‘It was pretty scary,’ bomb threat made at Vancouver Jewish centre


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver Police say the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver around West 41st Avenue near Oak Street was evacuated last night after a bomb threat. No explosives were found and people were allowed to return shortly after.

The motive is unclear in this case and police say the investigation is ongoing. “By… reporting on events like this, we fuel the controversy and assist the offender in causing disruption and creating fear in the community. Public safety remains our top priority. At this time, we have no reason to believe that the public is at risk,” says VPD Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham.

The bomb threat was made during an annual festival and one man who was in attendance explains what happened. “Halfway through the second part of the show, an organizer comes up on stage and says they’ve been contacted by Vancouver Police that there is a threat and that we have to evacuate the building. The show stopped and everyone rushed outside and while going outside there were lots of police cars outside,” says Yehuda Kaufmann.

He adds performers from as far as Israel are in town for the festival.

Kaufmann describes a fear as the main feeling as people filed out of the building. “It’s a feeling of not knowing what to expect. And with all that’s going on in the world today and all those terror attacks — it’s pretty scary. Everybody was rushed out — they didn’t really know what to do and there was a huge traffic jam coming out of the parking lot. It was scary.”

He is calling the threat a disappointing act. “I don’t really know what to say. It seems like here in Canada and in the US people live in a bubble. They don’t realize what’s going on worldwide. It’s pretty scary. I live through those for many years and it’s like it’s coming after me to Canada.”

The centre’s Executive Director Eldad Goldfarb says despite the sudden threat, they were ready. “We had a drill last Friday with the VPD which was organized and planned because of what’s been going on elsewhere.”

Goldfarb, who was alerted about the incident via email, is commending Vancouver Police for the way they handled the situation. “Everyone was asked very calmly and politely to leave the building and that happened very quickly and very quietly. There was no anxiety. I think the police handled it beautifully.”

He feels this isn’t just an attack on the Jewish community but rather everyone in Metro Vancouver that enjoys and tolerates a multicultural environment.

Statement from Mayor Robertson on Jewish Community Centre Bomb Threat:

Vancouver is known throughout the world for our remarkable diversity and commitment to acceptance. This proud history of community building is at the heart of what makes Vancouver such an inclusive and compassionate city.

Last night’s bomb threat hoax incident perpetrated against the Jewish Community Centre is a reminder that we must always stand in solidarity against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. An act like this affects us all and we must be resilient in creating a more inclusive, compassionate, and understanding city for all of us.

I acknowledge many of our family members, friends, and neighbours feel vulnerable to acts of hate and discrimination. I am in regular contact with VPD Chief Palmer to monitor these situations and Vancouver remains a safe place. But in times of shock, anger and uncertainty, it’s important to turn towards community and support one another.

-Mayor Gregor Robertson

Premier Christy Clark also issued a statement on the threat:

The threat turned out to be a hoax, but the fear caused by acts of anti-Semitism and threats like this at Jewish community sites across Canada and the United States is very real.

We cannot allow hatred to become routine. We will only stop hatred by calling it out, condemning it and continuing to lead by example, as a thriving, vibrant example that diversity leads to strength, not weakness.

British Columbia is, and must continue to be, a welcoming, safe home to peoples of all faiths and ethnicities. There is no better example of this than the JCC, where people of many cultures come together and are welcomed.

We will not be divided, and we will not change the values that define us.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan had this to say:

“I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver was forced to evacuate last night after a bomb threat. We cannot allow our friends and neighbours to be threatened by people with hatred in their hearts. We must denounce anti-Semitism and other forms of racial violence in our communities. It has no place here.”

Yesterday, there were two separate threats made to centres in Ontario that saw Jewish community leaders condemn the rise of reported anti-Semitic incidents on both sides of the border.

There has been an uptick in vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and 122 bomb threats against Jewish organizations in three dozen states since early January in the US, and some in Eastern Canada.

Harjit Sajjan, the current Minister of National Defence and MP representing Vancouver South, reacts to today’s Jewish centre threat:


Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today