48 F
Washington D.C.
Friday, March 24, 2023

Jewish Community, Law Enforcement Respond with Preparedness, Unity to Extremists’ ‘National Day of Hate’

The Jewish community prepares for such threats, from harassment to potential violent acts, through information-sharing, training, and preventive security measures.

The Jewish community, law enforcement, and liaisons tasked with preparing synagogues and other Jewish facilities for any sort of attack or threat are responding to extremists’ planned antisemitic “Day of Hate” with increased vigilance and vows that they will be unbowed by intimidation.

Online posts have stated that Feb. 25 is designated as a “National Day of Hate” by some domestic extremists, with one post included in a situational awareness alert from the New York Police Department’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau stating that the “day of activism” to “shock the masses” is intended to spread white supremacists’ claim that “the one true enemy of the American people is the Jew.” The post makes additional antisemitic statements and encourages “banner drops, stickers, fliers, and graffiti” with the dissemination of photos and videos for propaganda purposes.

NYPD said it will be adding security resources at certain locations such as houses of worship that could be targeted by potential actions.

Illinois State Police posted a statement “alerting the public to be vigilant over the next several days after increased domestic violent extremist messaging announcing February 25, 2023, as a ‘National Day of Hate’.”

“Neo-Nazi anti-Semite groups are encouraging hate actions for this weekend,” ISP continued, urging that “suspicious vehicles, circumstances or individuals” be reported to 911. “The Illinois Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center has been in communication with community organizations and will continue to monitor all intelligence platforms. At this time, there is no information upon which to take action, but the public should be vigilant in the coming days and report suspicious and/or illegal activity to local law enforcement.”

The Miami-Dade Police Department said that out of an abundance of caution, and not in response to a direct threat, the department and other local municipalities “have augmented patrol around Jewish institutions, and any other potentially vulnerable locations.”

“FDLE is partnering with local law enforcement agencies to enhance response capabilities and ensure that Florida’s Jewish community is safe and well-supported,” Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass said in a statement.

The Jewish community prepares for such threats, from harassment to potential violent acts, through information-sharing that connects law enforcement and Jewish institutions, training for scenarios such as active shooters, and addressing preventive security measures at synagogues and schools while balancing the need of faith-based and community organizations to be welcoming as they prepare for myriad threats.

The Chicago-based Secure Community Network, which provides critical intelligence and training to Jewish facilities, said in a Thursday report to stakeholders that the Goyim Defense League and the National Socialist Movement have been among the antisemitic and white supremacist groups promoting the “Day of Hate.” SCN added that online chatter about the day, which is not centrally organized with places or times advertised, “has remains limited and we assess, as in the past, this will not likely be a widespread event.”

“Similar national antisemitic propaganda campaigns have previously been organized by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups such as the GDL,” SCN said. “…While we do not anticipate significant impact and activities as it relates to this campaign, out of an abundance of caution, organizations and institutions should work to proactively review, adapt, and implement any security plans and procedures to protect staff, visitors, and facilities during times when public safety and security resources are stretched thin.”

SCN stressed that any suspicious activity should be reported. “Individuals should remain vigilant and situationally aware in and around Jewish organizations,” the report said. “Should individuals be engaged in suspicious behavior, criminal, or related activities, contact law enforcement immediately. DO NOT confront individuals engaged in any activities related to these events.”

The “Day of Hate” comes at a time of heightened security concerns within the Jewish community. AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America Report 2022, released last week, found that 41 percent of American Jews felt less secure last year compared to 31 percent in 2021. Eighty-nine percent of American Jews said antisemitism is a problem in this country, with 82 percent saying that they feel antisemitism has increased over the past five years.

Also just last week, two Orthodox Jewish men were shot and wounded a day apart while leaving Los Angeles synagogues. The criminal complaint states that the suspect, Jamie Tran, 28, told agents that he used Yelp to search for a kosher market in order to help with his target selection. The complaint adds that this past fall Tran sent a series of antisemitic and threatening text messages to a former dental school classmate including “someone is going to kill you, Jew” and “burn in an oven chamber you b*h Jew.”

While encouraging heightened security posture and awareness, Jewish groups are also calling for a “Shabbat of Love” and unity to counter “National Day of Hate” attempts to terrorize the community.

“Neo-Nazi groups are reportedly organizing a national ‘Day of Hate’ against Jews on Saturday,” the American Jewish Committee tweeted. “We will not be intimidated. We are resilient. We are strong. We are #JewishandProud.”

“Here is a very real answer to the sick HATE DAY that is being promoted for this coming Shabbat. How can YOU participate in something positive & uplifting?” tweeted StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein, promoting “a Shabbat of Love… invite friends, celebrate with joy, be proud to be Jewish.”

ADL, which is encouraging use of the hashtag #ShabbatOfPeaceNotHate in response to the white supremacists, said it is not aware of “any specific threats linked to the planned white supremacist campaign” as extremist organizers hope for actions that will increase their visibility.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Jewish community — or any community — should be targeted by extremists spreading hate and alarm,” said ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt. “The hate groups behind this effort hope that we will be afraid and isolated. Instead, we are coming together in resolve and solidarity.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement that they are “prepared to respond vigilantly” in the event of an incident on Saturday, and urged the community “to avoid any public spaces with large gatherings of people demonstrating, as agitators may take advantage of the situation and escalate quickly to violence.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles