A man has been identified and interviewed in connection with a widespread threat to synagogues in New Jersey, according to law enforcement and FBI sources in Newark. tweeted on Friday that the source of the threat “no longer poses a danger to the public.”
The man told authorities he didn’t like Jews and was very angry, but he indicated he wasn’t going to do anything harmful, the sources said.
An online posting of anti-Semitic comments on a forum frequented by extremists prompted an FBI alert Thursday night, CNN reported.
Authorities were alarmed because the message was written as if an attack had already occurred, the sources said. Similar posts were posted by “active shooters” in incidents across the country just before their attacks.
Sources said that this significantly affected the urgency of his discovery, as well as issuing a broad warning to the Jewish community.
The online threat comes at a time of rising anti-Semitism in the US, with public incidents of bigotry surfacing across the country from Florida to California.
It is unclear at this time what charges will be brought against the man connected to the threat to New Jersey synagogues.
CNN has contacted the FBI for comment.
“Credible information about a widespread threat”
The FBI in Newark on Thursday tweeted she received “accurate information about a widespread threat to synagogues” in the state.
“At this time, we ask that you take all safety precautions to protect your community and the facility. We will share more information as soon as we can. Please remain vigilant. In case of an emergency, call the police,” the statement said.
In a second tweet, The agency said it was taking “proactive action” with the alert while “investigative processes are ongoing.”
While no specific purpose, timeline or plan was mentioned, the nature of the message raised enough concern that the FBI decided to issue the general warning out of an abundance of caution, law enforcement sources said.
Sources added that some of this concern stems from previous massacres involving extremists who posted messages on social networks, including the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue killings, the deadliest attack on Jews on U.S. soil; the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, the deadliest attack on Hispanics in modern U.S. history; and the May massacre at a Buffalo supermarket, an attack that officials said was an attack was racially motivated.
Thursday night, FBI said it takes all threats seriously and is working with law enforcement to investigate the threat, as well as “working with our faith-based partners in the affected community.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday, “These remain tense times for our Jewish communities facing a wave of anti-Semitic activity.”
Murphy said he was grateful to the FBI and other law enforcement partners “for their tireless efforts to mitigate the immediate threat to our Jewish synagogues.”
“We will remain vigilant. We will take any threat seriously and stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish communities.”
Advice from a security company
The president of the company, which provides security for hundreds of Jewish houses of worship and schools in the New Jersey and New York area, has sent out advice to customers asking for additional security from law enforcement, he told CNN.
Synagogues should contact local law enforcement and “request not just increased patrols, but actual personal force during prayers and other events,” said Joshua Gleis of Gleis Security Consulting.
Gleis also advised synagogues not to hold outdoor events until further notice and to remove exterior curtains.
He also advised Jewish schools in the area to take similar measures until more information is available, as “any credible threat to a Jewish synagogue could become a threat to a Jewish school or community center.”
Neither did the NYPD said Thursday its intelligence and counterterrorism office worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI to “ensure the safety and well-being of every area that covers our Jewish citizens and synagogues here in New York and the tri-state area.”
Anti-Semitic comments across the country
Over the past few years, the number of anti-Semitic incidents has increased in the US, with 941 incidents in 2015 jumped to 2,717 tracked in 2021 Anti-Defamation League. On Thursday, the ADL said he worked with the FBI to eliminate a credible threat and advised synagogues and Jewish organizations to “remain calm and on high alert.”
The FBI’s warning Thursday came amid continued reports across the country anti-Jewish bigotryincluding many anti-Semitic messages who appeared in public in Jacksonville, Florida over the weekend, and a a group of demonstrators who earlier in October hung banners over the Los Angeles freeway endorsing anti-Semitic comments made by Kanye West. The photos also showed the group with their arms raised in a Nazi salute. Los Angeles authorities condemned the incident.
The event has already been done a series of anti-Semitic outbursts, most notably on October 8 when he tweeted that he was “going to the death against 3 [sic] About the Jewish people,” and that, “You guys have been playing with me and trying to kill anyone who opposes your agenda,” without specifying which group he was referring to, according to Wayback Machine records obtained by the Internet Archive CNN.
His tweet was deleted and Twitter blocked his account. In an interview following the controversial tweet, West told Piers Morgan that he was sorry for the people he had offended, but said he did not regret making the remark.