A group of “online trolls” directed fake bomb threats and strokes at more than two dozen synagogues across the United States on Sunday, in what the Anti-Defamation League called a heinous display of anti-Semitism.
According to the organization, the group targeted at least 26 synagogues and two ADL offices in 12 states over the past four weekends.
The ADL is working with law enforcement and other community members to prevent the “ongoing disruption of Jewish prayer services and other targets by a group of online trolls using fake bomb threats,” says Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL. said in a statement Sunday.
The suspects appear to be targeting synagogues that livestream their services. said the ADL.
“These trolls, using heavily anti-Semitic language on their calls, have targeted over two dozen synagogues and two ADL offices,” Greenblatt said. “They also seem to have expanded their targets to include several African American churches and a news organization.”
“The ADL Center for Extremism is working closely with law enforcement to identify the individuals responsible for these worrying and potentially dangerous activities,” he added.
In one case, a synagogue in Fremont, California, was forced to evacuate worshipers Friday after a possible bomb threat was made, police said.
The troubling call came in at around 8 p.m. at the Beth Torah Jewish temple. KTVU reported. The intervening police officers evacuated the members inside and searched the building and the surrounding area, but found no suspicious devices or people, police said.
Synagogue officials reportedly told police they had heard of similar false reports happening at other synagogues in the state.
Members of the Fullerton Synagogue were forced to flee during Saturday’s Sabbath service when a bomb threat was received around noon, police told the City News Service. according to NBC Los Angeles.
The LAPD called the Fullerton Police Department to say they had received a call that a bomb would go off at Temple Beth Tikvah in 20 minutes.
About 30 people in the synagogue were evacuated as authorities searched the property. No explosive device was found, police said.
“Unfortunately, many temples, many Jewish places of worship have to live with it,” Rabbi Mati Kirschenbaum told the broadcaster.
The ADL’s statement also comes a day after an Upper East Side synagogue was attacked by an unidentified person who scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti on the bulletin board outside.
The suspect, a man who appeared to be about 25, took out a marker after going to the congregation’s Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue around 7pm on Saturday and committed the hateful act, police said.