By BB Portnoy
Anti-Semitic attacks in the US are often a precursor to larger-scale terrorist strikes against the general American population, a new report published by a nonprofit Jewish security group on Monday said.
The Community Security Service (CSS) analysis — authored by Yehudit Barsky — detailed 104 antisemitic attacks that have taken place in the US since 1969.
The perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and 2009 Little Rock military recruiting center shooting — among other significant terrorist incidents in US history — first attacked Jewish targets, the report noted.
Nearly 70% of the attacks covered in the report were carried out by adherents to radical Islamic or white supremacist ideologies.
Speaking with The Algemeiner on Monday, CSS Executive Director Jason Friedman said, “Personally, I was surprised, even as someone who is a professional in the field of Jewish security, to see the breadth and geographic range of the attacks.”
“Post-election news has really focused a lot of people on antisemitism and I think one of the great parts of this report and the timeliness of it is that it does provide the much-needed perspective that while this is in front of our eyes more now, it’s not necessarily new,” he continued.
Friedman welcomed President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of retired Marine General John Kelly to serve as the next head of the Department of Homeland Security.
“I think it’s really critical to have alignment on all levels,” Friedman said. “If DHS can continue to provide grants to synagogues and other Jewish institutions to help fund physical security, that’s important.”
US law enforcement agencies, Friedman said, “definitely take the threats to Jews seriously, almost more than the Jewish community itself does. But it’s always a question of resources. And there is an opportunity for the Jewish community to improve its own internal security capabilities and its own ability to look for trouble. If those capabilities are increased, it would allow for much more effective partnering with law enforcement, who despite their best efforts, can’t be everywhere all the time.”
The most important thing, Friedman stated, is “security awareness.”
“People have to be cognizant of their surroundings and have situational awareness and look for suspicious behavior,” he said. “If members of the Jewish community on the ground get a little bit of training to detect things that are out of place, they can really help make themselves more secure.”
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal