Washington Members Call for Information from Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation on Disturbing Threats Targeting Jewish Community Centers
Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), joined by Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Dave Reichert (WA-08), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Denny Heck (WA-10), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), released the following statement in response to Monday evening’s bomb threat that lead to the evacuation of the Mercer Island Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, Washington:
The Members of Congress joined in sending a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to share a deep concern with increasing number of alarming bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers in over thirty states, sowing fear and anxiety in our communities. The letter requests that in the wake of these threats, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the DOJ and FBI must tirelessly investigate these matters, and prosecute all offenders to the fullest extent possible.
“A clear message must be sent that hatred and bigotry have no place in America, and they will not be tolerated,” the members of Congress wrote. “We stand with the Jewish Community both here in Washington state and across the country following a disturbing number of threats against Jewish community centers in recent months. Our community will continue to remain one that values diversity, and promotes respect for people of all races and religions.”
The Members look forward to continued, regular dialogue with both the DOJ and FBI to ensure that they can continue to keep their constituents informed.
Read the full letter HERE, text below.
Dear Attorney General Sessions and Director Comey,
We write to you regarding the increasing number of alarming bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers in over 30 states, sowing fear and anxiety in our communities. These malicious, deliberate, and clearly coordinated attacks have singled out Jewish schools and gathering places, endangering the lives of children, and we seek to partner with you in helping to combat this rash of hateful, criminal acts. While we understand that your investigation is ongoing, we are formally requesting to be briefed on the efforts of the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to resolve and address this crisis. We encourage both agencies to employ all legal avenues and resources at your disposal to stop these crimes.
The safety and well-being of Americans is of the upmost importance, and with more than 100 threats having been received by the writing of this letter, we are extremely concerned that this represents an increase in anti-Semitic activity across the country. Anti-Semitic attacks occupy the largest percentage of religiously rooted hate crime, and they have been increasing in number over the last several years. The Pacific Northwest in particular has been witness to horrific attacks against the Jewish Community, including the July 2006 shooting at the Seattle Jewish Federation, resulting in the tragic death of one individual.
In the wake of these threats, as well as the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, we ask that the DOJ and FBI tirelessly investigate these matters, and prosecute all offenders to the fullest extent possible. A clear message must be sent that hatred and bigotry have no place in America, and they will not be tolerated. We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication put forward by the agents, investigators, and prosecutors in your organizations. We look forward to continued, regular dialogue with you to ensure that we can continue to keep our constituents informed.