Wave of Bomb Threats to Jewish Museums and Community Centers Forces Evacuations in US, UK, and Australia

The Jewish Museums in London, U.K. and Sydney, Australia were victims of bomb hoaxes this week, causing both institutions to be evacuated on Monday, February 27 and Tuesday, February 28, respectively. In both cases the police completed searches and no explosives were found. It follows a large number of similar hoaxes that occured at Jewish Community Centers and day schools across the U.S. on Sunday and Monday.

According to London’s Metropolitan Police, the museum called them at 12:20 p.m. Upon arriving, police searched the museum and, finding nothing suspicious, allowed it to reopen to the public at 1:00 p.m.

“We take the safety of our staff and visitors extremely seriously. At the time of the alert there were two school groups in the museum who were efficiently evacuated from the building,” Jewish Museum director Abigail Morris told artnet News in a statement.

“This incident underlines how vital our work is. We welcome thousands of visitors to the Jewish Museum every year, including 20,000 schoolchildren—95 percent of whom are not Jewish. We challenge prejudice and combat antisemitism by breaking down barriers and building bridges.”

The Jewish Museum in Sydney, with a time difference that makes them 10 hours ahead of London, was evacuated following a bomb threat on Tuesday February 28, along with the neighboring New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish Communal Appeal, and United Israel Appeal. The police searched the premises and found nothing, allowing staff back to work and the museum to reopen around two hours after the threat had been received.

“The NSW Police secured the area, the all-clear was subsequently given and we were assured there was no risk to the facility or the community,” the museum Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff told the JTA of the incident.

“We wish to express our gratitude to the NSW Police for their swift response.”

Meanwhile, in the United States, 29 Jewish community centers and schools across the country, as well as the San Francisco office of the Anti-Defamation League, were subject to bomb hoaxes on Sunday and Monday. According to JTA, it is the fifth wave of threats that have occurred in the past two months, and has affected communities in 15 states.

President of the Jewish Community Center Association, David Posner, told JTA, “The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out—and speak out forcefully—against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country. Actions speak louder than words.”

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