Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Wednesday condemned bomb threats sent to Jewish schools and community centers, two days after a threat was phoned in to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville.
The Greater Washington Jewish Community Center, also in Rockville, was the target of a bomb threat earlier this week, one of a rash of threats made to Jewish institutions across the country. In addition, headstones were recently toppled at Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis, and anti-Semitic graffiti was found at public schools in Montgomery County.
Hogan, who visited Charles E. Smith’s lower school late last year, called the acts “despicable and unacceptable.”
“Our administration condemns all forms of racism and discrimination,” Hogan posted on Facebook. If needed, he said, state police will assist local and federal law enforcement in investigating the threats.
Maryland’s congressional delegation has asked the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute the hate crimes.
“This is not only a concern of Jewish communities,” the joint letter reads. “Religious-based threats, vandalism and threats of violence, whether anti-Semitic or targeted at Muslim-Americans or other religions, are not only criminal but fan the flames of extremism that tears apart societies.”
Hogan’s remarks on social media came shortly after a “Bagels, Not Bombs” rally near the Charles E. Smith campus, which organizers said was aimed at showing support for the school. Several Democratic elected officials from Montgomery County attended: state Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr., Del. Jeff Waldstreicher, and County Council members Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich.
The Hogan administration was criticized late last year for refusing to link a spate of hate-based incidents in Maryland to the election of President Trump, some of whose supporters had embraced anti-Semitic rhetoric.
During a post-election legislative breakfast with Jewish leaders, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) responded to a question by saying he did not know why the incidents were happening now. The response drew a gasp from the audience.
Also Wednesday, in a show of embracing the state’s religious diversity, the state Senate invited Rabbi Adam Raskin, who leads Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, and Imam Tarek Elgawhary, who serves as the director for Religious Studies Programs at the World Organization for Resource Development and Education, to offer the session’s opening prayer.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Ovetta Wiggins