National Headquarters Of Anti-Defamation League Receives Bomb Threat

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -A bomb threat was phoned in to the national headquarters of the Anti-defamation League in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Authorities have deemed the threat not credible. But as CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, the threat came amid what appears to be a rise in anti-Semitic attacks across the country.

“We are working with law enforcement officials to determine if it is connected to similar threats against Jewish institutions across the country,” said ADL chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt. “This is not the first time that ADL has been targeted, and it will not deter us in our efforts to combat antisemitism and hate against people of all races and religions.”

The threat came into the Jewish group’s offices on Third Avenue near East 39th Street about 11 a.m. Police searched the building and tried to track down where the call came from.

“When you get a bomb threat, it’s something that’s very jolting,” said ADL New York Regional Director Evan Bernstein. “I think it’s a challenge. People don’t come into work expecting to have a bomb threat.”

“Staff could stay in the building or they could leave. We had a lot that left, and we also had a lot that stayed, and it was a very disconcerting late morning, early afternoon for our staff,” Bernstein added. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted quickly.

“The anonymous bomb threat to the Anti-Defamation League’s national headquarters this morning is unacceptable, un-American and – disturbingly – increasingly common,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “This despicable act of antisemitism completely contradicts the values we hold dear as New Yorkers. This is now a national crisis as a troubling pattern of recent anti-Semitic threats have been directed at Jewish Community Centers on a regular basis, including Buffalo, New York City, Albany, and Syracuse.”

Cuomo said he has directed the New York State Police to work with federal and local law enforcement agencies to investigate the threat.

“Make no mistake, we will find these perpetrators and hold them fully accountable for their actions,” Cuomo added.

There has been a wave of bomb threats targeting some 54 Jewish community centers across the country.

Just Monday morning, gravestones were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. Vice President Mike Pence appeared at the cemetery on Wednesday.

“We condemn this vile act of vandalism and those who perpetrate it in the strongest possible terms,” Pence said. “Let me say it’s been inspiring to people all across this country to see the way the people of Missouri have rallied around the Jewish community with compassion and support.” 

The ADL bomb threat also came a day after President Donald Trump spoke out about the wave of anti-Semitic incidents that are spreading across the country.

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers 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,” the president said Tuesday.

The ADL said it appreciates Trump’s statement, but it wants to see more from everyone to fight antisemitism.

“We were glad the president did that, but I think now it’s about what the office will continually do to support these communities,” Bernstein said.

“Other local electeds; at the state level – we need to see more of it. We’ve seen it from mayor (Bill) de Blasio and Governor Cuomo. We need to see more of it. We need to see people who are going to stay with the constituent basis and speak out against hate, because these things are affecting the local communities.”

Pence said President Trump reached out to the Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to offer another statement against antisemitism. Greitens is the first Jewish governor of Missouri.

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