See the links below for information about today’s arrest of a suspect believed to be responsible for the majority of the bomb threats over the past months. Remember, another individual was already arrested and law enforcement authorities believe that there are other copycats.
- Daily Beast: The Slip-Up That Caught the Jewish Center Bomb Caller
- JTA: JCC bomb threat suspect, named Michael Kaydar, reportedly used Bitcoin, Google Voice
- JTA: Jeff Sessions: JCC bomb threat probe spanned multiple continents
- JTA: Israeli-American teen arrested in Israel for over 100 JCC bomb threats
- WCBS TV
- NY Times
- NY Daily News
- Fox News
- Washington Post
- Israeli National Police Video Statement
- JCCA Association
New York | September 18, 2014 – Over the first half of 2014, an average of eight incidents were reported to the NYPD and classified as possible hate crimes. In July and August the number more than doubled, averaging 18 incidents per month. The increase is concurrent with the Israeli “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza and the firing of over 4,382 rockets at Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza.
According to the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, the number of anti-Semitic/Jewish incidents rose 39% during the first 8½ months of 2014. Most of the rise in reports occurred during July and August. So far in 2014 Jews were targets of 40% of the reported hate crimes in New York City, compared to 33% in 2013. Reported anti-Semitic/Muslim attacks also rose dramatically over the same period, which coincides with ISIS becoming a major news story during July and August. Anti-Muslim incidents made up 8% of the reported hate crimes in 2014.Deputy Chief Michael Osgood reported the figures at a NYPD High Holiday Briefing yesterday. He attributed the increase to intense media coverage leading to two factors: a person who normally would not offend becomes an offender; an people are more likely to report hate crimes during such periods.
The good news is that the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force analysis of the anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim incidents indicated that:
- The crimes were random, without a discernable pattern;
- The perpetrators did not engage in pre-planning;
- The attacks were simplistic;
- The perpetrators were not members of an organized hate group; and
- The crimes could be categorized as impulsive street thuggery.
We of the JCRC-NY conclude that the spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes is bad news and good news:
- First, the bad news is that the reported anti-Semitic incidents increased dramatically while Gaza was in the news. This pattern was not a new phenomenon; the NYPD recorded similar spikes in anti-Jewish hate crimes during previous Israeli responses to Palestinian violence. We believe that one hate crime is one too many, condemn those who commit them and urge that they be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
- Second, the good news. People are reporting hate crimes to the police. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is without peer. Their sophisticated and serious response to hate crimes of all descriptions sends a clarion-clear message that hate crimes will not be tolerated in New York City. We strongly urge anyone who is a victim of a hate crime to immediately report it to the police.
- Third, more good news. The number of reported anti-Jewish hate crimes is dropping over the past month. This seems to indicate that the pattern of past spikes holds.
- Finally, modified good news. The NYPD analysis of the reported possible hate crimes occurring during the spike shows them to be mostly disorganized, low-level, impulsive street thuggery; with no indication that the offenders are members of any active, organized hate group. The New York City incidents stand in stark contrast to the disturbing and violent anti-Jewish attacks in Europe.
As the Jewish High Holidays approach, we strongly recommend that Jewish organizations review their security and access control measures. We are mindful that eight of 18 plots to attack the city in the past 22 years targeted Jewish institutions or Jewish people. Whether the concern is terrorism or hate crimes we can rest assured that the NYPD is there to protect New York’s Jewish community and all New Yorkers and are deeply grateful.
Click here for a PDF version of this post.
Mayor Bloomberg explained in his opening remarks:
“Yesterday, detectives from the NYPD arrested two men who said they wanted to destroy a major synagogue in Manhattan, and then purchased several weapons and a hand grenade from an undercover officer.
“Fortunately, long before their aspirations could take hold, New York City police officers were watching them and were in a position to take them into custody, before they could maim and murder innocent New Yorkers.
Read Mayor Bloomberg’s full remarks here.
Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, are charged with multiple felony counts and hate crimes carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. In the course of the investigation Mr. Ferhani expressed clear anti-Semitism and asked an undercover officer whether he would join him in a plan to bomb a synagogue.
Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, Jr., noted:
“The defendants plotted and took concrete steps to bomb synagogues and kill Jewish New Y orkers as an act of terrorism”
Read DA Vance’s statement here. Read the full criminal complaint providing more details here.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly described the police activities leading to the arrests and commended NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen and his team for their outstanding work. He also commented that:
“While there are no specific plots targeting New York City in the wake of Bin Laden’s death, this latest case reminds us that we must remain vigilant every day.
Read Commissioner Kelly’s account of the investigation here.
When the news of the arrests broke this morning the JCRC called for heightened vigilance and tighter access policies in a security alert to synagogues, yeshivot and other Jewish institutions. Read the recommendations here.
Organizations wishing to apply for Nonprofit Security Grants will find more information at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants and can reserve for the JCRC May 23rd Grants Webinar here. Find guidance and practical suggestions on how to increase the security of your Jewish institution at: www.jcrcny.org/securityresources.
Alan Jaffe, President and Michael S. Miller, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York commended the actions of the NYPD and the Williamsburg Shomrim Patrol, saying: “The arrests of two individuals show what can happen when the NYPD and the community work together. It was great teamwork.”
Monday night, a man leaving a synagogue was assaulted. The Williamsburg Shomrim Patrol responded, identified the perpetrators and held them until officers from the 90th Precinct arrived to arrest them.
Detectives from the 90th Precinct and the Hate Crimes Task Force jointly questioned the suspects, who admitted to last week’s brutal Thanksgiving assault in the same neighborhood.
The suspects, who are 14 and 15 years old, have been charged with several counts of assault and hate crimes. “While these individuals are technically minors,” explained Jaffe and Miller, “we call on the District Attorney of Kings County to petition that they be tried in Supreme Court. These individuals admitted to multiple felonies with bias motivation and this was not the first attack. They should be held accountable for their actions to the full extent of the law.”