Tucson JCC applauds Senate letter for 'swift action' after bomb - Tucson News Now

Tucson JCC applauds Senate letter for 'swift action' after bomb threat

Tucson JCC applauds Senate letter for "swift action" after bomb threats (Source: Tucson News Now) Tucson JCC applauds Senate letter for "swift action" after bomb threats (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A bomb threat in Tucson on Feb. 27 had more than 150 people holed up inside the Jewish Community Center after an anonymous phone call. But more than a week later, looking around Tuesday, March 7, it was almost as if it never happened.

"Coming back here and seeing things normal is absolutely beautiful. It's like they haven't skipped a beat," said Stan Simmons, who was picking up his young daughter.

But it doesn't mean the danger is gone, as more threats were called in at Jewish institutions across the nation Tuesday.

That was echoed in a bi-partisan letter signed by all 100 United States Senators, including Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. The message was sent to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

C2E7D8A02127C937ECAE58081B792CEB.final Jcc Letter Signed 3.7.17 by Tucson News Now on Scribd

"We write to underscore the need for swift action with regard to the deeply troubling series of anonymous bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers, Jewish Day Schools, Synagogues and other buildings affiliated with Jewish organizations or institutions across the country," the letter stated.

"I was really so thrilled to see that," said Tucson JCC CEO Todd Rockoff. "Then as you go page by page by page and see Senators on both sides of the aisle, standing together, it's so powerful."

Rockoff delivered the same message, speaking with Tucson News Now, saying that the threats are unacceptable.

"I think it says that there is a lack of tolerance for the kind of hateful crime that has been going on, and that's not what the Senate, and not what our country, wants to be represented by."

It was impactful for Rockoff to see the support from the legislators, and even more meaningful to see the visual support from the community. Chalk messages have sprung up on the JCC pavement, with anonymous notes spreading the love.

The city is rallying against the threat, as the nation's leaders do the same. Rockoff hopes the bi-partisan letter is going to be enough.

"I think it is a good, strong message for today," he said. "And I think that there will be many other messages like this until we find the person, or persons, that were responsible."

Federal officials have been investigating more than 120 threats against Jewish organizations in three dozen states since Jan. 9 and a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries. Over the course of Monday evening and Tuesday, there were eight emailed or phoned-in bomb threats in six states plus Ontario, the JCC Association of North America said.

A spokesman for the White House is denouncing the bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the nation. Sean Spicer said Tuesday during a news briefing that President Donald Trump's administration rejects "these latest anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms."

In a note to Tucson News Now Tuesday evening, Arizona Senator John McCain stated, “I was deeply disturbed by the threat made against our friends and neighbors at the Tuscon Jewish Community Center. Such cowardly threats of violence against this and other religious institutions have no place in America, and place the lives of innocent people at risk. That’s why I joined every member of the United States Senate today in urging Secretary Kelly, Attorney General Sessions and Director Comey to address the alarming trend of violent incidents against JCC’s in Arizona and around the country. We expect our nation’s highest law enforcement officials will bring the full weight of federal criminal law to bear to hold all perpetrators accountable, and work to deter similar acts from taking place in the future.”

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake also sent a message to Tucson News Now stating, "These threats against our Jewish neighbors are disheartening and unacceptable, and I was pleased to join the entire Senate in condemning them. I hope our effort will bring a swift and decisive response from federal law enforcement agencies.”

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