BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN
A man named Juan Thompson has been accsed of at least eight bomb threats against JCCs and the ADL. The 31-year old former journalist “allegedly caused havoc, expending hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources”, said NYPD Commissioner James P O’Neill. In addition US attorney for the southern district of New York noted: “Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League,” New York-based US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. The allegation notes that at least one of his threats occurred on February 7th. “He wants to create Jewish newtown tomorrow.” A bomb threat was reported on February 22nd at the ADL. A January 18th article notes a threat at a Manhattan JCC, but it is unclear if this is related to the 8 threats. It is part of five waves of threats made to more than 100 Jewish centers across the country. US Senators are not asking for $20 million in security for Jewish institutions.
A list of Thompson’s alleged threats
According to the allegations.
- “In July 2016, an email was sent to Victim-1’s employer that made false allegations”
- October 11 company victim-1 worked for receive anonymous claims she was anti-semitic
- Confronted by NYPD law enforcement on November 22, 2016
- January 28 Jewish History Museum, Manhattan received email threat
- February 1 Jewish school, Farmington receives threat from email
- February 1 Jewish school, Manhattan, email threat
- On or about February 7, 2017, a JCC in Manhattan received an emailed bomb threat
- February 20 San Diego JCC received threat
- On or about February 21, 2017, the Anti-Defamation League (“ADL”) received an emailed threat
- February 21 CAIR received an email
- On February 22 ADL received phone threat
- February 22 claims victim-1 threatened JCC in Dallas and is behind threats across the country
He has only been charged with one count of cyber-stalking. Why?
What is particularly interesting considering the narrative that Donald Trump is responsible for rising anti-semitism, is that the perpetrator was vehemently opposed to Trump and does not fit the model of a right wing anti-semite. He is black, anti-capitalist, self-declared Jill Stein voter, and his twitter account is full of inflammatory anti-white tweets. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro were posted as memes.
He also has a disturbing background that combines accusations of harassment, alleged fake twitter accounts and accusing others of various crimes to tarnish them. As Doyle Murphy related at River Front Times. They’ve covered it before. We now learn that “University City, Missouri, police Lt. Fredrick Lemons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that detectives will question Thompson about the 154 headstones toppled last month at a Jewish cemetery in the St. Louis suburb. He declined to say whether Thompson was considered a suspect.” Twitter users have wondered why his stalking and harassment were not sufficient to get him charged and only now has law enforcement acted.
The arrest also brings new context to Trump’s comments last week when he said the crimes might have been done to make “someone else look bad.” This was reported in many outlets as Trump claiming a “false flag.” David Schraube claimed at Haaretz that these “Trump’s anti-Semitic ‘False Flag’ Allegation Is Dangerous.” However it might seem now that the reported comments of Trump make more sense, since Thompson is alleged to have acted to make his ex-girlfriend look guilty. If Trump had been briefed on that, then it’s logical. Only in the case of these 8 threats out of 100 however.
Let’s take a look at the alleged tweets made by the man alleged to have made the threats.
Tweeting on this account since last year, the man alleged to be behind some threats to Jewish centers has left behind an interesting record of his views. He has 2,127 tweets and 190 photos he posted. His background photo was a man picking up a red flag which is of an image called ‘picking up the banner,” relating to the Russian Revolution. His motto was “you show me a capitalist and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” He only followed 379 but was followed by 3,448 people, however some of those may have been since his name was released as a suspect. Very few of those he followed were famous or of any particular interest. He once had a twitter exchange with Joe Walsh.
He was obsessed with white people, tweeting 202 times since July 2016 about the subject. “White liberals” often came in for his wrath and “rich” people. He often labeled white people “nasty,” at least 24 times from November 2016 to March 2017. “America is a cesspool of nasty white liberals and evil white nazis.” On November 8th he wrote “white people suck.” He claimed that Flint had a water crises because “they were poisoned by white people.” He claimed Chicago was about to be “ethnically cleansed.”
White women were targets of derision and abuse, “Trevor Noah is a NY liberal who joked w/that nasty white woman and didn’t call out her supremacist violence in any way,” he wrote on December 1 referring to an episode with Tami Lehren. Noah is a South African, not from New York. On the 8th of November he noted that white women voted for Donald Trump “look at your partner at next Brooklyn brunch. White women. Yuck.” He called one woman “trash.” He claimed “dating white women leads to police terror.”
He accused “white media” of using Trump to get subscriptions. In a December 1 2016 tweet he wrote “white people are the dumbest, most racist people on earth.” And tagged it “#donaldtrump”. On November 24 he attacked Nigel Farage, “We have enough white people in this country.” The same month he mocked Ross Douthat “I hate black people, brown people and Muslims.” He claim the media was not harsh enough of Geert Wilders.
He opposed anti-semitism, at least when he was accusing Trump of it. Attacking Stephen Bannon on November 8, 2016, “this vile anti-semite,” he wrote. “This is the American government white people have wanted.” He claimed to oppose the attacks on Jewish cemeteries, tweeting on February 26, “and people says Jews don’t bigotry and violence. How would you feel if nasty white ppl destroyed MLK’s gravesite.”
He often attacked Donald Trump. On February 8 he tweeted “would the world be better off if Donald Trump had a heart attack and died.” Trump shows up in 98 of his tweets. He thought the election would usher in “Gulags.” He compared him to “hitler” in more than one tweet. He compared the election of Trump to the Nazis winning in Germany in the 1930s through pasting a photo of an era newspaper.
He may have had an interaction with the FBI on February 10th when he claimed “so the FBI is coming to interview me for some tweets.” It’s unclear why he wasn’t detained and charged at that time and this should raised questions that media should look inot.
He claimed to have voted for Jill Stein. He seem to compare Clinton to “neo-liberal terror” in another tweet.
He claimed in November he was “reverting” to Islam and sought to run for mayor of St. Louis.
Israel only appears in three tweets, two of which wondered why the US government gives billions to Israel but not Flint. He called America a “top terror sponsor.” In a February 6 tweet he showed a bombing of Gaza, but didn’t mention Israel, instead he asked “why do imperialists love bombing beaches.” He liked a tweet by Rania Khalek unrelated to Israel. He liked a Tweet by CJ Werleman which looked at Palestinian stone throwers. He re-tweeted Max Blumenthal.
What have we learned from all this?
If the police are correct in their suspicions and the suspect made all of these tweets we have to conclude that the kind of anti-white hatred and other extremism expressed in dozens of tweets are part of a disturbing world view that led to bomb threats. This is not a traditionally anti-semitic worldview, in fact there is nothing openly anti-semitic in it. But hatred and extremism often have things in common. Radical left-wing intolerance has much in common with the radical right. Sometimes those ostensibly opposing “racism” are themselves engaged in a kind of extremism that leads to hatred, and acts of hatred.
Most importantly this teaches us not to jump to conclusions. Many of those who believe Trump is responsible for “unleashing” a wave of anti-semitism in America will ignore the content of these tweets and try to ignore this suspect because he doesn’t fit the narrative. However before Trump arrived on the political stage, there were a thousand attacks on Jews in America almost every year. Many in the major media ignored them or didn’t claim the political climate caused them because their political friends were in the White House. In general radical left-wing anti-semitism and Islamist anti-semitism was ignored, sometimes it even received a stage as Iran’s Ahmadinejed received at Columbia.
What we also learn is that sometimes what seems like complex anti-semitism is actually more banal, sometimes it consists of pranks or in this case allegedly an attempt to paint someone else as an anti-semite.
However that doesn’t mean letting down one’s guard; there were 90 threats to JCCs not allegedly made by this suspect, there are attacks on cemeteries, a shooting at a synagogue and all of it must be stopped and prosecuted. This incident also leads to questions about law enforcement, if they interviewed this person on February 10th, why was he arrested more than two weeks later? Why weren’t the numerous anti-white tweets considered inappropriate and removed? Is there a trend that includes copy-cats making threats?
As time goes forward it’s important to continue to raise awareness about all types of anti-semitism and how other types of hatred lead to anti-semitism or vice-versa.