operating out of the District of Columbia, must stand trial and allow a jury to hear all of the evidence of the massive fraud and attempted cover up carried out by CAIR and perpetrated against hundreds of CAIR fraud victims.

In January of last year, Judge Paul Friedman, the federal judge presiding over a five-year old lawsuit alleging that CAIR defrauded hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim clients, issued a shocking ruling when he summarily dismissed the lawsuit, which was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Immediately, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) and the Law Offices of David Yerushalmi appealed, asking the D.C. Circuit to reverse Judge Friedman and reinstate the plaintiffs’ claims against CAIR.

The appellate court heard oral arguments in February of this year, and issued its unanimous ruling today.

David Yerushalmi, lead counsel for the five plaintiffs in the two consolidated cases alleging that CAIR hired a fake lawyer who defrauded the CAIR clients, explained the decisiveness of the appellate court’s ruling:

“The Court of Appeals not only unanimously reversed the trial court, sending the case back for a jury trial, but it carefully went through each fact we argued Judge Friedman either dismissed out-of-hand or ignored completely to justify his clearly erroneous ruling, explaining further why each fact supports our claims against CAIR.”

CAIR, a self-described Muslim public interest law firm, was previously named as a Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the federal criminal trial and conviction of a terrorist funding cell organized around one of the largest Muslim charities, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). HLF raised funds for violent jihad on behalf of Hamas, and top CAIR officials were part of the conspiracy. In addition, several of CAIR’s top executives have been convicted of terror-related crimes. As a result, the FBI publicly announced that it has terminated any outreach activities with the national organization, which bills itself as “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.”

The pending lawsuits allege that Morris Days, the “Resident Attorney” and “Manager for Civil Rights” at the now defunct CAIR-MD/VA chapter in Herndon, Virginia, was in fact not an attorney and that he failed to provide legal services for clients who came to CAIR for legal representation. As alleged, CAIR knew of this fraud and purposefully conspired with Days to keep the CAIR clients from discovering that their legal matters were being mishandled or not handled at all. Furthermore, the complaints allege that according to CAIR internal documents, there were hundreds of victims of the CAIR fraud scheme.

According to court documents, CAIR knew or should have known that Days was not a lawyer when it hired him. But, like many criminal organizations, things got worse when CAIR officials were confronted with clear evidence of Days’ fraudulent conduct. Rather than come clean and attempt to rectify past wrongs, CAIR conspired with its Virginia Chapter to conceal and further the fraud.

To this end, CAIR officials purposefully concealed the truth about Days from their clients, law enforcement, the Virginia and D.C. state bar associations, and the media. When CAIR did get irate calls from clients about Days’ failure to provide competent legal services, CAIR fraudulently deceived their clients about Days’ relationship to CAIR, suggesting he was never actually employed by CAIR, and even concealing the fact that CAIR had fired him once some of the victims began threatening to sue.

While Judge Friedman agreed that Days and CAIR’s Virginia chapter were liable for fraud, he concluded, after improperly weighing the evidence, that CAIR National in D.C., the named defendant in the lawsuit, was not responsible for Days’ fraudulent conduct. The appeals court, however, found that Judge Friedman was wrong on each and every fact raised by the plaintiffs, concluding, contrary to Judge Friedman, that each fact supports finding a direct relationship between CAIR National and Days.

David Yerushalmi, who is also AFLC’s co-founder and senior counsel, remarked:

“CAIR engaged in a massive criminal fraud in which literally hundreds of CAIR clients have been victimized. In his ruling, Judge Friedman inexplicably ignored material facts that establish CAIR National’s liability and then engaged in a transparently disingenuous ‘weighing’ of the factual evidence he did address, which is patently improper when evaluating cross-motions for summary judgment. We are thankful that the appeals court has rectified the trial court’s errors. Now, at long last, our clients will go before a jury and get their day in court.”

Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of AFLC, added,

“This ruling is a significant victory. Not only does it reinstate our claims against CAIR, but it makes plain that we have an incredibly strong case to present to a jury. In short, CAIR has no way out. It is a fraudulent organization, and we will get a chance to prove that to a jury.”
Original Article: Pamela Geller


BC vs cair

Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson wants the IRS to investigate the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The Saudi-funded, terror-tied CAIR may have jeopardized its non-profit status and violated the law by calling for Carson to step down and withdraw from the presidential race.

Routinely described as a “Muslim advocacy group” and a “civil rights organization” by the mainstream media, CAIR’s foundations tell a very different story. CAIR’s founder and current leader, Nihad Awad, has proven ties to Hamas, a U.S.-designated Palestinian terrorist group. FBI wiretaps found that Awad asked early CAIR employees to use coded-language when discussing their support for Hamas, due to its terror designation.

CAIR also has significant ties, if not membership, with the global Muslim Brotherhood, as the founders of CAIR were all members of Muslim Brotherhood-launched outfits.

CAIR has “brazenly violated IRS rules” as a tax-exempt organization, which are prohibited from intervening “in a political campaign on behalf of—or in opposition to—a candidate,” Carson alleged.

“Under the Obama administration, the IRS has systematically targeted conservative nonprofit groups for politically motivated audits and harassment,” Dr. Carson, one of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination for President, said in a statement on his website. “The agency should now properly do its job and punish the real violators of America’s laws and regulations.”

Meanwhile, Carson has seen a surge in contributions towards his campaign in the past 36 hours. Campaign manager Barry Bennett told ABC News on Thursday that the GOP contender has raised about $700,000 in the past 36-hours.

“This is not the first time that CAIR has disrespected U.S. laws or America. It has previously lost its tax-exempt status by failing to file federal taxes three years in a row. It had also been named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal conspiracy to funnel money to Hamas, a terrorist organization,” Dr. Carson reminded readers on his website.

The feud between Dr. Carson and CAIR started when the GOP nominee suggested that he would not “advocate for” a Muslim to become president of the United States. Carson would later clarify that he was talking about Muslims that follow Sharia Law, which calls for barbaric treatment of non-Muslims and women. CAIR then responded by calling for Carson’s immediate resignation. Instead of taking questions at their press conference suggesting Carson step down, CAIR ejected a Breitbart reporter for asking questions of the terror-tied outfit.

Original Article: BREITBART

Northwestern University faces 3rd anti-Semitic incident this year


Construction workers report graffiti on windows of Ryan Field on campus consisting of swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols.

During last week’s commencement ceremony at Northwestern University in Chicago, Rabbi Dov Klein publicly discussed the anger being directed towards the Jewish community, specifically a recent anti-Semitic attack, the third time such an incident occurred on campus this year.
Construction workers reported graffiti on the windows of Ryan Field on campus, the vandalism consisting of swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols.

Just two weeks ago, the university suffered a similar attack when graffiti was found spray painted on another construction site on the grounds. Other reported vandalism for the school includes a swastika found drawn in the library and a menorah on campus has been vandalized a total of three times just in the past year and half.

A student government at the university also passed a resolution to boycott Israel this past year, which is something that Klein believes may be connected to the rise of anti-Semitism on campus.

Klein addressed the perpetrators, asking them where their anger was coming from and telling them that their behavior was unacceptable. He went on to say that he wished he could understand why the perpetrator was vandalizing the campus, adding that an explanation of what the symbols meant and represented might be in order as well.

“We want to know if (the perpetrators) were just being goofy or making a statement of some sort,” he said.

“I’m going to assume that the person is angry,” he continued. “Angry at the Jewish community. Angry at Israel. It doesn’t seem to be a dumb act and what better way to express that anger than at graduation… These windows open up and until somebody is found or until some strong actions are taken, that window will remain open.”

Anti-Semitism on campus has been on the rise over the last few years, particularly in the US. Back in March, a Jewish fraternity at Vanderbilt University in Nashville found two swastikas painted in the elevator of the Alpha Epsilon Pi house.

The University of California Riverside received backlash when undergrad, Tina Matar, taught an anti-Semitic class supporting Hamas and other terrorist groups. The university didn’t pull the class on the grounds that it didn’t violate any of the terms outlined in the school’s mandate.
“Unfortunately, people have a lot of anger toward the Jewish people and they come up with a little bit of a window of openings to express it,” Klein said in an interview with The Algemeiner.

Original Article: Ynet News

FBI Director Makes Holocaust Museum Program Mandatory for New Agents

FBI holo

FBI director James Comey called the Holocaust the most significant event in history and said that’s why a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum program on its lessons is mandatory for new agents.

Speaking Wednesday at the museum’s National Tribute dinner in Washington, Comey made a point of noting that new special agents and intelligence analysts must attend the Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust program.

“It is of course significant because it was the most horrific display in the world of inhumanity,” Comey told the 1,000 donors, dignitaries and survivors at the dinner. “But I believe it was also the most horrific display in world history of our humanity, of our capacity for evil and for moral surrender.”

He added, “Good people helped to murder millions. And that’s the most frightening lesson of all. That is why I send our agents and our analysts to the museum. I want them to stare at us and realize our capacity for rationalization and moral surrender.”

The FBI has participated in the program since 2009. The program, which was developed in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, was launched in 1998.

Prior to Comey’s remarks, the 2015 Elie Wiesel Award was presented to Benjamin Ferencz and Thomas Buergenthal.

Ferencz is the last surviving prosecutor of the war crimes trials at Nuremberg. Ferencz was 27 years old when he won convictions against 22 Einsatzgruppen, a particularly ruthless faction of German SS, who were charged with the murders of 1 million people. After the war, Ferencz helped lay the groundwork for the International Criminal Court.

“Never again has been happening ever again,” Ferencz said in a pretaped message. “We need laws and courts and enforcement. And the enforcement arm is very weak, so the public is the court of last resort. I turn the world now back to you and hope you’ll have a more peaceful world than I have seen. Good luck.”

Buergenthal, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz, served for 10 years as a judge to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands. In his remarks, he drew parallels between himself and his friend, and the award’s namesake, Wiesel, a Nobel peace laureate and renowned Holocaust memoirist. He also paid homage to the more than 1 million children murdered in the Holocaust.
“Think of the scientists, medical doctors, scholars, artists, musicians, poets, writers, astronomers, teachers and philosophers these children might have become had they been allowed to live,” he said. “We will never know how many future Nobel Prize winners were among the children who perished.”

Among those on hand for the dinner were Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee; Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.; and Mohammed Dajani, the former Al-Quds University professor who led Palestinian students on a visit to Auschwitz last year.


Article Origin: Virtual Jerusalem

FBI: California terror plot ‘very serious case’

By Washington Guardian |

Washington Guardian

Men had ambitions to join Taliban, al-Qaida, agent testifies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three Southern California men charged this week with plotting to kill Americans and bomb U.S. military bases overseas spent months preparing for a trip to Afghanistan where, authorities say, they hoped to join the Taliban and eventually graduate to the ranks of al-Qaida.

They seemed determined to reach their goal — even excited about the prospects of being terrorists — and weren’t dissuaded when at least one of them suspected someone might be following them.

The men were unaware that one of their cohorts was an FBI informant who recorded conversations that helped thwart the plot by what authorities called a valid, homegrown extremist network.

“The main lesson learned is: Don’t underestimate these groups,” said FBI Special Agent David Bowdich. “This is a very serious case. I think ultimately the outcome was a success.” Read more….

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