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Trump: Anti-Semitic Threats Against Jewish Community Centers 'Horrible, Painful'

Image: Trump: Anti-Semitic Threats Against Jewish Community Centers 'Horrible, Painful'

(Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Feb 2017 10:36 AM

President Donald Trump denounced anti-Semitism on Tuesday morning, making his most forceful remarks to date about a spate of threats to Jewish community centers around the country.

He spoke after a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture which he said provided a "meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all forms."

"The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil," he said.

His comments came in the wake of pressure to address an increase in threats against Jewish institutions nationwide.

On Monday, 11 Jewish community centers across the country received phoned-in bomb threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. Like three waves of similar calls in January, Monday's threats proved to be hoaxes, the association said in a statement. In addition, as many as 200 headstones were damaged or tipped over at a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis late Sunday or early Monday.

Prior to Trump's remarks, the White House denounced "hatred and hate-motivated violence" without directly mentioning the threats against the centers or Jews.

At a news conference last week, Trump tangled with a reporter from an Orthodox Jewish publication, cutting him off as he asked about a rise in bomb threats against Jewish community centers.

Trump, who seemed to interpret the query as an attack on him personally, said it was "not a fair question" and went on to say he was the "least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life."

Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump wrote Monday on Twitter, "We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers," and used the hashtag #JCC. She converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner. She joined her father at the African American museum tour.

The FBI said it is joining with the Justice Department to investigate "possible civil rights violations in connection with threats" to Jewish centers across the country.

Before his remarks, Trump had condemned anti-Semitism in an interview with NBC News, saying "it's going to stop and it has to stop."

Earlier Tuesday, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the series of threats and attacks against Jews and Jewish groups "so troubling" in a tweet that urged Trump to speak out against them across the U.S.

This report contains material from Reuters and The Associated Press. 

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President Donald Trump denounced anti-Semitism on Tuesday morning, making his most forceful remarks to date about a spate of threats to Jewish community centers around the country.
jewish, attacks, anti-semitism, terrorism
446
2017-36-21
Tuesday, 21 Feb 2017 10:36 AM
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