BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Some Satellite Beach residents living near a synagogue reported finding anti-Semitic flyers tucked into plastic bags that were tossed onto the driveways of several homes, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.
The flyer claimed that Antifa, an anti-fascist group involved in demonstrations and riots in 2020, is part of a ‘Jewish communist militia,’ operating with the Black Lives Matter organization. The fliers were also found early Sunday in the yard of a home where a state Democratic Party chairman was staying.
Similar right-wing propaganda tracts with anti-Semitic overtones have been distributed in Brevard County over the years.
The Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights advocacy group that tracks incidents of Anti-Semitism, reported similar flyers were found across the Space Coast at least a dozen times over the years from Mims to Malabar.
“I was shocked to find the messages about the hate,” said Sanjay Patel, staying with a relative on the street when the latest discovery was made Sunday.
He said he had gone out to retrieve the baggie when he noticed the wording.
“I looked left and right and there was a bag left on every driveway,” he said. His wife Stacey Patel called the police.
“Two officers showed up and when I asked if anyone else called it in, they said no one else had called it in. The officers seemed receptive,” said Sanjay Patel, adding he believes someone delivered the items overnight Sunday.
Satellite Beach police did not respond to several inquiries about the case. It was not immediately known if they were reviewing any potential videos or if they had talked with other residents. It was also not immediately known if the people distributing the flyers deliberately targeted the area or if the drops were random.
Florida State Rep. Randy Fine, who attends one of the four Jewish congregations in Brevard, talked with Satellite Beach police about the incident. He said he believes whoever threw the items chose the area because of the nearby Chabad of the Space Coast synagogue.
The case is under investigation, Fine said, but there may be questions over what charges, if any, would be applicable.
“Unfortunately, someone is allowed to stand on the sidewalk and wave a sign that’s full of anti-Semitic nonsense. It isn’t illegal, nor should it be, but you are allowed to be an idiot,” said Fine, who expressed anger over the flyer.
“Being an anti-Semite is not a crime, and we have plenty of them in Brevard. But this might be trespassing, it might be littering. The hope is that there might be something to go after them for.”
The Anti-Defamation League reports that the New Jersey European Heritage Association listed as the distributor of the flyer was founded in 2018 and is a small, white supremacist group.
There have been similar flyers from the group being distributed earlier this month in Staten Island, New York. The same group is believed to have distributed flyers or posters at least 16 reported times in Brevard during 2020, according to an ADL database.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to inquiries over reports of the flyer possibly turning up in Viera over the weekend.
Rabbi Zvi Konikov, who oversees the Chabad of the Space Coast centers in Satellite Beach and Viera, said the hate paraphernalia appears to be part of a campaign.
“I’ve never seen this type of campaign in the 30 years I’ve been here. I don’t know what to make of it except to say that it is evil. I don’t know anyone in the surrounding neighborhood who would reflect that garbage,” Konikov said.
He said police came around to let people know about the discovery.
“I’ve also heard about it from other people. We immediately had a meeting regarding security and we have put in even more upgrades,” the rabbi said.
“It’s very disturbing, unbelievable.”