Nazi Litterbug(s) In Nassau

Janet Burns

Originally published in Nassau Illustrated News

Nassau police and lawmakers are looking for answers about the party or parties responsible for distributing fliers containing antisemitic, antitransgender disinformation in three Nassau County communities in July.

The Nassau County Police Department says that one or more people in a white 2009 or 2010 Toyota Prius may be among those responsible for littering southern Nassau communities with antisemetic, white nationalistic propaganda two weekends ago.

According to police and local leaders, at least a few dozen fliers were surreptitiously distributed sometime between late Thursday, July 21 and early Saturday, July 23. Distribution of the fliers seemingly occurred in at least two ‘waves’ late at night on Thursday and then Friday, separated by an initial wave of public condemnation.

The fliers were first discovered in Oceanside and Rockville Centre on Friday morning, July 22, folded into plastic bags weighed down with grain and tossed onto residents’ front steps or lawns. That day, Rockville Centre police and a handful of local legislators and rabbis held a press conference condemning the actions, and displaying a large blow-up of one side of the flier. Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray commented during the presser, “This divisive rhetoric and behavior needs to be stopped now.”

Then on Saturday, July 23, residents of Long Beach reported finding the fliers tucked under their cars’ windshield wipers; according to local sources, yet more fliers were also found that day back in Oceanside. Some area residents believe the bagged fliers were placed on their property by someone moving on foot, rather than tossed from a moving car.

Printed on one of side of the fliers in question is a version of the more than a century old, fictitious, antisemitic propaganda “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which states that Jewish people are hoarding wealth but also plan to “introduce a progressive wealth tax,” among other hateful and known-to-be-dangerous nonsense.

On the back of the fliers, versions of which have been spotted in a handful of U.S. states, is more antisemetic propaganda (depending on the flier batch, alternately declaring that “every single aspect” of the Biden Administration, the Covid pandemic, abortion, and/or the Walt Disney Company “is Jewish”) as well as references to the pro-MAGA phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” and to the purported source of the fliers: the so-called “Goyim Defense League,” which references the anti-semitism-fighting Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a sort of incendiary parody.

According to the ADL, the “Goyim” group is a loose network of mostly online neo-nazis who have popped up in New York, Florida, and a few other places, likely led by around five or six right-wing, white supremacist individuals, including several based in California; the hate group’s online content also has thousands of followers.

As news spread of the fliers’ distribution in Nassau, numerous politicians condemned the hateful propaganda, including State Assemblymember Judy Griffin of Rockville Centre, State Senator Anna Kaplan, Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.

Senator Kaplan commented in a statement, “Under no circumstances can we remain silent in the face of the vile filth being disseminated by extremist groups seeking to poison our community with their repulsive rhetoric. 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 are driven by antisemitism and hate, and 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.”

In the days following the incidents, Legislator Arnold Drucker called for a formal investigation into the fliers’ distribution by the Nassau County Task Force to Combat Antisemitism. In a letter to Rabbi Elie Weinstock, chair of the task force, Drucker wrote, “I strongly believe that an investigation by the Task Force to Combat Antisemitism would be highly beneficial in our efforts to assuage the legitimate and growing concerns that Nassau County residents have expressed in recent days regarding these disgusting incidents. Furthermore, facts and data gathered during such an exercise will provide us with crucial guidance as we devise comprehensive public outreach campaigns and law enforcement strategies in the interest of preventing hateful acts like these in the future.”

The Nassau County-based Anti-Racism Project, which offers trainings and has previously spoken out against unpermitted Proud Boy demonstrations in Rockville Centre, commented by email, “Messages of hate will not be tolerated. As an organization we will continue to educate, speakup and speak out and urge all communities to be forceful and follow all legal recourse in combating hate speech.”

Assemblymember Judy Griffin said in a statement shortly after the first wave of fliers that she was “incensed and disgusted” that residents in her district had to discover such hateful garbage on their lawns. “This trash should not be left on anyone’s door, let alone under the cover of darkness,” Griffin said.

“These loathsome and malicious individuals only encourage violence, hate, and division. I appreciate the efforts of Village of Rockville Centre Mayor, Rockville Centre Police, Nassau County Police Department, and Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in investigating this abhorrent incident thoroughly,” Griffin continued. “I absolutely condemn this anti-semitic attack and completely agree with this meaningful statement by Eric Post, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Long Island regional office: ‘Antisemitism is not just something that affects Jews. It affects all of us.’”