2017 Jewish Community Center bomb threats

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In early 2017, a wave of more than 2,000 bomb threats were made against Jewish Community Centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Denmark.[1] Two arrests were made in connection with the threats and Michael Ron David Kadar, a dual American-Israeli citizen, has been convicted.[2][3] He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Theories[edit]

Media speculation made by the ADL in January 2017 promoted the view that the threats were the responsibility of "right wing Christians in the United States".[4] The same month, Jerry Silverman of the Jewish Federations of North America said the threats were part of a "coordinated effort" to intimidate American Jews.[5] In February, during an interview on CNN, U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler said that some supporters of Donald Trump were responsible for the threats.[6]

In an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun, deputy editor Tricia Bishop said the threats represent a growing attitude of racial intolerance in the United States, but probably no specific group or person was responsible for the threats. She implored readers to "stand up ... before it's your children they come for".[7]

Suspects[edit]

In March 2017, two persons were arrested on separate charges of making a number of the bomb threats:

American journalist[edit]

Juan M. Thompson, a former journalist for The Intercept, was charged with responsibility for at least eight of the incidents.[8] According to media reports, Thompson had called in the threats in an attempt to frame a woman whom he had previously dated.[9] According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the woman had been the subject of previous harassment by Thompson, which included an alleged attempt by him to falsely report her for possession of child pornography.[10] On June 13, 2017, Thompson pleaded guilty to sending bomb threats to Jewish community centers.[11]

Israeli-American man[edit]

A 19-year-old Jewish Israeli-American named as Michael Ron David Kadar, was arrested in March 2017 in Ashkelon, Israel and charged with responsibility for "dozens" of the threats.[12] The man had earlier been rejected from enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces due to mental health issues.[3]

According to Israeli police, the man had used "advanced technologies" to disguise his voice and mask the fact the calls were originating from Israel.[12] According to court documents, the man allegedly advertised on the dark web the service of threatening any school for $30.[13] The man's defense attorney said he has a brain tumor, which may have influenced his behavior.[14] He was suspected of threatening over 2,000 different institutions in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia including the Israeli Embassy in Washington, the Israeli consulate in Miami, schools, malls, police stations, hospitals and airlines. His threats reportedly caused fighter jets to be scrambled, planes to dump fuel and make emergency landings, and schools to evacuate.

In April 2017, an indictment against the man was filed in an Israeli court charging him with several crimes including an attempt to extort a United States senator, "publishing false reports causing public panic, conspiring to commit a crime, hacking computers to commit a crime, and violations of money-laundering laws". In the same month, a similar indictment was filed against him in a federal court in Florida charging him with 28 crimes, and he was separately charged with 3 additional crimes in a federal court in Georgia. Israeli authorities reportedly refused to extradite him to the US, preferring to try him in Israel.[15][16] In June 2018, he was convicted on hundreds of counts including charges of extortion, publishing false information that caused panic, computer offenses, and money laundering.[17] In November 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, plus a fine and 1 year probation.[18] The Israeli media was barred from publishing his name.[18] He would have been sentenced to 17 years if not for his mental issues: autism spectrum and paranoid delusions. Described as highly intelligent, his crimes earned him $240,000 in Bitcoin, worth over $1 million at the time of the sentence. Kadar refused to hand over the password to his Bitcoin digital wallet.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Israeli-American convicted for making bomb threats against Jewish institutions 'out of boredom'". 28 June 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-08. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  3. ^ a b Shapiro, Emily (March 23, 2017). "Jewish Israeli-American man arrested in connection to bomb threats against Jewish centers". ABC News. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Strauss, Elissa (January 19, 2017). "The JCC Bomb Threats Confirm That Jewish Parents Are Right to Be Afraid". Slate. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  5. ^ Smith, Mitch (January 9, 2017). "Anonymous Bomb Threats Rattle Jewish Centers Across Eastern U.S." New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "4th Wave of Bomb Threats Hit 11 Jewish Community Centers Nationwide". Democracy Now. March 23, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Bishop, Tricia (March 2, 2017). "We're to blame for the bomb threats on babies". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  8. ^ "Man held over US Jewish centre threats". BBC. March 3, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  9. ^ Golshan, Tara (Mar 3, 2017). "The first arrest made in connection to JCC bomb threats was about settling a personal score". Vox. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Green, Emma (March 3, 2017). "The FBI Arrests a Man for Making Bomb Threats Against Jewish Institutions". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  11. ^ Bekiempis, Victoria (June 13, 2017). "Juan Thompson pleads guilty to anti-Semitic bomb threats". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Beaumont, Peter (March 23, 2017). "Israeli teenager arrested over bomb threats to US Jewish targets". The Guardian. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  13. ^ Ax, Joseph (August 9, 2017). "Bomb threat suspect in Israel offered services on dark web: U.S. authorities". Reuters. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  14. ^ "Teen arrested over bomb threats". Yahoo! News. March 23, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  15. ^ "Israel said to refuse to extradite teen JCC bomb hoaxer to US". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  16. ^ Pulwer, Sharon (April 24, 2017). "JCC Bomb Hoaxer Indicted in Israel; Charged With Threatening to Kill Ex-Pentagon Official's Kids". Haaretz. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  17. ^ "Israeli-US teen convicted of thousands of bomb threats, including against JCCs". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  18. ^ a b Bar Peleg (November 22, 2018). "Israeli-American Who Terrorized U.S. Jews With Thousands of Bomb Threats Jailed for 10 Years". Haaretz.
  19. ^ "U.S.-Israeli man sentenced in Israel over global bomb threats". Reuters. November 22, 2018.