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CSS: Antisemitic Intimidation in U.S. During Latest Middle East Conflict Shows “We Have Much Work to Do”

Organization’s CEO calls on affiliated and unaffiliated members of the Jewish community to take part in securing their community; Says latest data “warrants a worldview shift on security”

Contact: David Robbins | (917) 472-9982 | cssmedia@thecss.org

New York, NY, May 21, 2021 … The Community Security Service (CSS) today expressed deep concern over a series of antisemitic incidents that have struck cities across the United States and around the world during the 11-day conflict between Israel and the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas. The CSS is urging American Jewish leadership to step up their efforts to prioritize security.

This past week, several synagogues and Jewish institutions were vandalized with swastikas, restaurant diners were harassed and threatened, and anti-Israel protestors carried out violent acts against Jewish groups, which has left many communities feeling vulnerable. The CSS is monitoring these manifestations with its partners and trained volunteer security teams.

Evan R. Bernstein, CSS CEO and National Director, issued the following statement:

“The scope and imagery of anti-Jewish animus that has flooded our social media feeds as our friends and family in Israel were forced to either stay in or run to bomb shelters during the past week — not only in cities across the U.S. but across the globe — sends a clear and stark message to Jewish communal leadership: Security for our institutions must be prioritized.

The antisemitic intimidation and vandalism shows that we have much work to do in ensuring our safety. We need more eyes and ears on the ground and call on the affiliated and unaffiliated to help fulfil our critical mission to protect our community. The latest data on antisemitism and hate crimes against the Jewish community warrants a worldview shift on security.

We commend law enforcement across the country, particularly the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, for their understanding, diligence and sensitivity when it comes to the Jewish community being singled out for violence, and urge police departments across the country to also be mindful of what is taking place.”

In April, a number of Jewish institutions in the Riverdale neighborhood of The Bronx, New York, were targeted in a series of antisemitic vandalism incidents. The CSS volunteers were on site and identified the presence of the perpetrator, helping to provide key information for the NYPD.

In September 2020, in an effort to substantially improve the safety and security of Jewish communal institutions across the greater New York area, The CSS and the Community Security Initiative (CSI) established an operational partnership that is currently synchronizing field operations, coordinating deployments of volunteers, sharing intelligence, and conducting both joint training and joint tabletop exercises.

In June 2020, CSS announced the appointment of Mr. Bernstein as CEO and the addition of global security and counterterrorism experts to its professional staff.

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About The Community Security Service (CSS):
The CSS is the leading Jewish volunteer security organization in the United States. Founded in 2007, the CSS was the first organization to bring to the United States a mindset long held by sister communities around the world, that protecting Jewish life and Jewish way of life starts with taking ownership of our own security. The CSS is focused on training volunteers in basic security procedures to help protect their institutions and events across the country. Through programs developed by foremost industry security experts, and tailored to various levels of interest and ability, volunteers learn to identify suspicious activity and prevent and respond to potential threatening situations. The CSS success also stems from their solid communal partnerships and established relationships with governmental agencies and law enforcement. To date, the CSS has created a national network of over 5000 trained volunteers, which help to protect hundreds of synagogues and events each year. Visit www.thecss.org.