Nassau officials condemn antisemitic fliers distributed in county

Nassau officials condemn antisemitic fliers distributed in county
The back and front of a flier that was distributed to homes along the south shore. It is the most recent instance of antisemitism on Long Island. (Photo courtesy of Anna Kaplan)

The distribution of a hate-filled flier targeting Jews across Rockville Centre and Oceanside has drawn outrage from Nassau County leaders.

At a press conference on Monday, County Executive Bruce Blakeman said the poster is believed to have been distributed by the Goyim Defense League. The group is a network of antisemitic internet trolls and conspiracy theorists.

Police said many Oceanside and Rockville Centre homes reported finding a clear plastic bag containing the antisemitic flier on their lawns.

Several anti-Jewish prejudices are listed on the poster. It also links the transgender community and Judaism to President Joe Biden’s administration.

This is the third notable case of antisemitism to occur in Rockville Centre in recent months. At a public board meeting in April, a resident voiced alarm over the area’s expanding Jewish population. The Proud Boys, a male-only, neo-fascist group, marched through the village in May.

State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Carle Place), who was born to an Iranian Jewish family, said that silence on the subject is inexcusable.

“The antisemitic trash being spread around Rockville Centre and Oceanside this week is just the latest in a long string of recent incidents impacting our community that is driven by antisemitism and hate,” she said. “We all need to stand together and send a strong message that we will never accept these groups or their shameful, un-American beliefs in our community.”

The flier features the headline “LET’S GO BRANDON,” which stands in for a vulgar phrase aimed at President Biden. It also has the subheads “EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS JEWISH” and “FACTS DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS.”

It features an Israeli flag, a row of images of Jewish officials in the Biden administration and their names and job descriptions. The poster lists two individuals as “TRANSGENDER” in bold red text.

The second side of the flier features the title “THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION” and the subhead “THE JEW’S PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION.” It includes several antisemitic myths that suggest Jews want to take over the world.

Kaplan said hateful tactics like this discourage people from marginalized communities from pursuing public service.

“As Americans, we need to reject these tactics with every ounce of courage we have,” she said. “This is not who we are.”

Other state officials, such as Gov. Kathy Hochul, also condemned the fliers.

“These offensive tropes and despicable conspiracy theories have no place in our state,” she tweeted. “We stand with our Jewish neighbors and continue our fight to root out antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head.”

A recent Anti-Defamation League report said New York continues to lead American cities in recorded antisemitic incidents. 

The 416 occurrences reported made up a 24% increase over the 336 instances the organization recorded in 2020. It accounted for 15% of all reported antisemitic events nationwide.

Nassau County leaders formed a special legislative task force in January to confront antisemitism. Along with the causes and prevalence of county antisemitism, they advocated preventative measures like community collaboration and education.

County Executive Bruce Blakeman led the group’s initial meeting in May. On Monday, he said there was no place for hate in Nassau County.

“Let me tell you something, this is coming from the first Jewish county executive in Nassau County,” said Blakeman. “We will not tolerate that kind of hate speech.”

According to police commissioner Patrick Ryder, county police are collaborating with local authorities to find out who disseminated the fliers. He said that the ADL has contacted them and promised to help.

“It’s not accepted here in this county. We have zero tolerance for it,” he said. “And we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that there is an arrest.”

Police believe that a white 2009-10 Toyota Prius is involved as the car was seen close to the location where the fliers were distributed. They are asking anyone with information to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS or dial 911.

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