More than 150 members of Congress signed on to a letter urging federal law enforcement officials to investigate recent bomb threats leveled at Jewish community centers around the country.

Wednesday’s bipartisan letter, initiated by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to “approach this issue with a sense of urgency, and to work in partnership with state and territory governments, local law enforcement officials, JCC Association of North America, individual JCCs, and Jewish community institutions and leaders to address the threat in a holistic manner.”

Since Jan. 9, there have been at least 69 bomb threat incidents at 54 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province. All were hoaxes. The latest wave of threats came on Monday, when threats were called in to 11 JCCs.

“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.” the letter reads.

The JCC Association of North America welcomed the letter.

“JCC Association of North America applauds this bipartisan effort toward an issue impacting communities across the country, and we are grateful for Rep. Murphy and Rep. Crowley’s leadership,” said Stephen P. Seiden, chairman of the JCCA’s board of directors, in a statement. “We urge the administration and federal agencies to continue joining us in prioritizing our communities’ safety, and we look forward to seeing the perpetrators brought to justice quickly.”

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The complete text of the letter is as follows:

 

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February 22, 2017

 

The Honorable John F. Kelly

Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20016

 

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
The Honorable James B. Comey
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535

 

 

Dear Secretary Kelly, Attorney General Sessions, and Director Comey,

 

We write to express our deep concern regarding the recent spate of anonymous bomb threats made via telephone against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) across the nation.  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.

 

This is not an idle concern, given that there have been at least three casualty-causing attacks at JCCs or other Jewish institutions in the last two decades—in 2014 at a Kansas JCC, in 2006 at the Jewish Federation of Seattle, and in 1999 at a California JCC.  This is a national problem and, as such, it requires a national solution.

 

In the first two months of 2017 alone, there have been 68 incidents targeting 53 JCCs in 26 states, according to JCC Association of North America.  A number of JCCs, such as the Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando, have received multiple threats.

 

These phone calls have an immediate emotional impact, of course, but they also have an economic impact.  JCCs provide a range of educational and community services for Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and families, with a particular focus on children and youth.  The individuals who make these calls no doubt recognize that bomb threats, particularly when repeated, can compromise and even destroy a JCC’s financial future.

 

We urge you to approach this issue with a sense of urgency, and to work in partnership with state and territory governments, local law enforcement officials, JCC Association of North America, individual JCCs, and Jewish community institutions and leaders to address the threat in a holistic manner.  We look forward to your response regarding the specific steps being taken to prevent and respond to this threat.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sincerely,

 

1.         Rep. Stephanie Murphy

2.         Rep. Joseph Crowley

3.         Rep. Val Demings

4.         Rep. Daniel Donovan

5.         Rep. Marcy Kaptur

6.         Rep. Tim Ryan

7.         Rep. Grace Meng

8.         Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

9.         Rep. Steve Cohen

10.       Rep. Nydia Velazquez

11.       Rep. Alcee Hastings

12.       Rep. Juan Vargas

13.       Rep. Jimmy Panetta

14.       Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

15.       Rep. Rosa DeLauro

16.       Rep. Leonard Lance

17.       Rep. John Lewis

18.       Rep. John Sarbanes

19.       Rep. Paul Tonko

20.       Rep. Jim Cooper

21.       Rep. Darren Soto

22.       Rep. Dwight Evans

23.       Rep. Nita Lowey

24.       Rep. Jerrold Nadler

25.       Rep. Matt Cartwright

26.       Rep. John Yarmuth

27.       Rep. Kathleen Rice

28.       Rep. Pramila Jayapal

29.       Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

30.       Rep. Charlie Crist

31.       Rep. Ted Deutch

32.       Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton

33.       Rep. John Delaney

34.       Rep. David Joyce

35.       Rep. Brian Higgins

36.       Rep. Donald McEachin

37.       Rep. William Keating

38.       Rep. Brenda Lawrence

39.       Rep. Betty McCollum

40.       Rep. Frederica Wilson

41.       Rep. James McGovern

42.       Rep. Lois Frankel

43.       Rep. Elijah Cummings

44.       Rep. Eliot Engel

45.       Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart

46.       Rep. Charlie Dent

47.       Rep. Michael Capuano

48.       Rep. Claudia Tenney

49.       Rep. Alan Lowenthal

50.       Rep. Luis Gutierrez

51.       Rep. David Cicilline

52.       Rep. Thomas Suozzi

53.       Rep. Sander Levin

54.       Rep. Seth Moulton

55.       Rep. Rick Larsen

56.       Rep. Suzanne Bonamici

57.       Rep. Brad Schneider

58.       Rep. Jacky Rosen

59.       Rep. Jose Serrano

60.       Rep. Dina Titus

61.       Rep. Tom MacArthur

62.       Rep. Carolyn Maloney

63.       Rep. Jackie Speier

64.       Rep. David Scott

65.       Rep. John Conyers

66.       Rep. Brendan Boyle

67.       Rep. Derek Kilmer

68.       Rep. Jan Schakowsky

69.       Rep. Blake Farenthold

70.       Rep. Eric Swalwell

71.       Rep. Bill Pascrell

72.       Rep. Suzan DelBene

73.       Rep. Patrick Meehan

74.       Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

75.       Rep. Robin Kelly

76.       Rep. Peter Welch

77.       Rep. Danny Davis

78.       Rep. Donald Beyer

79.       Rep. Kyrsten Sinema

80.       Rep. Donald Norcross

81.       Rep. Bill Johnson

82.       Rep. Filemon Vela

83.       Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

84.       Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

85.       Rep. Joe Courtney

86.       Rep. Gus Bilirakis

87.       Rep. Gerald Connolly

88.       Rep. WM Lacy Clay

89.       Rep. Ryan Costello

90.       Rep. Anna Eshoo

91.       Rep. Elizabeth Esty

92.       Rep. Diana DeGette

93.       Rep. Daniel Lipinski

94.       Rep. Kathy Castor

95.       Rep. Ted Lieu

96.       Rep. John Larson

97.       Rep. James Langevin

98.       Rep. Jim Himes

99.       Rep. Bill Foster

100.     Rep.  Earl Blumenauer

101.     Rep. Keith Ellison

102.     Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

103.     Rep. Jim Bridenstine

104.     Rep. Peter Visclovsky

105.     Rep. Hank Johnson

106.     Rep. Terri Sewell

107.     Rep. Salud Carbajal

108.     Rep. Joyce Beatty

109.     Rep. Dave Trott

110.     Rep. John Faso

111.     Rep. Robert Brady

112.     Rep. Greg Meeks

113.     Rep. Mike Thompson

114.     Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen

115.     Rep. Stephen Lynch

116.     Rep. Doris Matsui

117.     Rep. Julia Brownley

118.     Rep. Frank Pallone

119.     Rep. Bill Posey

120.     Rep. Al Green

121.     Rep. Adam Schiff

122.     Rep. Josh Gottheimer

123.     Rep. Adriano Espaillat

124.     Rep. Yvette Clarke

125.     Rep. Raul Grijalva

126.     Rep. Jamie Raskin

127.     Rep. Ron Kind

128.     Rep. Marc Veasey

129.     Rep. Barbara Lee

130.     Rep. Albio Sires

131.     Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott

132.     Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

133.     Rep. Vern Buchanan

134.     Rep. Jared Polis

135.     Rep. Carol Shea-Porter

136.     Rep. Andre Carson

137.     Rep. John Katko

138.     Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

139.     Rep. Carlos Curbelo

140.     Rep. Sanford Bishop

141.     Rep. Frank LoBiondo

142.     Rep. Marcia Fudge

143.     Rep. Christopher Smith

144.     Rep. Ruben Gallego

145.     Rep. Peter Roskam

146.     Rep. Jared Huffman

147.     Rep. James Renacci

148.     Rep. Raul Ruiz

149.     Rep. Zoe Lofgren

150.     Rep. Richard Neal

151.     Rep. Vicente Gonzalez

152.     Rep. Patrick Tiberi

153.     Rep. Joseph Kennedy

154.     Rep. Tom O’Halleran

155.     Rep. Mia Love

156.     Rep. Steve Stivers

157.     Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

 

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