- Shelia Poole The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta received another bomb threat on Tuesday night, according to an email from Chief Executive Officer Jared Powers.
“We followed all of our security protocols,” the email read. “Together with local law enforcement and our security team, the campus was thoroughly searched and we received the all clear. The safety and security of our members, staff, and guests are our top priority.”
This is the second threat that the Jewish center, which also has a school on its property, has received since the start of the year. It received a threat on Jan. 9, but officials declined to say whether the threat was made in an email, by phone or in a letter.
Powers said in another email that the MJCCA has confidence in the FBI and Homeland Security as they conduct ongoing investigations.
“We will not let this threat deter us from our mission and the responsibility we have to be the safe, welcoming, inclusive, and diverse communal town square for the generations of Atlantans who have relied on us,” the email read. We wake up each day committed to ensuring that everyone, of every background, has access to the programs and services that we offer.”
It is part of a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in recent months, including the vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in suburban St. Louis and numerous threats to Jewish institutions.
Earlier this month, four Anti-Defamation League offices, including one on Piedmont Road in Buckhead, received bomb threat. The threatening telephone calls came on the same day a school and four Jewish Community Centers were targeted in yet another round of nationwide threats.
The latest threat comes just days before the arrival in Atlanta of more than 500 rabbis from the United States, Canada and other nations for the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ annual convention. On the agenda will be a discussion of hate crime against the Jewish community, discrimination and how to be effective faith leaders in turbulent times.
Among the speakers is Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center . The Montgomery-based nonprofit tracks and combat hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation.
According to the Anti-Defamation League’s national website, there have been more than 160 threats to Jewish institutions within the last three months.
The organization recently announced it had secured seed funding from Omidyar Network to build a state-of-the-art command center in Silicon Valley to monitor, track, analyze and mitigate hate speech and harassment across the Internet.
“We are deeply concerned by the latest incident,” said Dov Wilker, regional director of the Atlanta regional office of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). “We are grateful that the law enforcement community is looking into these threats. The community needs to remain vigilant in identifying these threats and making others aware that they are happening. We encourage members of the community to reach out to their political and civic leadership to condemn these heinous attacks.”