NEW YORK (Jun. 15)
Jewish day-care centers, synagogues and a chapter of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in Arizona were targets of potential bombings by a teen-age member of the Arizona White Battalion Skinheads.
In January, acting on a tip from local police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations searched the Phoenix home of 17-year-old Michael Bloom, who had been suspended from high school in November for distributing white-supremacist literature.
“We seized an assortment of weapons and the components of over 30 pipe bombs,” FBI director William Sessions said Thursday at a luncheon session of ADL’s 76th annual meeting.
“We also discovered a map of the area, with circles drawn around over 30 potential targets — including Hispanic churches, black benefit organizations, the Anti-Defamation League office, Jewish synagogues and Jewish day-care centers,” he said.
Joel Breshin, ADL regional director in Arizona, said in a telephone interview Thursday that the FBI informed him in January that his office had been among Bloom’s targets, but that the FBI had not yet taken action against Bloom.
Breshin said that Phoenix police had decided not to wait for the federal government to act and filed a complaint Monday with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The country attorney, he said, may file conspiracy charges against Bloom.
‘PART OF A DISTURBING PATTERN’
Breshin said that in addition to the pipe bombs, the FBI found brass knuckles, a mace with eight blades, two shotguns, a rifle and a roll of fuse cord in Bloom’s home. He also had white-supremacist literature stored there.
FBI director Sessions would not comment specifically on the Arizona case, but in his address to the ADL, he said the FBI had a “keen interest” in the activities of the Skinheads, because of the increasing number of violent racial incidents perpetrated by them.
David Lowe, associate fact-finding director for ADL, called the Arizona case “part of a disturbing pattern which we have seen in various parts of the country.”
“It reinforces our repeated call for vigilant law enforcement to deal effectively with this menacing problem,” Lowe said.
ADL is releasing a special report this weekend on the Skinheads phenomenon, entitled “Young and Violent: The Growing Menace of America’s Neo-Nazi Skinheads.”