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Donald Trump Condemns Anti-Semitic Threats During Joint Address

01/03/2017 7:55 AM IST | Updated 01/03/2017 10:18 AM IST
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress as Vice President Mike Pence (L) and House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R) (R-WI) look on on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday addressed the recent flood of threats against Jewish community centers and schools across the country, as well as a racially motivated killing in Kansas City, saying the nation “stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

The president’s remarks came during his address to a joint session of Congress.

“Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains,” Trump said. “Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.” 

Since the new year, Jewish facilities across the country have been targeted by bomb threats. The most recent wave hit Monday, when at least 13 community centers and eight Jewish day schools received threatening calls, prompting evacuations. The Anti-Defamation League has also faced threats, prompting an evacuation at the group’s San Francisco office Monday afternoon.

As of this week, there’s been at least 90 threats against 70 different JCCs this year. The Huffington Post is tracking the threats here:

None of the threats have thus far resulted in violence. Nevertheless, authorities are taking the threats seriously: The FBI launched an investigation last month after the second wave of calls, and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division later followed suit.

Trump previously addressed the threats during a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture last week.

“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,” Trump said.

The president dismissed a question during a recent press conference about the rise in anti-Semitism, telling the Jewish reporter who asked the question to “sit down,” interpreting the question as a personal attack. 

“I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life,” Trump said. “I hate the charge. I find it repulsive.

You can read more on the threats against JCCs here.

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