Monday, April 24, 2017

Arizona's Anti-Semitic Incidents Already Exceed Total 2016 Hate; Plus, Breaking News On JCC Bomb Threats

Arizona has already seen 15 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, easily surpassing the total for all of 2016 by 50%. This exceeds a spike being seen across the nation.  The startling news from the Anti-Defamation League comes the same day that reports from Israel indicate the teen charged with most of the bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in Arizona and across the country may have been paid by others on the "Dark Net" to place the computerized calls.

The ADL - which monitors and fights bigotry and hate of all stripes - released its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents (U.S.) and supplemented it with news of an 86% surge in the first quarter of 2017 (compared to the same period in 2016).

Arizona suffered 13 incidents between January 1-March 31, 2017, according to ADL Arizona
Goodyear Farm Cemetery,
Avondale, 2017
Regional Director Carlos Galindo-Elvira. Two more incidents (see accompanying pictures) have taken place in April.

Five anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Arizona in 2015. That doubled last year, with a couple of high-profile vandalism examples following the Presidential election.

"The trend we're seeing in vandalism and harassment incidents from 2015 through 2017 is clearly disturbing" Galindo-Elvira tells Arizona's Politics. "ADL is the organization for this time to counter anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, prejudice and bigotry."

Galindo-Elvira also noted in ADL Arizona's news release that it is "fully committed to fighting anti-Semitism in Arizona by speaking-up, speaking-out and working with law enforcement, at all levels, to put a halt to hateful incidents.” 


Central Phoenix, 4/2017
Nationally, the ADL reports that anti-Semitic incidents - including acts of vandalism, harassment and assaults - increased 34% in 2016, compared to 2015. The headline notes that the 1st quarter of 2017 shows an 86% surge over the previous year's period. 

However, that includes the more than 100 bomb threats allegedly made against Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. by a young man in Israel (with dual citizenship). On the surface, that may have raised questions about the anti-Semitic nature of those threats.

Coincidentally, the unnamed teen was indicted TODAY in Israel. A report on the indictment in the Jerusalem Post raises the possibility that the young man was paid by unknown persons (with unknown motives) to make the computerized phone calls.
"The Justice Ministry said the defendant also used the so-called “Dark Net” to sell his cyber intimidation and extortion services to clients who paid him electronic currency according to a price list he posted with set fees for calls to police stations, schools or airports.
He was also accused of using the undetectable Web network to deal in illegal drugs and sell computer kits to counterfeit official documents, manufacture poisons and explosives and to hack into social media accounts.
His business landed him roughly $225,000 in bitcoin currency, and at one point he employed two other individuals to operate as subcontractors, carrying out his tasks."
(Even if all of the 146 JCC (etc) bomb threats were removed from ADL's national numbers, it would still show an increase in the hate incidents between 1Q16 and 1Q17.)

This report contributed by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich.

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