WASHINGTON – The people calling in bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers in Buffalo and across the country will lose their cloak of anonymity if Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer gets his way.
The New York Democrat on Wednesday asked the Federal Communications Commission to grant a waiver to the nation's Jewish Community Centers and others that have been targeted with recent bomb threats. That waiver would remove the block on caller IDs for anyone who calls those facilities.
“Perpetrators terrorizing Jewish communities across the country — and here in New York — should not be allowed to hide in the shadows,” Schumer said. “We cannot give these fearmongering criminals protection when they are instilling hate and panic."
Both branches of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo were evacuated Feb. 20 after bomb threats. Those threats were part of a wave of at least 69 incidents targeting 54 such centers in 28 states.
Schumer said law enforcement agencies could gain valuable intelligence if the FCC were to grant Jewish Community Centers a waiver to the law that allows callers to block their IDs.
"All communities and entities targeted by intimidation and fear deserve access to all of the tools needed to ensure these criminals are brought to justice," said Schumer, who wrote a letter to the FCC requesting the waiver.
In his letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Schumer noted that at his request, the FEC granted a similar waiver last year to the Middletown School District in Orange County after it had been subject to threatening phone calls. That waiver allowed law enforcement to bring the perpetrators of those calls to justice, Schumer said.
“Our local JCC’s provide so many services to the community at-large — from daycare to education to sports," Schumer said. "And no community should be the focus of threats designed to create a climate of fear. I stand united with the members of the Jewish community from Westchester to Buffalo and in every community across New York, against fear, intolerance and intimidation.”