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Anti-Jewish ‘Goyim Defense League’ (GDL) Leaflets Laced with Rat Poison Discovered in Illinois Suburb

For the second time this year, antisemitic flyers were found recently on the hoods of cars in the Lincoln Park neighborhood– this time inside zip-lock bags also containing a substance that resembled rat poison.

According to Ald. Timmy Knudsen (43rd), some of the flyers were found in bags including a “substance with the appearance of rat poison” near Geneva Terrace and Belden Avenue. 

The Jewish advocacy group StopAntisemitism has been tracking the activities of those responsible – the Goyim Defense League’ or ‘GDL’ for over five years and state they vilify Jews with their premeditated hate campaigns.

The Chicago Police Department is investigating. 

“I saw the Star of David and it was just like my heart sank,” said Arden Joy, “and then I saw another one, and then another one – on each doorstep.”

Joy fund dozens of zip-lock bags while walking her kids to school – all with hateful, questionable contents.

“I don’t know – what do you tell at 4-year-old about how people are leaving – this about him?” said Joy.

Police counted 84 bags in all – placed on top of cars and in doorways with an unknown substance inside.

“This appears to be – at least it looks like rat poison,” said Joy.

As the Israel-Hamas War continues, Rabbi Mendy Benhiyoun – who heads Chabad of Lincoln Park – worries the flyers are a symptom of a growing trend. This was the second time flyers were left on cars in Lincoln Park conveying similar messages this year.

In early February, flyers with antisemitic messages were placed on dozens of cars in Lincoln Park. 

“I thought it was an isolated incident,” Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said in February. “It turns out it is not. It is one of a series of incidents that have been occurring on the North Side of Chicago for a period of about two weeks.”  

It is not known if these incidents are connected. 

“This started with flyers and people’s cars – and it escalated to, you know, the appearance of poison, or whatever this is,” said Benhiyoun.

To the rabbi, there is no question of the author’s intent.

“Someone that is trying to intimidate,” said Benhiyoun. “Someone that’s trying to spread hate.”

The flyers also contain a disclaimer at the bottom claiming, “These flyers were distributed randomly without malicious intent.” But Ald. Knudsen does not buy it, and believes the location was deliberate.

“The 43rd Ward has a very culturally rich Jewish community, and it’s a strong one. It’s one of the strongest in the city. I do believe that that is why we’re being targeted,” Knudsen said. “People need to stand up against hate speech in their small circles, in their schools, in their businesses, and in their communities – because if you don’t, it has the capacity to grow.”

Mayor Brandon Johnson released the following statement in response to the discovery of the flyers:

“Hate has no place in Chicago. 

“The antisemitic fliers left on cars and at residences in Lincoln Park is a wicked act, and my administration will be working with the Chicago Police Department to investigate this matter and to hold any and all perpetrators accountable.”

Police could not confirm whether or not they were testing the bags’ contents to see if they do, in fact, contain rat poison – though neighbors have reported that was what they were told.