Last week, another wave of anti-Semitic bomb threats, cemetery vandalism and physical attacks swept across Indiana and the country.
Hundreds of headstones at Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis were knocked over or shattered. In 11 states, bomb threats targeting preschools were called in to Jewish Community Centers, the fifth wave of threats in 2017.
The Jewish Community Center in Indianapolis was a target of these threats, forcing it to evacuate and shut down until the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s bomb squad called an all clear.
The Indianapolis JCC, its staff and local law enforcement were highly prepared, anticipating the possibility of a bomb threat following the previous waves of such incidents across the country.
Most disturbingly, at Temple Adath B’Nai in Evansville, Indiana, an armed individual walked through a playground to fire a bullet into a temple classroom.
The Editorial Board condemns these attacks and stands with IU’s Jewish community of more than 4,000 students during this wave of hate.
“There is nothing new about anti-Semitic acts in Indiana and across the country, but the recent uptick in these incidents is alarming. I’m particularly disturbed by the way in which more recent episodes have targeted Jewish children,” Tony Satryan, IU senior and past president of the Indiana Hillel Board of Directors said.
“It’s difficult to shake the image of frightened preschoolers being led out of a building in which they are supposed to feel safe because of repeated threats on their lives.”
Across the state and country, leaders and communities are rising in support of their Jewish neighbors.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the FCC to grant the FBI special powers to investigate these attacks.
Vice President Pence rolled up his sleeves in an unannounced visit to St. Louis to help clean up a vandalized cemetery.
In state, Sen. Todd Young, R-IN visited and toured the threatened JCC in Indianapolis to show his support. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-IN and Rep. Andre Carson, D-IN all tweeted their support of the Indianapolis Jewish community.
Rep. Susan Brooks, R-IN reached out to the community to show her support as well.
At the local level, organizations of many faiths and ideologies have come together to condemn this wave of bigotry and acknowledge the work that needs to be done.
“The Jewish community, right now in 2017, is feeling more insecure than it has in two generations, and that’s significant. We like to think that once a battle has been fought and won, we won’t have to fight it again,” Lindsey Mintz, executive director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, said in an interview with the Editorial Board. “However, when it comes to anti-Semitism, the last few years have really shown that our generation is going to have to fight anti-Semitism in the 21st century again.”
Mintz went on to say that anti-Semitism today may look and feel different, but it is still very much a reality for the Jewish community.
IU is a school that celebrates its diversity.
An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. IU stands with its Jewish community because its Jewish community is IU.