YIR: ‘Repulsive’ Antisemitic Flyers in Metro Atlanta
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YIR: ‘Repulsive’ Antisemitic Flyers in Metro Atlanta

"Unfortunately, it’s not the first time to be afraid as a Jew in the United States,” state Rep. Esther Panitch said.

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The Goyim Defense League once again distributed antisemitic flyers in Atlanta, this time targeting homes in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.
The Goyim Defense League once again distributed antisemitic flyers in Atlanta, this time targeting homes in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

On the morning of Feb. 6, even before the prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, a stern-sounding speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives addressed what he termed “a repulsive incident” over the weekend — the distribution of antisemitic flyers in the driveways of homes in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

“Saturday night, under the cover of darkness, communities in north Fulton County were visited by an old enemy: hatred,” Republican Rep. Jon Burns said. “I know all of you join with me in taking such actions very seriously…We pause this morning to reiterate that hate has no place in Georgia,” prompting the chamber to rise in applause.

Without mentioning her name, Burns said that one of the driveways “littered with this garbage” was that of a member of the House. Jewish Democratic Rep. Esther Panitch posted on Twitter (now “X”) that her husband found three plastic bags with differently worded flyers in the driveway when he went outside Sunday morning to bring in the newspaper.

“Welcome to being a Jew in Georgia-my driveway this morning. @SandySprings_PD came and took for testing. Govern yourselves accordingly, GDL and Anti-Semites who seek to harm/intimidate Jews in Georgia. I’m coming for you with the weight of the State behind me,” Panitch posted.

At the time, the House Judiciary Committee was considering legislation that would adopt a formal definition of antisemitism and “require state agencies and departments to consider such definition when determining whether an alleged act was motivated by discriminatory antisemitic intent.” [The legislation did not receive the necessary floor votes in 2023 but is expected to be on the 2024 General Assembly calendar.]

Police in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs investigated the flyers, which were placed in baggies, weighed down with corn kernels, and flung into driveways in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday.

Panitch, who is a criminal defense attorney, said that distribution of the flyers may violate statutes on trespassing and littering, depending on the municipal code in individual cities.

The homes reporting finding the flyers included residences near the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and Congregation Ariel, which is located on Tilly Mill Road.

The flyers are similar to those distributed previously elsewhere in the Atlanta area, in Georgia, and throughout the nation by a group calling itself the Goyim Defense League. In previous months, similar flyers have appeared in Cobb, Bartow, Muscogee, and Paulding counties.

The Anti-Defamation League describes the Goyim Defense League as “a loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism.”

Among the messages on the flyers was “Every Single Aspect Of The Jewish Talmud Is Satanic.” Another stated: “We disavow violence. This is not intimidation. This is a PSA about a Jewish mafia that has hijacked our country!” Another claimed: “ADL. Established in 1913 to protect Jewish child murderers and pedophiles.”

Eytan Davidson, regional director for ADL Southeast, said in a statement: “Flyers like the ones discovered early Sunday morning aren’t meant to target individuals; rather they are meant to intimidate and scare entire communities. Those who distribute such hateful filth may be exercising their right to free speech, but that doesn’t mean law enforcement can’t and won’t investigate these actions and the people and groups behind them. It’s important for officials to speak out forcefully when hatred like this crops up so community members and neighbors know they aren’t alone.”

Later in the Monday session, a visibly upset Panitch, flanked by several of her colleagues, addressed the House chamber. “This weekend, it was my turn to be targeted. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time to be afraid as a Jew in the United States,” she said. “The flyers we received demonized Jews, Judaism, and Jewish culture. They’re filled with the classic antisemitic tropes about Jewish power and control. They came from a group famous for their outright antisemitic lies and Holocaust denial.”

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