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The man who posted a broad online threat against New Jersey synagogues has been identified and had no plans to lead a specific plot, a law enforcement official said Friday, providing relief to already riled Jewish communities in a growing climate of anti-Semitism and related violence.

The man, whose identity was not immediately released, was questioned by law enforcement and told officers he had been bullied in the past and harbored anger towards the Jewish people, the official said.

Investigators do not believe the man had the means or motive to carry out a specific attack, according to the official, who could not discuss the details publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The source of the threat “no longer represents a danger to the community”, Newark FBI tweeted.

New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin told the AP he could not comment on an ongoing investigation, including whether an arrest has been made. But he noted, like others, that the concern is constant.

Incidents of bias and hate have increased in New Jersey, said Platkin, who was more widely concerned about the impact of recent comments from Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and a post on social media shared by NBA star Kyrie Irving.

“Listen, prejudice and hatred are on the rise. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. White nationalism is on the rise, and a big reason it’s on the rise is that people in positions of power and positions of status who have platforms use those platforms to at least endorse, condone , accept statements and positions that are anti-Semitic,” said Platkin, a Democrat.

The FBI said Thursday it had received credible information about a “broad” threat to New Jersey synagogues, a warning that prompted some municipalities to send additional police to guard places of worship.

The nature of the threat was vague. The Newark FBI issued a statement urging synagogues to “take every safety precaution to protect your community and your facilities,” but said nothing about who made the threat or why.

“It increases the level of anxiety,” said Jason Shames, head of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. “This one for us was all about vigilance. We keep saying: see something, say something. »

Public warnings about unspecific threats to Jewish institutions, issued by groups including Christian supremacists and Islamist extremists, are not unusual in the New York area, and many turn out to be false alarms.

But the region has also seen deadly attacks, including the bombings of two synagogues and an attack on a rabbi’s home in 2012, a fatal stabbing during a Hanukkah celebration in 2019 and a shooting in 2019 that killed three people at a kosher market and a police officer.

Outside of the New York area, the massacre that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh four years ago left an indelible mark.

“All over the world, Jews, and especially identifiable Jews, are concerned and worried,” said Chabad Rabbi Moshe Schapiro, director of Chabad of Hoboken and Jersey City. “We recognize that it’s not just, God forbid, that someone wants or does something terrible. This is tantamount to saying something anti-Semitic. It has that trickling effect.

Additional security guards will remain in Hoboken and Jersey City during weekend services starting Friday, including private security guards and uniformed police, Schapiro said.

Individual Jewish communities must decide what level of security is right for them, said Craig Fifer, a spokesperson for Secure Community Network, which advises Jewish communities on security.

“We encourage people to move on and live their Jewish life,” Fifer said. “It’s really a broader conversation that’s not tied to any particular threat.”


Associated Press writer Wayne Parry contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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