Volusia County, Florida Sheriff Mike Chitwood said “cowardly scumbags” spread antisemitic leaflets throughout the county during the Daytona 500 weekend.
Chitwood said the fliers were found in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, and other parts of the county. The antisemitic language was also displayed on a banner over the pedestrian bridge during the race.
NGO StopAntisemitism identified the white supremacist groups responsible for the antisemitic propaganda as the Goyim Defense League and the NatSoc Florida.
“This is not only threatening to us, but it’s hurtful to us,” said Rabbi Rob Lennick, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler Counties.
StopAntisemitism has worked since 2018 to track incidents like this. They said the effort came at the hands of a hate group that has been operating since 2018. Their data shows incidents like this have been up 67% since 2020.
“This was an orchestrated planned effort of weekend harassment of the Jewish people,” said Liora Rez, executive director of StopAntisemitism.
Law enforcement agencies across the area are condemning this action but said there are limitations to deal with when it comes to doing more.
“It’s reprehensible, disgusting, but under that free speech umbrella,” Chitwood said.
But Lennick said he feels the rhetoric spread this weekend went beyond that.
“There is a point where hate speech becomes threatening speech or dangerous speech, and I happen to feel this crosses the line,” Lennick said.