‘I Was Touching Something Gross’: Disgust and Anger Greet Latest Antisemitic Propaganda Blitz by US Neo-Nazi Group
Just one month after an Islamist gunman seized four hostages at a local synagogue, the city of Colleyville in Texas was one of several locations around the US to be hit over the weekend with antisemitic flyers blaming Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police in Colleyville are investigating the leafleting blitz as a hate crime and have contacted the FBI, local news channel Fox 4 reported on Monday. Residents of the city were targeted with propaganda apparently produced and distributed by the so-called “Goyim Defense League (GDL),” a neo-Nazi group that has carried out several similar stunts over the last year in several cities, pushing antisemitic COVID-19 conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. The words “goy” and “goyim” are pejorative terms in Hebrew and Yiddish for non-Jews.
Flyers distributed in Colleyville and neighboring Garland claimed that “every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish” along with another one claiming “Black lives murder white children.”
Colleyville resident Skyler Ray told Fox 4 of his shock at waking up to see the driveways in his neighborhood infested with the flyers, which were placed in transparent bags weighed down with rocks to prevent them from blowing away.
“Like, every single driveway,” he recalled. “Nobody should have to wake up and see something like that on their front lawn.”
Ray added that he had family members who were Jewish. “I’m a little scared for them,” he said. “It’s just hateful.”
Other cities were similarly targeted over the weekend. Residents of Parker, Colorado discovered the same flyers on their front lawns. Local resident Ken Buffington told the Denver Channel news outlet that his daughter had picked up one of the bags while taking their dog out for a walk.
“I was born Catholic and my wife is Jewish, and my kids were raised Jewish,” Buffington said. He added that he was disappointed that the Parker police department had told him that flyers were protected by the First Amendment and were not “criminal in nature.”
“That’s sad. I think that’s something that they should at least look into,” Buffington said. “Whether they consider this a criminal act or not, it’s still, to me, some form of a hate crime.”
Flyers were also spotted in Bowie, Md., and Palo Alto, Ca. ” I picked it up and I saw the headline, and you sort of react like you’re touching something gross,” one Bowie resident told local NBC News after she collected one of the bags.
On Sunday, residents of a Florida city targeted by the “GDL” last week held a rally to declare themselves “united against hate.”
The rally in Sarasota was organized after hundreds of antisemitic flyers were distributed in the Cherokee Park and Oyster Bay communities of the city. Politicians, community leaders and representatives of the Jewish community spoke at the event.
Rabbi Michael Shefrin, president of the Sarasota-Manatee Rabbinic Association, expressed gratitude to those who “came out here to stand firm and in solidarity reject all forms of antisemitism and hate.”