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Trump decries threats against Jewish centers

February 21, 2017

Recent bomb threats targeting the Jewish community in the US are "horrible" and "painful," according to US President Donald Trump. The president also urged resistance to all forms of "bigotry, intolerance and hatred."

Besuch US-Präsident Trump im National Museum of African American History and Culture
Image: Reuters/J. Ernst

Trump slammed the anti-Semitic provocations on Tuesday, a day after vandals toppled the headstones of about 170 graves at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, and nearly a dozen of Jewish centers across the US were evacuated due to bomb threats. The tips turned out to be fake.

Commenting on the issue, Trump said the incidents "are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

Trump was addressing the reporters after touring the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

"This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms," Trump said.

Trump's daughter Ivanka also called for protecting Jewish facilities on Twitter.

Ivanka converted to Judaism in 2009 ahead of marrying Jared Kushner.

'Anxiety' high after vandalism in St Louis

Police representative Fredrick Lemons said investigators were checking the surveillance camera footage in Missouri for clues. No arrests were immediately made.

Karen Aroesty, St. Louis regional director of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, said that many headstones were broken, but that there did not appear to be any graffiti.

"Anxiety is high," Aroesty told the press on Tuesday. "Your loved ones are there. Your memories are there."

FBI to investigate

Several series of bomb threats have targeted Jewish facilities since the beginning of the year, affecting over 50 community centers in the US. After the Monday incidents, the FBI said it was joining with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to investigate "possible civil rights violations in connection with threats" to the centers.

While Trump has repeatedly expressed his support to the state of Israel, he was criticized by Jewish group over a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day last month. In the statement, the White House decried Nazi terror but made no mention of Jews, Judaism or anti-Semitism.

dj/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)


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