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Israeli arrested in connection with anti-Jewish bomb threats

An Israeli-American teenager was arrested in Israel by the FBI for being behind a flood of false anti-Semitic bomb threats.

Published: March 26, 2017, 10:42 am

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    More than 150 threats have been carried out against Jewish institutions in America since the start of the year, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

    Israel’s anti-fraud squad arrested the 19-year-old suspect at his home on Thursday. After searching the premises, he was brought to court and will remain in custody until March 30.

    Trump supporters claimed vindication that attacks previously blamed on white Trump supporters and alleged “hate crimes” resulting from Trump’s election, may actually have been carried out by a young Jewish American Israeli. The ADL had repeatedly charged Trump with emboldening “white extremists”, “anti-Semites” and nationalist groups in the US.

    Breitbart News noted: “When the president suggested that some of the anti-Semitic hate crimes could be hoaxes, the (leftwing) Huffington Post claimed he was echoing ‘white nationalists and far-right conspiracy theorists’. However, the arrests thus far suggest that most of the threats were indeed hoaxes.”

    Marc Zell, vice-president of Republicans Overseas, tweeted: “The US Jewish leadership owes @POTUS an apology.”

    As more details emerged on Friday, the Jewish suspect arrested on Thursday in Israel who holds dual Israeli American citizenship, was accused of making hundreds of anti-Semitic bomb threats in the United States and elsewhere, including one against a major airline. Sadly, according to reports, his father may have known what he was doing.

    Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday that the net started to tighten around the suspect after a threat received from New Zealand in 2016, was identified by the IP address as originating from Israel.

    “In a short time, a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered. Their heads are going to be blown off,” one of the threats read, according to a recording obtained by the JTA.

    Over the past two to three years, Israeli police said he carried out a series of threats from his family home in southern Israel. In February 2015, he made a bomb threat against Delta Airlines, forcing a plane to carry out an emergency landing.

    Trump commented last month that the threats were a “false flag” attack. According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Trump told a meeting of states’ attorney generals that “Sometimes it’s the reverse,” and attacks are made “to make people – or to make others – look bad”.

    The president had received stinging rebukes from Jewish Americans for his perceived lack of response to the rise in “hate crimes” against Jews. Bend The Arc, a liberal Jewish group, complained that “Trump helped to create the atmosphere of bigotry and violence that has resulted in these dangerous threats against Jewish institutions and individuals”.

    In February, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect issued a statement to Trump, saying: “Rightly or wrongly, the most vicious anti-Semites in America are looking at you and your Administration as a nationalistic movement granting them permission to attack Jews.”

    Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said during a March 10 news conference on the bomb threats: “We’re in unprecedented times. We’ve never seen, ever, the volume of bomb threats that we’ve seen. White supremacists in this country feel more emboldened than they ever have before because of the public discourse and divisive rhetoric.”

    US Jewish organisations have now tried to downplay the political fallout of the arrest, saying the involvement of a Jew did not end legitimate fears. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, told The Jerusalem Post the arrest in Israel posed a risk “that people won’t take the ongoing concerns seriously”.

    A representative of a major global Jewish organisation, who did not want to be named, told AFP that Trump’s false flag claim would gain traction.”Those sort of statements that everyone thought were totally outlandish at the time now sound somewhat more reasonable.”

    The JCC Association of North America called the news of an arrested Jewish suspect “troubling”, while the Jewish Federations of North America said the involvement of a Jew was “heartbreaking”.

    The other suspect in the bomb threats, arrested earlier in March, is an African-American former journalist who apparently had issues with a former white girlfriend because he is black.

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