Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Antisemitic Hate Not Welcome in Local Neighborhoods; Campillo Takes Action

From windshields to front yards, San Diego residents have woken up morning after morning to antisemitic flyers littering their property.

At least eight separate neighborhoods, including Del Cerro, San Carlos, and Allied Gardens, have been hit over the past few months.

The flyers are being distributed by local members of a white nationalist group called the Goyim Defense League.

These coordinated campaigns have covered nearly a third of the country and often target historically Jewish neighborhoods or ones with a sizable Jewish community. They typically feature the names and pictures of prominent Jewish individuals in a variety of industries or supposedly related to hot-button political issues such as gun control, immigration, abortion, and Covid. Their goal is to spread conspiracy theories aimed at denigrating the Jewish people.

Residential streets surrounding Temple Emanu-el in Del Cerro, Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Carlos, and Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, have all been victimized by these flyers.

Unfortunately, the San Diego Police Department can do little aside from taking reports, collecting the flyers, and checking surveillance footage. A suspect who lives in the San Carlos area has been identified, but at present could only be charged with littering, since no current statute covers the distribution of hateful propaganda.

San Diego District 7 City Councilmember Raul Campillo was contacted by so many of his constituents who found the flyers that he felt compelled to do something.

“The perpetrators of these antisemitic crimes won’t just stop flyering out of the goodness of their hearts – they need strong laws to deter them, and our laws on the books now aren’t forceful enough,” said Campillo. “My office is actively working on legislation to address this disparity. I want the community to be the first to know that we are taking action on this. Help is on the way to stop these hateful incidents.”

Working with Campillo’s office is Liora Rez, executive director of StopAntisemitism, a national nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to exposing groups and individuals that espouse incitement towards the Jewish people and State and engage in antisemitic behaviors.

“StopAntisemitism has been tracking these vile flyers for years and we know that they are more than just trolling – they’re inciting hate. Those behind the flyers are the same group that is behind the freeway banner drops, provocative protests, and light shows. They are convicted child molesters, abusers, and arsonists,” said Rez. “That’s why we are proud to work with Councilmember Campillo on this initiative; taking action to hold these bigots accountable is in everyone’s best interest.”

Rez points to the antisemitic assault of Rabbi Aharon Shapiro as an example of how quickly the hate harassment campaigns can devolve into actual violence towards Jews. While the incidents may not be directly connected, Rez says that “what starts with the Jews, never ends with Jews. Everyone should be concerned about the spread of hate.”

Rabbi Shapiro was attacked inside of a 7/11 near SDSU in late July by a man who first asked him if he was Jewish, then tore at his religious clothing, while spewing an antisemitic tirade against the Jewish people and Israel. SDPD Lieutenant Adam Sharki said that the incident was being investigated as a hate crime and that “SDPD stands united with our community against bigotry and aggressively investigates these types of incidents.”

Councilmember Campillo held a press conference to announce the new ordinance last month in front of Temple Emanu-el.

He was joined by Rez and other Jewish leaders, as well as law enforcement, other faith leaders, and members of the community. The new ordinance would amend and expand the City’s Municipal Code, making it a misdemeanor for any person to litter with the intent to willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person based on their perceived characteristics. The ordinance will come before the city’s Public Safety Committee before ultimately going to a vote at the City Council.

Some good has come from the hate: brothers Devin and Nathan Schiel of Del Cerro were given a commendation by Councilmember Campillo after he heard the young boys rode their scooters around collecting the flyers, preventing more neighbors from being subjected to the hate.