ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Neighbors in west Orange County say flyers filled with antisemitic statements showed up in their front yards and driveways this weekend.
Pictures of the flyers shared with News 6 show the hateful rhetoric and disinformation regarding the Jewish people, blaming them for the slave trade and COVID-19 pandemic.
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Jared Meyers, who lives in the neighborhood near South Apopka Vineland Road, said his son found the print-out in his front yard placed inside a plastic Ziploc bag with dry corn kernels.
“He was like, ‘I saw it.’ I didn’t know what to make of it, so I brought it to you,” Meyers said.
Detectives at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received a report Saturday that four people in a truck were driving through the neighborhood, distributing the flyers in the bags. Sheriff John Mina released a statement to News 6 saying in part in appears to be the work of a group that strives to spread hate, and it is not welcome in this community.
“When we pulled up to our home and we saw this filth in our own driveway, first of all, you ask, ‘Are you being targeted? Why is this happening in our neighborhood?’” Lou Pendas said.
Pendas said he also found a flyer on his property. He shared pictures from his security system that show a group of people in a truck as mentioned in the sheriff’s report.
“They had face coverings,” Pendas said. “That tells me that they know, they had full knowledge that this was nefarious.”
Pendas said he was outraged by the rhetoric.
“Looking at it, I thought, ‘This is part of a coordinated effort by a bigger organization or group of people, not just here in Orlando or Central Florida,’” Pendas said. “There is unfortunately a rise in extremism now that I think it’s up to all of us to try to stop, in whatever capacity or capability we all have.”
A report from the Anti-Defamation League demonstrates that rise in Florida, specifically antisemitic incidents, which increased from 127 to 190 — nearly 50% — between 2020 and 2021.
Commissioner Nicole Wilson represents District 1 in Orange County, which includes the area where the flyers were found. She said she was “disgusted” to hear about the messages, especially following several other recent antisemitic incidents in Orange County including messages projected onto downtown buildings on New Year’s Eve.
“Antisemitism must be called out in every single way, big and small,” said Wilson. “We can’t just be quiet about it. We can’t hope it goes away.”
When asked by News 6 what steps the county is taking and what can be done to stop this from happening, Wilson said her office has established a goal to make sure the county takes more formal steps to recognize Jewish holidays and remembrance days going forward.
You can read statements from other law enforcement officials, as well as county and faith leaders, below: