ORLANDO, Fla. – Republican State Rep. Randy Fine, who represents parts of Brevard County, tweeted that his 11-year-old son found an antisemitic letter in their Melbourne Beach driveway last Friday which referred to Jewish people as the “eternal enemy.”
“Unfortunately, he’s learned it’s tough to be a Jewish kid in a non-Jewish world,” Fine said. “They just want to intimidate and frighten people, and we’re not going to put up with that in Florida.”
Fine said a few of his neighbors got the letter, too. He plans to report this to local law enforcement, but he said it needs to stop now.
That’s why state lawmakers unanimously passed House Bill 269 on the house floor last Thursday with bipartisan support. The senate would have to pass it next.
“We said with one voice, there is no right to intimidate, there is no right to threaten, there is no right to graffiti, and if you do these things to spread this kind of hate, you’re going to go to prison for five years,” Fine said.
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House Bill 269 — AKA “Public Nuisances” — aims to hold people accountable by increasing punishments for acts motivated by hate.
This comes after we’ve already recently seen several messages of hate across Central Florida, including a hate group using a portable projector to display antisemitic messages on Daytona International Speedway and people passing out antisemitic propaganda in in Ormond Beach.
“This is nothing but pure, pure, pure evil,” said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
Chitwood told us in February a Neo Nazi hate group that moved to Florida in December is responsible for some of the harmful words and actions seen in the community.
In west Orange County, flyers passed out in January near Apopka Vineland Road also sought to spread antisemitic propaganda.
According to deputies, the people responsible even shouted at others: “Don’t trust Jewish people, they will kill you all.”
“I believe in free speech. There’s a time and a place and a right to do that in a public setting. That’s not going into people’s neighborhoods and throwing things in their yards,” said Orange County Commissioner Nicole Wilson, who represents District 1.
Fine said people need to be held responsible for this type of hate.
“They don’t scare me, I’m not afraid of them and we’re coming for them,” Fine said.
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