TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump is “deeply disappointed and concerned” by the uptick in anti-Semitism across the U.S., White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday.
Spicer responded to the recent wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish schools and community centers and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
“The president continues to condemn these and any other form of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms,” he said at a White House press briefing. “No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly. The president is dedicated to preserving this originating principle of our nation.”
On Monday, anonymous telephone calls were made to Jewish institutions in 11 states with bomb threats. Jewish day schools were evacuated and local law enforcement summoned to investigate the threats.
David Posner, director of strategic performance at the JCC Association of North America, called on the authorities to condemn the wave of antisemitism.
“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities,” he said in a statement.
“The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out — and speak out forcefully — against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country,” he continued. “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.”
“We remain grateful to local law enforcement who continue to serve our communities and ensure that our JCCs and schools remain safe and open for business as the vital community institutions they are,” Posner concluded.
The desecration of the cemeteries prompted Trump to condemn antisemitism and demand that it stop.
“Antisemitism is horrible and it’s going to stop,” Trump told NBC News after visiting the African-American museum in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. “And it’s gonna stop and it has to stop.”
“The antisemitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are a painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”