FBI watching for threats to Jewish Americans ahead of Passover, Wray says

The FBI is monitoring for threats against Jewish Americans ahead of the Passover holiday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, adding that the number was already high before Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

Wray mentioned the FBI’s work in investigating anti-Jewish hate crimes while speaking at an event Wednesday hosted by the Secure Community Network, the largest Jewish security organization on the continent.

“Today, we at the bureau remain particularly concerned that lone actors could target large gatherings, high-profile events, or symbolic or religious locations for violence — particularly a concern, of course, as we look to the start of Passover on Monday evening,” he said.

Wray said the FBI’s anti-Jewish hate crime probes tripled in the three months following Oct. 7 compared with the four months before.

“Between Oct. 7 and Jan. 30 of this year, we opened over three times more anti-Jewish hate crime investigations than in the four months before Oct. 7,” Wray said. “And of course, that’s on top of what was already an increase from the previous year.”

Wray said the threats are not only present domestically but overseas as well.

“We’ve seen — since Oct. 7 – a rogues’ gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against the United States and our allies,” he said while also pointing to increased hoax threats like “bomb and active shooter threats.”

Antisemitic incidents reached an all-time record last year, particularly following Oct. 7.

There were more than 8,800 antisemitic incidents in 2023, according to an annual survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The incidents included harassment, vandalism and assaults.

The data shows a 140 percent spike from 2022. Around 5,200 incidents occurred following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel.

“Antisemitism is nothing short of a national emergency, a five-alarm fire that is still raging across the country and in our local communities and campuses,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, said.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.