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Reports Of Anti-Semitism Rise In Southern Nevada

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department K-9 officers search the Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada after an employee received a suspicious phone call that led about 10 people to evacuate the building on Feb. 27. Jewish institutions across the nation have received more than 120 bomb threats in the past two months

Anti-Semitism is on the rise.

Across the country, we’ve heard of bomb threats and graveyard vandalism; and unfortunately, Nevada is not exempt. 

“I don’t think Nevada is immune to some of the incidents we’re having around the country,” Jolie Brislin the regional director for the Anti-Defamation League told KNPR's State of Nevada.

A swastika was drawn on the Mexican Consulate; anti-Semitic graffiti was found on a utility box near UNLV; a man was caught on tape craving a swastika into a pillar at Las Vegas synagogue during services; and just a few days ago the Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada was evacuated because of a bomb threat

Captain Sasha Larkin is with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. She had a simple name for all of these incidents.

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“It’s domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism at its finest,” she said.

Larkin said many people associate terrorism with an overseas group trying to hurt Americans, but in reality she said groups and individuals from inside the country are responsible for terrorism.

“Jewish institutions and individuals they’re usually targeted by racial separatists or extremists – both black and white – homegrown violent extremists and international terrorists all alike,” she said.

From bomb threats to graffiti, they're all designed to instill fear in the community. 

Brislin said while the threats and swastikas drawn on synagogues have all made local headlines, there are incidents at schools that have not. 

“We definitely have kids who are being bullied because they’re Jewish," she said. "We have kids who are being harassed because they’re Latino. We have kids who are being harassed because they’re gay, because they’re black. We’re definitely having these incidents around our community.”

While bullying based on religion, skin color or ethnicity is not new, Brislin believes people are feeling more "emboldened" to say what they haven't said in the past. 

She also pointed out that hate is learned. So, when children hear hateful things at home they'll bring them to school. 

Larkin says parents need to know what their children are reading and watching. She said kids can be indoctrinated easily by watching or reading hate speech online.

Brislin says all the anti-Semitic threats and graffiti has actual sharpened the resolve of many communities to stand up to hate.

The Anti-Defamation League is hosting a Walk Against Hate at the Springs Preserve April 30 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

Guests

Jolie Brislin, regional director, Anti-Defamation League; Sasha Larkin, captain, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department