ATLANTA, Georgia (WANF) — On Sunday morning, Andrea Ferrard walked to the end of her Roswell driveway to get the paper. Sitting next to it, neatly bagged up on the pavement, was a flyer that blamed Jewish people for the slave trade.
“I’ve seen them before on the news,” said Ferrad. “It was really upsetting. I’m a native, I grew up here, and this is not something that happens and it’s not okay.”
Ferrard wasn’t the only one in her neighborhood to get one – far from it. A good portion of the almost 400 homes in the Edenwilde subdivision awoke to some kind of hateful flyer on their property, from literature linking Jewish people to abortion and the immigration crisis, and urging residents to “secure a White future.”
Some flyers contained demeaning misinformation about the LGBTQ community.
“This country is built on diversity and that’s its strength,” said Ferrard. “And we should be more about love and trying to find some common ground rather than trying to sew up division.”
It’s the most recent of a string of instances like it in the metro area.
In February, similar flyers popped up in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, and in April, they were found in East Atlanta.
“I’ve been a Rabbi in the North Fulton area for 25 years. For 24 out of the 25 years, I never heard any of this,” said Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz with Chabad of North Fulton. “It’s exhausting yes, it’s disappointing yes, and when these things happen people start to get concerned.”
Rabbi Minkowicz pointed to the Georgia legislature’s failure to pass HB140, legislation that would have defined antisemitism and also allowed prosecutors to use hateful acts towards Jewish people as evidence when trying potential hate crimes.
“A thing like that would’ve helped a lot because it would define exactly what’s considered a crime and what’s not,” he said. “I would hope that our elected leaders would see this and this coming legislative session they’ll make sure to do what they have to do and pass that law.”
Police tell Atlanta News First that while they disagree with the things printed on the flyers, and have even identified a party responsible, there’s no crime to prosecute under Georgia law. Frightening as it is, the flyers – police say – are protected free speech.
A Q-R code on the flyers link to the homepage of the Goyim Defense League, a known and loosely organized antisemitic group that the Anti-Defamation League shows has an active presence in Georgia.
“We don’t live with fear, Jews, we’ve learned to not live with fear,” said Rabbi Minkowicz. “So a leaflet here and a leaflet there, I’ll never be scared to walk down the street. What scares me is the fact that there are people that think like this; act like this and it just seems to be growing.”
“Whether it’s your child, whether it’s your coworker, whether it’s your parents, whether it’s a spouse, whether it’s anyone in your orbit you have an ability to influence them to stay away from hateful and negative speech, that’s the part we have to do,” he continued. “It’s not something that the other guy has to take care of. Every single one of us has to play a role.”
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