National ‘Day of Hate’ Turns Into ‘Day of Unity’
The ominous event turned out to be propaganda as no antisemitic incidents were reported in metro Atlanta.
According to the Secure Communities Network (an initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America): “Since early January 2023, a small neo-Nazi group began advertising on a Telegram channel a ‘day of Mass Antisemitic Action,’ referred to as the ‘National Day of Hate,’” to take place on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The threat reportedly originated with a group in Iowa called “Crew-319,” 319 being the area code in eastern Iowa. Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Crew-319 is a “tiny Iowa-based neo-Nazi crew that distributes propaganda and engages in antisemitic stunts.”
Another of the groups behind the threat is the “Goyim Defense League,” whose followers recently distributed hundreds of plastic bags containing anti-Jewish messages in driveways in Fulton and DeKalb counties, as well as in other metro Atlanta counties, and elsewhere in Georgia, in recent months.
Also identified by authorities as behind the threat was the National Socialist Movement.
A bulletin sent by SCN said: “Historically, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and other extremist groups have promoted these events online, encouraging mass participation in an effort to conflate and amplify their minimal reach and impact. It should be noted, online chatter surrounding the campaign has remained limited and we assess, as in the past, this will not likely be a widespread event. Given that this is not a centrally organized event, specific locations or times have not been advertised.
On Feb. 24, Neil Rabinovitz, community security director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, in anticipation of the event, told the AJT: “Federation’s community-wide security program has been monitoring this event since it was publicized, and we continue to coordinate with local and federal law enforcement. We have no indication at this time of any planned violence associated with this campaign in the greater Atlanta area. It’s possible that we may see additional flyer drops in the area. As we always stress, members of the community should be vigilant, aware of their surroundings and immediately notify law enforcement of any suspicious or concerning activity.”
A congregation located on Lavista Road, in Atlanta’s Toco Hills neighborhood, sent a notice to its members that said: “These groups are calling for their followers to distribute hateful stickers and flyers, and to produce graffiti while videoing their actions for social media.” That congregation said that it was in touch with DeKalb County police and the SCN.
“SCN is coordinating with relevant Jewish communal security partners, including the ADL, regarding the content of this report. Based on previous campaigns, SCN assesses that the ‘Day of Hate’ will likely be limited to non-violent activity such as flyering and banner drops; these tactics are unlikely to impact any operations,” the bulletin said.
Media outlets, congregations, local authorities, and newspaper publications, including the AJT, cautioned Jewish communities in Atlanta and around the nation to remain vigilant. In addition to the vigilance already commonplace in Jewish communities, SCN urged that any incidents be reported to law enforcement and recommended: “Do not confront individuals engaged in any activities related to these events.”
The Anti-Defamation League posted on Twitter: “We are closely monitoring tomorrow’s anticipated “Day of Hate” campaign and are in touch with local law enforcement agencies. As always, please report any bias or hate incidents to ADL at adl.org/incident and please join us in celebrating a #ShabbatOfPeaceNotHate.”
After the “Day of Hate” the ADL reported that while white supremacists had held protests and propaganda was distributed in Texas, California, Florida, and Arizona, that it had constituted a “pretty typical Saturday in America.”
“We know that the threat does not magically disappear as the sun sets on this so-called ‘day of hate.’ We know that vigilance is part of being Jewish in America in 2023. And we take great comfort in knowing we do not face this darkness alone,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement.
We know that the threat does not magically disappear as the sun sets on this so-called ‘day of hate.’ We know that vigilance is part of being Jewish in America in 2023. And we take great comfort in knowing we do not face this darkness alone.
Temple Emamu-el in Sandy Springs already had planned an event titled “Georgia’s Fight Against Antisemitism,” on Sunday, Feb. 26, with speakers including Georgia House Reps. Esther Panitch, from north Fulton County, and Long Tran, whose district includes most of Dunwoody and part of Chamblee. Also speaking will be local officials and the Anti-Defamation League.
As of going to press there has been no reports of antisemitic activity in and around the city of Atlanta. Ultimately, the hate-filled hype had an unintended effect of bringing the local Jewish community, and its neighbors, together in a sign of unity.
Editor’s Note: Most of the content was compiled from Dave Schechter’s “Vigilance Urged for Saturday’s Anti-Jewish ‘Day of Hate.’”