NYPD investigates synagogue bomb threats, rise of antisemitic incidents across city

Sonia Rincón Image
Monday, May 6, 2024
NYC syngogues on alert following bomb threats
Sonia Rincon has the details from the Upper West Side.

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- As unrest about the war in the Middle East continues on college campuses, this weekend, the NYPD investigated threats that are all too common - bombs in holy places.

This weekend there were at least four bomb threats - three at synagogues and one at the Brooklyn Museum.

Antisemitic incidents are on the rise, but it is giving rise to some timely discussions about how to stop the hate.

"I've talked to so many New Yorkers who now are afraid to go to their house of worship because they're afraid they'll be a target," said Senator Charles Schumer.

As threats that forced evacuations at synagogues on Saturday are investigated, Senator Schumer says this exactly why the latest appropriations bill adds another 400 million dollars houses of worship can apply for in federal grants for items like cameras and guards.

"To help boost security at synagogues, churches mosques, and more. And so there's ample dollars now," Schumer said.

Antisemitic incidents more than doubled in the city since the war in Gaza compared with the same period a year earlier.

As protests condemn Israel, a bill introduced by New York Congressman Mike Lawlor would define antisemitism. It's controversial with First Amendment advocates but has passed the House with bipartisan support.

"If you say that Israel should be destroyed from the river to the sea with all the Jewish people eliminated, that's a problem and it crosses the line. But of course, you can disagree with something the government of Israel is doing," said Rep. Josh Gottheimer.

If it becomes law, the Education Department could use the definition of antisemitism to cut off funding to academic institutions found to tolerate it.

This weekend, protests continued on campuses, even at graduation ceremonies, and while at least one encampment was removed peacefully at the University of Southern California, there were dozens of arrests at the Art Institute of Chicago and University of Virginia this weekend as police moved in on encampments there.

"Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations - none of this is a peaceful protest," said President Joe Biden.

"When those protests reach the point of violence as the president stated, we have to ensure that we use a minimum amount of force to terminate what is perceived to be a threat," said Mayor Eric Adams.

Senator Schumer said on Sunday that he has been in touch with the FBI, which is actively looking for the person who made the threats against synagogues. He said it takes time, but the FBI has a good track record of finding those who make these kind of threats.

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Kristin Thorne has the results of a 7 On Your Side Investigation.


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