A Glock, a ghost gun, a hunting knife, and a Nazi armband: that's what New York police found on two men suspected of plotting an attack on a synagogue. It's the latest in a shocking rise of antisemitism in America.
The FBI and Homeland Security point to an unprecedented number of potential threats, along with a rise in hate-filled rhetoric and they warn their law enforcement partners, along with the Jewish community, to stay vigilant.
The New York arrests come only two weeks after the FBI alerted New Jersey synagogues to a broad threat against them.
"This was not an idle threat; this was a real threat," said New York Mayor Eric Adams (D) at a press conference over the weekend.
The suspects in the New York City plot reportedly took to social media. Christopher Brown, 22, tweeting, "Gonna ask a priest if I should become a husband or shoot up a synagogue and die." The next day he wrote, "This time I'm really gonna do it."
Brown and Matthew Mahrer, also 22, were arrested in Penn Station Saturday morning.
"Law enforcement officers recovered a Glock semi-automatic firearm, a ghost gun with an extended 30-round magazine and laser sights, a large hunting knife, a black ski mask and a Nazi armband," said Mayor Adams.
America's top law enforcement agencies say, unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
"We are working very, very closely with the FBI and our federal, state, local, tribal, territorial campus law enforcement partners to address violence, an increasing level of violence, borne of ideologies of hate," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas during a recent Senate hearing on the rise of antisemitism.
A memorial remains inside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Oct. 26, 2022, four years after 11 people were killed in America's deadliest antisemitic attack on Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
More than 60 percent of religiously motivated violence is tied to antisemitism, and experts are concerned a growing increase in antisemitic rhetoric could exacerbate the problem even more. That includes rhetoric like we saw from rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, who recently railed against the Jewish community on Twitter and in interviews.
After being dropped by all of his sponsors, West later tried to repair the damage, saying he wanted "to give a sincere apology to the Jewish people."
"This hate cannot be allowed to take hold and build and gain further ground. America must defeat the rising threat of domestic terrorism. It is real. It is here. And we must have a formidable approach to it," said Mayor Adams.
Lawmakers are looking into some sort of a national strategy to combat antisemitism, something both DHS and the FBI have voiced support of.
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