NY headstones overturned amid anti-Semitism rise

Jewish tombstones were vandalised at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia, on February 27, 2017

Five tombstones were overturned in an historic Jewish cemetery in New York, police said Sunday, the latest in rising number of apparent anti-Semitic incidents across the United States.

Officers were called to the cemetery Saturday evening and an investigation is being conducted to determine whether or not it is a hate crime, a police spokesman told AFP.

In recent weeks, there have been scores of bomb threats against US Jewish organizations and at least three other Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated.

Some critics have blamed President Donald Trump's sometime incendiary rhetoric and policies, which they say stokes feelings of insularity and xenophobia, for the sharp rise in acts of intolerance.

The Anti-Defamation League, a national civil rights group dedicated to the fight against anti-Semitism, last week recorded 121 threats against Jewish institutions in 36 US states and two Canadian provinces since January 1, labeling the surge an "epidemic."

Last month, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo promised a $25 million grant to boost security and a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrests and convictions for hate crimes.