MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After dozens of bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers across the country, and after a Jewish cemetery was vandalized so badly that the vice president went to see it for himself, South Florida’s members of Congress are demanding the federal government do more.
“We all believe it is very serious. This is something that has to be taken seriously,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “It has to stop and the federal government needs to use its resources to go after these domestic terrorists because that is what they are.”
The concerns were spelled out in a letter to the heads of the FBI, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
It was signed by more than 150 members of Congress who say just “looking into the matter” won’t suffice.
The letter read, in part:
“We urge the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to swiftly assess the situation and to advise Congress on what specific steps are being taken, or will be taken, to deter such threats from being made, to identify and prosecute the perpetrators for violations of federal criminal laws, and to enable JCCs to enhance security measures such as physical barriers and guards, in the event that an individual seeks to act upon these threats.”
There has been a sudden upsurge of threats and vandalism directed against Jewish institutions in the U.S.
Headstones were toppled in St. Louis and bomb threats were made in Houston and Milwaukee.
Jewish community centers in South Florida were victimized by bomb threats, causing them to be evacuated.
“We are all very horrified by this massive growth in hatred across the country, particularly so much has focused on Jewish institutions,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin.
An indicator that the issue has now resonated at the highest levels, Vice President Mike Pence visited the vandalized St. Louis cemetery, even helping with the cleanup.
“There’s no place in America for hatred or acts of prejudice or violence or antisemitism,” he said.