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A man arrested Friday morning in connection with the recent spate of threats made against Jewish groups is not at all who some in media guessed he would be.

Police arrested a 31-year-old African-American male, Juan Thompson, for making a series of threats against Jewish community centers, Jewish schools, a Jewish museum and the Anti-Defamation League, ABC News reported.

The arrest comes almost one year after Thompson was fired from the Intercept after he was caught fabricating quotes in several of his news reports.

The arrest also comes after certain media pundits speculated that the growing number of threats could be traced to bigots who feel emboldened by Trump’s victorious 2016 campaign.

Vox’s Dara Lind, for example, wrote on Feb. 21 that, “Hostility toward Jews is growing — both among ‘anti-globalist’ ideologues and among young people who simply think that anti-Semitism is funny.”

“Both of those groups believe that, on some level, President Trump is on their side. If they’re wrong, it’s on him to say so,” she added.

In the Trump era, Lind continued, anti-Semitism, “has become more prevalent and popular than it was before.” She goes on to suggest that Trump’s response, or lack thereof, to attacks on Jewish people has actually encouraged the anti-Semitic violence.

The Huffington Post’s Eleanor Goldberg wrote that same day, “My Jewish co-workers and those with Jewish-sounding names have been targeted by Trump supporters who hate Jews since he hit the campaign trail. Many, like me, had never experienced any form of anti-Semitism before.”

She added, “But now that Trump’s rhetoric, Cabinet picks and reluctance to address the issue have emboldened anti-Semites and racists, getting trolled with Holocaust images and threats has become an everyday thing.”

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The Miami Herald, for its part, published an op-ed on Feb. 22 with the straightforward headline, “Trump is not an anti-Semite, but his words and actions have emboldened anti-Semites.”

At the Chicago Tribune, Dahleen Glanton wrote that “the wave of bigotry that has spread across America” has been “fueled … in part, by Trump’s divisive leadership that has emboldened bigots to express themselves openly.”

Ironically enough, the Intercept itself ran a story on Feb. 28 originally headlined, “Trump Can’t Accept That His Allies Are Targeting Jews — So He Blames His Opponents.”

That story has been updated with an editor’s note to clarify that a former employee was arrested Friday in connection with several the threats to Jewish organizations.

Thompson is about the furthest thing from being a Trump supporter, which runs against earlier suspicions that the recent threats to Jewish groups came from bigots who have been emboldened by the president.

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The point of this article isn’t to say the threat is over, or that all is well. On the contrary, as the Atlantic’s Emma Green correctly notes, Thompson has been accused of phoning in only a fraction of the reported threats. Sadly, there are probably more copycats out there, and this is likely far from over (also, it has not been proven that Thompson is, in fact, guilty of threatening those groups).

Rather, the point of this commentary is to encourage people not to rush to conclusions, especially before we have all the facts. It’s to encourage members of the political commentariat to speak less and listen more.

National Review’s Ian Tuttle summed it up nicely last week: “None of this is to let the president off the hook. If it becomes undeniably clear that American Jews face a rising tide of violence to which the president has contributed, every side should call him to account. There is no place for anti-Semitism in the United States.”


He added, “But accusations warrant evidence, and that should be the case no matter who is in the White House.”



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