arrest

Iraq court orders arrest of Kurdish independence vote organizers

An Iraqi court on Wednesday ordered the arrest of the chairwoman and two other members of the commission that organized last month’s vote for Kurdish independence, a judicial official said.

The court in east Baghdad acted in response to a request from the National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar told AFP.

The court issued warrants against chairwoman Hendren Saleh and members Yari Hajji Omar and Wahida Yofo Hermez.

It ruled that the three “organized the referendum in contravention of a ruling by the Iraqi supreme court,” which had found the vote unconstitutional and ordered it called off.

The supreme court ruling came one week before the September 25 referendum — which saw voters overwhelmingly back independence — but the organizers went ahead with it regardless.

On Monday, Baghdad unleashed a legal barrage against Kurdish officials and sought to seize key businesses in a fresh bid to tighten the screws.

It had already severed ties between Kurdistan and the outside world by cutting international air links to the region.

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ARREST OF SUSPECTED NEO-NAZI BRITISH SOLDIERS INDICATES LARGER SECURITY ISSUE

 

The arrest of four British soldiers on Tuesday on suspicion of being members of a banned antisemitic, neo-Nazi group has raised concerns over shortcomings in the British Armed Forces’ security clearance procedure for recruits.

All new recruits to the armed forces are required to pass a stringent security clearance procedure, known as Developed Vetting, which includes checking an individual’s political background. The procedure is the most detailed and comprehensive form of security clearance in UK government.

The four soldiers and a fifth person, a civilian, were arrested on Tuesday under British anti-terror legislation on suspicion of being members of a proscribed terrorist organization. The criminal offense of being a member of a proscribed organization carries a possible custodial sentence of up to 10 years.

The suspects were arrested following a police operation carried out by counterterrorism units and supported by the British army. One suspect was detained at a British army base in Cyprus and will be flown to the UK for police questioning.

According to The Independent, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) is treating the arrests as an isolated incident and does not intend to look further into the issue but British politicians have now called for an inquiry to be launched into the prevalence of far-right extremism in the armed forces.

British Army soldiers march to Parliament in central London June 7, 2010. (Reuters)British Army soldiers march to Parliament in central London June 7, 2010. (Reuters)

Shadow Home Secretary of the Liberal Democrats party Ed Davey praised the arrests but told The Independent that “questions remain over whether the armed forces are consistently monitoring for extremist activity in their ranks… it is not enough to simply assume this is a contained example.”

Co-leader of the Green Party Jonathan Bartley joined the calls saying that “the Government’s failure to launch an inquiry ito extremism within the armed forces suggests it is afraid of what it will find… the Government cannot bury its head in the sand and hope it will go away.”

British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon refused to comment on the ongoing investigation but told BBC Radio 4 that he was concerned by the news and that “action is being taken.”

“This is a proscribed organization with abominable views – a white supremacist, antisemitic, homophobic organization that is banned,” said Fallon.

Concerns over National Action members and military service first surfaced in December 2016 when British anti-extremism organization Hope not Hate published a blog titled “A look behind the scenes in National Action” detailing the activities of the group, including several supporters’ decisions to enlist in the armed forces.

In January 2017, Hope not Hate published details of a National Action-affiliated army recruit.

When National Action was banned in December 2016, the group became the first far-right organization to be proscribed under anti-terror legislation by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

“It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone,” said Rudd.

The group praised the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016 by a British citizen with links to US-based neo-Nazi group National Alliance and banners saying “Hitler was right” have appeared at rallies. In November 2016, a youth spokesperson for the group was filmed speaking about “the disease of international Jewry” at a far-right rally.

A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, speaking to The Guardian, said, “It is extremely concerning that there are some members of our armed forces that are allegedly members of the proscribed fascist group National Action. Their glorification of Nazis and celebration of terrorism are just some examples of this group’s atrocious actions.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May held an annual meeting with Jewish community representatives on Wednesday, where issues discussed including rising antisemitism in the UK.

“I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm my long-standing and total commitment to the security of the Jewish community and I will do everything possible to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred and prejudice in our country,” said May.

Police arrest Jewish man for burning 80 parrots to death

Police on Wednesday arrested a resident of Rishon Lezion for allegedly burning to death 80 parrots.

The 60-year-old is suspected of lighting the birds’ cage on fire as a result of a dispute with their owner, a tenant at an apartment he owns, police said.

The man is set to be indicted on Wednesday during a hearing at the Lod District Court, according to police.

Authorities are also seeking to hold the man in custody until the end of legal proceedings.

Police shoot, arrest suspect in Paris car-ramming attack

LEVALLOIS-PERRET, France (AP) — French police shot and arrested a man Wednesday suspected of slamming a BMW into soldiers in a Paris suburb Wednesday, injuring six of them in what appeared to be a carefully timed ambush before speeding away, officials said.

The driver’s motive was unclear, but officials said he deliberately aimed at the soldiers, and counterterrorism authorities opened an investigation. The attacker and soldiers were hospitalized.

It was the latest of several attacks targeting security forces guarding France over the past year. While others have targeted prominent sites like the Eiffel Tower, Wednesday’s attack hit the leafy, relatively affluent suburb of Levallois-Perret that is home to France’s main intelligence service, the DGSI, and its counterterrorism service.

“We know it was a deliberate act,” Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. Defense Minister Florence Parly called it proof that extra security measures imposed in recent years are “more necessary than ever.”

Officials said French police searched a building in a suburb west of Paris believed to be linked to the chief suspect.

French police officers work on the scene where French soldiers were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret near Paris, France, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

On a quiet summer morning, the suspect was seen waiting in a BMW in a cul-de-sac near the Levallois city hall and a building used as a staging point for soldiers in France’s Sentinelle operation to protect prominent sites from attack, according to two police officials.

A group of soldiers emerged from the building to board vehicles for a new shift when the car sped up and rammed into them, its force hurling the soldiers against their van, according to one official. The interior minister said the car first approached slowly then sped up about five meters (yards) from its target.

A nearby resident described an ear-piercing scream of pain, then soldiers chasing after the fleeing car.

Authorities checked video surveillance of the area and police fanned out and stopped numerous cars as they searched for the attacker. Most were released.

Then, on the A16 highway near the English Channel port of Calais, police stopped what the prime minister called the “principal suspect” in the attack. Images of the arrest scene show emergency vehicles surrounding a black BMW with a damaged windshield, on a cordoned-off highway in the midst of verdant fields.

French police officers stand near the scene where French soldiers were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret near Paris, France, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Police officers opened fire during the arrest to subdue the man, and the suspect was injured along with a police officer hit by a stray bullet, according to a judicial official. The official wasn’t authorized to be publicly named because of an ongoing police operation.

The suspect’s condition was not immediately clear.

Three of the soldiers hit in the morning attack were slightly injured and three were more seriously hurt, but their lives weren’t in danger, according to the Defense Ministry. The defense minister said she received “reassuring” news about their condition Wednesday afternoon.

The soldiers were from the 35th infantry regiment and served in Operation Sentinelle, created to guard prominent French sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks in 2015.

A witness to the car attack, Nadia LeProhon, was startled by a loud crash outside her building and rushed outside her seventh-floor window to see two soldiers on the ground. Other soldiers ran after a speeding car, shouting “After him! Follow that car!”

“I’ll never forget that scream — a scream of pain and distress,” she told The Associated Press.

French police officer carries a bag from the scene where French soldiers were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret near Paris, France, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Resident Jean-Claude Veillant said he saw two uniformed soldiers prone on the ground when he came down to the entrance of his 13-story building.

“It was horrible,” he said, adding that both soldiers appeared to be in bad shape and one of them was unconscious.

The street is normally guarded by posts that are removed when vehicles move in and out, so the driver must have known exactly when to strike, Veillant said. “They must’ve really planned this,” he said.

French counterterrorism prosecutors opened an investigation aimed at pursuing perpetrators on charges of attempted murder of security forces in connection with a terrorist enterprise, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that despite sustained “high threat” against France, the government is sticking to plans to lift a 21-month state of emergency.

Speaking to lawmakers, he insisted that a new bill enshrining permanent counterterrorism measures would be enough to replace the state of emergency, imposed after deadly Islamic extremist attacks in November 2015. The bill is currently under parliamentary debate, ahead of an expected end to the state of emergency November 1.

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the attack at a security meeting Wednesday and at a weekly cabinet meeting.

Feds arrest former IT staffer for Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Feminist Kike) as he tried to flee the country

A former part-time IT staffer under Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Imran Awan, was arrested by federal officials on Monday evening as he was attempting to flee the country amid a bank fraud scandal, according to a report.

Awan, 37, was picked up at Dulles International Airport by members of the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police, and Customs and Border Protection for allegedly “double charging” for House IT equipment and possibly exposing private House information online. The former House IT staffer and his relatives had been employed be the House for decades.

Awan pleaded not guilty to one account of bank fraud on Tuesday at his arraignment in Washington, D.C. He was released but will be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor until his preliminary hearing on Aug. 21, according to Fox News.

Other House IT staffers who were investigated by the USCP were fired by multiple Democratic representatives. However, up until Tuesday evening, Awan reportedly remained on Wasserman Schultz’s payroll although he was no longer permitted access to House servers.

Wasserman Schultz’s spokesman, David Damron, told Fox News on Wednesday that Awan had previously worked as a part-time employee, “but his services have been terminated.”

Arrest made in vandalism of Boston Holocaust memorial

Police in Boston have arrested a man in the vandalism of the Holocaust memorial there.

James Issac, 21, of the Roxbury neighborhood, was arrested early Wednesday morning shortly after a glass panel of the New England Holocaust Museum was smashed with a large rock, the Boston Globe reported. Issac reportedly was identified as the vandal by a witness.

Issac was charged with two counts of willful and malicious destruction of personal property, according to the Globe. He could also face civil rights charges in the incident.

The memorial opened in 1995 in the heart of Boston and is open to the public 24 hours a day. It includes six glass towers representing the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust, as well as the six major death camps. The towers resemble chimneys built with 132 panes of glass etched with numbers that had been tattooed on the arms of Jews during the Holocaust.

View image on Twitter

Pile of glass remains at  in after being vandalized. A man faces charges allegedly threw large rock. 

“This morning’s vandalism of the Holocaust memorial site will not be tolerated in Boston,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Together with the Boston Police, we will make sure anyone involved in this act will be held responsible.”

The American Jewish Committee in a statement released later on Wednesday praised the hundreds of people who gathered Wednesday morning at the monument and “demonstrated that our community speaks with one voice in condemning this act and affirming the unique role the Memorial plays in our community.”

JC New England President Jon Dorfman and Director Rob Leikind said in a statement: “For more than two decades, people from around the world have passed through this Memorial and embraced its call for respect and tolerance. Today’s sad event does not change this. Rather, it is an urgent reminder that we all rededicate ourselves to the ideals that this memorial embodies.”

Hamas said to arrest group of ‘Israeli agents’ in Gaza

Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip have arrested a group of suspects accused of being Israeli agents, media close to Hamas’s military reported on Monday.

“Hamas internal security forces are currently undertaking a large campaign to pursue Israeli agents, during which a group has been arrested and others are being pursued,” the Palestinian news site al-Majd, which is linked to Hamas’s Izz-a-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing, wrote.

The arrests came after Hamas declared Sunday that it would crack down on “collaborators” with Israel over the recent assassination of one of its terror chiefs, Mazen Fuqha, which it blames on Israel.

“The gates of repentance are open before [Israeli] agents, and to repeat anyone who hands themselves in will be under protection and will receive a lenient punishment,” a Hamas security source told al-Majd.

The body of Hamas official Mazen Faqha is carried by members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, during his funeral in Gaza city on March 25, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

In the Hamas-controlled Strip, an arrest for purported collaboration with Israel means an almost-certain death sentence.

Since Hamas took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, 96 death penalties have been handed down, mostly by military courts and often for spying on behalf of Israel, said Hamdi Shaqura of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Many, but not all, of the death sentences have been carried out.

At least 21 death sentences were handed down in Gaza in 2016 alone.

Faqha was shot dead on March 25 near his home in Tel el-Hawa, a neighborhood in southwestern Gaza City, with a silencer-equipped weapon. He sustained four bullet wounds to the head during an ambush in his underground parking garage, reports in Gaza said.

Mazen Faqha, upon his release after the Shalit deal in 2011. (Screen capture Twitter)

Hamas leaders have been vowing revenge against Israel ever since.

Israel has not acknowledged any involvement in the assassination, and on Sunday Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman intimated it was an inside job.

“Hamas is known for its internal assassinations — let them look there,” he said.

Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing, quickly rejected Liberman’s insinuation.

Illustrative: A gallows is prepared for an execution in Gaza, 2013 (AP/Gaza Interior Ministry)

“We affirm that no one is responsible for the crime apart from the Zionist enemy, and it will not succeed in any of its declared or hidden attempts to disclaim or to shuffle the cards,” he said.

Faqha, 38, originally from the West Bank, had received nine life sentences for planning a 2002 suicide bombing in Israel in which nine people were killed and 52 were wounded.

He was freed as part of the 2011 prisoner exchange for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and deported to Gaza. He was believed to have been responsible for recent Hamas terror cells in the West Bank.

In a speech broadcast at a memorial service for Faqha in Gaza last week, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said that “If Israel decided to change the rules of the game, we accept the challenge.

“The Zionist occupier took from us a great hero and for this we will not sit quietly,” he added.

Bomb threat suspect’s arrest brings relief, but US Jews vow to stay vigilant

WASHINGTON — Despite Israeli police arresting a Jewish Israeli teenager Thursday suspected of making the majority of bomb threats to Jewish centers and other institutions around the country, JCC leaders and prominent American Jews said they would not be putting their guard down.

“I don’t think it’s changed at all,” Richard Zakalik, executive director of the JCC in Getzville, New York, a suburb of Buffalo, told The Times of Israel. “I mean, you got one guy who was arrested and there was a copycat and there are others. This isn’t something new with Jews. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again.”

The JCC in Getzville received a bomb threat last month, prompting the evacuation of its facilities. The call came on February 20 — President’s Day — as past of a wave of threats that were phoned in to 11 other Jewish institutions that day.

Since January, nearly 150 bomb threats have hit JCCs, Jewish day schools and other institutions, causing the evacuation of dozens of Jewish community centers and prompting some parents to remove their children from JCC programs.

The threats have come in repeated waves, via phone and email, and many of the institutions have been targeted more than once.

On Thursday, police in Israel arrested an Ashkelon man, 18, suspected of being behind hundreds of threats to institutions in the US and elsewhere, a bizarre twist following fears in the US Jewish community that the threats were part of an uptick in anti-Semitism.

A Jewish Israeli-American teen is brought for a court hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court, on suspicion of issuing fake bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the US and around the world, on March 23, 2017. (Flash90)

Zakalik’s sentiment was seemingly shared by many in the American Jewish community, who say hate crimes have spiked in the last three months.

“This arrest doesn’t change the fact that anti-Semitism is at an alarmingly high level,” Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, told The Times of Israel in a statement. “There have been other threats, instances of physical attacks on Jews, desecration of Jewish cemeteries, and cyberattacks against Jews.

Rep. Ted Deutch on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (Alex Wong/Getty Images via JTA)

“We need improved coordination between government agencies to investigate cases and combat anti-Semitism,” he added. “I continue to urge the administration to put together a comprehensive and coordinated approach to combating these threats.”

Aside from the bomb threats, other anti-Semitic attacks that definitely originated on US soil have also sparked worry in Jewish communities. Those include swastikas drawn on numerous schools and other buildings, and hundreds of Jewish tombstones that have been vandalized, including recently in Pennsylvania and Missouri.

In another incident this month, a gun was fired into a synagogue, Adath B’Nai Israel Temple, in Evansville, Indiana.

Nevertheless, some leaders of JCCs in the United States feel some portion of the threat may have been mitigated with the arrest of the Israeli teenager.

“I’m relieved that an arrest has been made,” Barak Hermann, who heads the JCC of Greater Baltimore, told The Times of Israel. “I hope that that arrest will reflect all the threats, both email and phone, that have been coming in. I’m hopeful that they found the primary perpetrator [of the threats] that we and other JCCs across the US and Canada have received.”

People evacuated because of a bomb threat return to the David Posnack Jewish Community Center and David Posnack Jewish Day School on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Davie, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Despite the arrest, the facility Hermann runs isn’t letting down its guard. “We’re going to maintain all the same security protocol that we’ve had in place,” he said.

Zakalik said the same thing about his JCC in western New York: “Our security precautions were in place before the bomb threats and they will be in place after the bomb threats.”

One reality that American Jews had to grapple with Thursday was the background of the alleged perpetrator, a Jewish Israeli-American teen.

“We are troubled to learn that the individual suspected of making these threats against Jewish community centers, which play a central role in the Jewish community, as well as serve as inclusive and welcoming places for all – is reportedly Jewish,” said Doron Krakow, CEO and president of the JCC Association of North America, in a statement.

Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America, also expressed regret. “It was heartbreaking to learn that a Jewish man is a prime suspect,” he said in a statement.

Jerry Silverman, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, at the 2012 General Assembly in Baltimore, Maryland (photo credit: JFNA/JTA)

Last month, President Donald Trump reportedly told a group of state attorneys general visiting the White House that he suspected the bomb threat calls may be planted from within the Jewish community out of political motives.

Later that same day, he opened his first address to a joint session of Congress by condemning anti-Semitic attacks throughout the country.

Earlier this month 141 leaders of American Jewish community centers sent an open letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding he take more action to address the threat , and expressing frustration over how it was being handled. But on Thursday, Jewish leaders praised the cooperation that took place between Israeli and American crime enforcement agencies.

“Ten days ago, and again this morning, Jewish leaders were briefed by top officials from the FBI. From those briefings we learned about the unprecedented level of time and resources that were committed to this investigation along with high levels of cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and a long list of partners, including Israeli law enforcement,” Silverman said.

“As a community and a society we must remain vigilant in our effort to counter anti-Semitism and other hate crimes as they appear,” he added.

Is Trump owed an apology after the JCC bomb threat arrest? Is anybody?

NEW YORK (JTA) — Literally within seconds of the news of the arrest in Israel of an Israeli-American teenager for the bulk of the JCC bomb threats, Twitter lit up with Jewish anxiety.

“[I] fear the inevitable backlash from haters who we whipped [into] a frenzy for our own nefarious political aims” is how someone responded to the JTA story about the arrest.

A colleague’s friend wrote, “And now people will have another excuse to not take anti-Semitism seriously.”

The shock and anxiety inspired by news of the arrest were understandable. After all, anti-Semitic organizations and websites keep tallies of “false flag” anti-Semitic attacks carried out by Jews in order to discredit the very idea that anti-Semitism exists. (Such incidents are few and far between, and pale next to the actual tally of attacks on people and property, but never mind.)

But the JCC bomb threat hoax wasn’t just an isolated swastika daubing — it was an ongoing story affecting Jewish institutions in nearly every American Jewish community. It shaped a communal narrative that something ugly and insidious was happening out there. And it fueled a political crisis among most American Jewish organizations and the White House, with the former accusing the latter of taking too long to denounce anti-Semitism and to comfort Jews traumatized by the bomb threats and at least two major cemetery desecrations.

Coming almost as quickly as the expressions of anxiety was the political exploitation of the arrest.

“The Ultimate Self-Hating Jew, a 19-yr old Israeli-American, was behind the JCC bomb threats,” tweeted Marc Zell, the co-chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel. “The US Jewish leadership owes @POTUS an apology.”

David Bernstein at the Washington Post’s conservative Volokh Conspiracy posted in a blog: “[T]he fight against actual anti-Semitism and other forms of racism will likely have been dealt a blow because self-serving groups like the ADL chose to hype and politicize the threats without any idea of their actual origin.”

Before we get too far into the rituals of finger-pointing, a few things are worth considering: First, JCCs and other Jewish institutions across the country, and the children and adults who use them, were traumatized by the string of some 150 bomb threats. It cost JCCs members and money, and diverted funds from programs to heighten security. That the main hoaxer allegedly was a Jewish guy living in Israel doesn’t erase three months of anguish.

Second, it is a huge relief to Jewish institutions — and the community that relies upon them — that someone has been caught. Perhaps they can return to business as usual. Let’s give them their moment of relief.

Third, Jews didn’t do this to “themselves.” This was a criminal act by an individual. Blaming all members of a community for the act of an individual is a page out of the anti-Semitism playbook.

Many Jewish groups did go too far, too fast in assuming the identity of the culprit (or culprits), pinning the threats on a political climate inspired by US President Donald Trump.

“We’ve never seen, ever, the volume of bomb threats that we’ve seen,” Oren Siegel, the director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said at a news conference following the arrest of the first suspect, Juan Thompson (a copycat motivated by some weird romantic grudge that appears to have had little to do with Jews). “White supremacists in this country feel more emboldened than they ever have before because of the public discourse and divisive rhetoric.”

Bend the Arc, the liberal Jewish social justice group, was more explicit in blaming Trump.

“In recent days, we have seen manifestations of the hatred stirred up by President-elect Donald Trump throughout his campaign,” it wrote in a statement after the first wave of JCC bomb threats. “Trump helped to create the atmosphere of bigotry and violence that has resulted in these dangerous threats against Jewish institutions and individuals.”

Jewish groups weren’t wrong to assume that anti-Semites were responsible for anti-Semitism. But perhaps these same groups overreacted from the beginning. The impact of the bomb threats was literally nationwide, but there were multiple reasons to suspect that the main perpetrator was a lone wolf with a grudge and a fancy phone set-up. If the hoaxer had turned out to be an American neo-Nazi, would that have confirmed the notion of a vast anti-Jewish movement?

On the other hand, the fact that the suspect is Jewish doesn’t disprove the notion that anti-Semitism is resurgent. Just because this kid was dealing with personal demons and the JCC bomb threats can’t be pinned on typical anti-Semitic ideology, that doesn’t mean that the spike in hate crimes tallied in New York and elsewhere didn’t happen.

Groups who pinned the bomb threats on an atmosphere that Trump “helped to create” certainly went too far, but does their lack of caution mean that Trump’s divisive campaign rhetoric should be forgiven? Should advocacy groups not have called out a campaign and an administration that has tolerated and encouraged the “alt-right” and habitually indulges in ethnically divisive rhetoric?

Ann Coulter — asking “Has ANY anti-Trump story been true?” — joined the chorus of those suggesting the arrest exonerated Trump, though exonerated of what is not clear. Jewish groups wanted a strong statement from the White House condemning the bomb threats and the cemetery vandalism not because he was the perpetrator or a Republican, but because he is the president of the United States. Issuing statements of condemnation and support is what presidents do, automatically and usually inconspicuously. Only Trump has seemed to take this task as an affront, somehow believing that to condemn hate crimes is to take responsibility for them.

Others are saying that the arrest of a Jew in the bomb threats vindicates Trump’s comments last month suggesting that the threats were a “false flag” attack. According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Trump told a meeting of states’ attorney generals that “Sometimes it’s the reverse,” and attacks are made “to make people – or to make others – look bad.”

Some took this to mean that Trump was suggesting a Jew was behind the attack, although more likely he was referring to a political enemy. Whatever he meant, he couldn’t have sounded more tone-deaf. Again, dozens of institutions and hundreds of families were reeling from a series of bomb threats. As in his famous blowup in response to a question from a Jewish reporter about rising anti-Semitism, Trump made the events about him rather than the victims.

The ADL and other Jewish groups have a tough PR challenge ahead of them: keeping the focus on acts of anti-Semitism by traditional enemies — white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the virulently anti-Israel far left — while acknowledging that one of the most extensive and public anti-Semitic acts of recent memory was carried out by a Jew. They’ll need to recast the narrative of resurgent anti-Semitism by omitting the wave of JCC bomb threats, but not at the expense of the victimized JCCs.

As the American Jewish Committee put it in a statement, “This is a lesson in not leaping to assumption[s] about complex links between polarizing politics and anti-Semitic acts. But it does not dispel [the] age-old reality of anti-Semitism.”

And they’ll have to find a way to stay vigilant in a polarized and poisonous political era without being seen as the boys who cried wolf.

Trump praises arrest of ‘troubled’ White House intruder

POTOMAC FALLS, Va. (AP) — US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the US Secret Service did a “phenomenal job” apprehending a “troubled person” who got onto the White House grounds after climbing a fence on the east side of the property while Trump was inside the executive mansion.

It was the first known security breach at the White House since Trump took office nearly two months ago.

The Secret Service said in a statement that the individual, whom it did not identify, was arrested on the south grounds without further incident after climbing an outer perimeter fence near the Treasury Department and East Executive Avenue at about 11:38 p.m. Friday.

No hazardous materials were found during a search of a backpack the individual carried over the fence, the agency said.

“Secret Service did a fantastic job last night,” Trump said Saturday from his golf club in Northern Virginia. Trump described the intruder as a “troubled person” and “very sad.” He was briefed on the matter Friday night.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also was briefed on the incident, the Secret Service said. Kelly was among several Cabinet secretaries and senior White House staff members who attended a working lunch with the president at the Trump National Golf Club.

President Donald Trump, center, meets Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, left, along with other members of his cabinet and the White House staff, Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Secret Service also said a search of the north and south White House grounds found “nothing of concern to security operations.”

The agency didn’t provide an update Saturday on the individual’s status. Standard practice is to turn intruders over to the local police department

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