Breaking news

December 30, 2019

antisemitic and anti-Muslim flyers distributed in Dekalb County

Atlanta, GA - DeKalb County authorities are investigating the reported distribution of antisemitic and anti-Muslim flyers, including in the Toco Hills area.

The content of the flyers was described as “extreme in nature, highly antisemitic and offensive” in a notice sent Dec. 20 to Jewish communal leaders by Zach Williams, deputy director of community-wide security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

The flyers were spread “on or around December 18” by two “unidentified individuals.” In the Toco Hills neighborhood, which has a significant Orthodox Jewish population, the flyers appeared on an unspecified number of cars and near homes. Among the details being investigated is the identity of those distributing the flyers, the extent of the area where the flyers were placed, and the motivation behind the incident.

On Dec. 24, Williams told the AJT that “Our law enforcement partners [DeKalb County police] are working diligently to separate rumor from truth and understand the details of the situation.” The AJT received no reply from the DeKalb police to calls and emails seeking more information.

Swastikas lined the borders of the anti-Jewish flyer. At the top it read “The Holocaust. A Jewish Lie” and included an illustration of a rat with an elongated nose, wearing a kippah, with a Star of David on its body. The paragraph that followed begins “There was no holocaust. You odious creatures have been living on the invention of Nazi gas chambers, blackmailing and perpetrating this filthy extortion racket on humanity long enough.”

Several further antisemitic statements later, the flyer concludes with a quote attributed to Heinrich Himmler, architect of Adolph Hitler’s “Final Solution,” which led to the killing of an estimated 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews from 1941-45. “Antisemitism is exactly the same as delousing. Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology. It is a matter of cleanliness,” is a statement attributed to a speech delivered by Himmler in April 1943 in Kharkov in Ukraine.

“We are investigating these flyers more, to understand their background,” said Allison Padilla-Goodman, regional director of the Southeast region of the Anti-Defamation League. “Distributing propaganda flyers is a long-standing tactic used by white supremacists and other haters, and we are distraught that the Toco Hills community has been targeted with the hateful messaging,”

Among the unusual elements are the words “Hitler was right” written in Yiddish in the lower right-hand corner of the flyer.

The anti-Muslim flyer stated that Islam permits both the rape of a woman walking alone outside her home and attacks on women in which acid is thrown at their faces. The pictures on that page included a photograph of a Muslim woman disfigured in an acid attack, with text saying that she was attacked for refusing to marry an older man who already had a wife.

Shown a copy of the flyer, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, “We pray that law enforcement will identify whoever posted these disgusting anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim rants before they can escalate their hate speech into a hate crime. If this incident is as it seems, it should serve as a reminder of the real and true threat facing both Jewish and Muslim Americans: white supremacist extremism empowered and emboldened by our political leaders.”

Material similar to both the anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim flyers has been distributed in the past by white supremacists.

The ADL reported in March that “White supremacists dramatically stepped up their propaganda efforts targeting neighborhoods and campuses in 2018, far exceeding any previous annual distribution count for the United States and showing how these extremist groups are finding ways to share hateful messages while hiding the identity of individual members.”

The ADL reported that white supremacists’ propaganda efforts increased 182 percent in 2018 compared with 2017, with 1,187 incidents of propaganda distributions nationally, up from 421 total incidents reported in 2017.

Those incidents included “the distribution of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic fliers, stickers, banners and posters.”

The ADL reported that the number of on-campus propaganda distribution incidents increased 9 percent in 2018, with 319 incidents of white supremacist propaganda reported on 212 college and university campuses. “The two most active alt-right groups, Identity Evropa and Patriot Front, are responsible for the bulk of the campus incidents,” the ADL reported.

The number of off-campus propaganda distribution incidents increased 572 percent, to 868 in 2018 from 129 in 2017, according to the ADL.

“Off-campus propaganda distribution is a tactic long favored by neo-Nazis, Klan groups and other white supremacists, but in 2018, alt-right groups were responsible for most of these efforts. Patriot Front led the way with 324 distributions, while 312 incidents were linked to Identity Evropa. Daily Stormer followers were responsible for 34,” the ADL reported.