Anti-Semitic, racist flyers were found on parked cars in South Philadelphia on Nov. 7-8, Queen Village and Bella Vista residents told CBS3.
The page-long flyer makes several false claims about the Jewish community and African Americans.
“It was quite disturbing,” Betsy Oliphant Ross, who found a flyer on her car, told CBS3. “It was very racist, anti-Semitic and I was very disturbed someone was passing it along South Street.”
The Philadelphia Police Department said an investigation is ongoing.
In response to the incident, the Black Jewish Alliance of the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia released a statement.
“We strongly condemn the racist flyers placed on cars on South Street and in the surrounding South Philadelphia neighborhoods over the weekend,” the statement said. “The hateful and racist sentiments of these flyers have no place in our city. We deplore his cowardly act of intimidation. South Street is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, with people of all races, religions, and nationalities living, working and visiting the area. South Street is a microcosm of the growing diversity of our country and is a place where a richness of cultures and religions should be celebrated and where there is no tolerance for intolerance.”
Philadelphia hasn’t been a stranger to anti-Semitic messages in 2019.
In March, anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist messages were found in the SEPTA Spring Garden station. Messages written on pillars throughout the platform called to “Boycott Israel” and “Make America Great For Once” among other slogans. Above drawings of a crossed-out swastika and a crossed-out Star of David read “Israelites Are The New Nazis.”
In June, a man was caught on video defacing three of the six pillars at the Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza. The man picked up a rock and etched the letters “RBM” on two pillars and what looked like SS bolts, a known neo-Nazi/white supremacist symbol, on the third.
Recently, there have been other reports of anti-Semitic flyers distributed near Philadelphia.
A man was caught on video leaving anti-Semitic flyers on vehicles in Evesham Township, New Jersey, on Oct. 10. His description is identical to that of a man who left anti-Semitic flyers in the area on Oct. 19, also caught on video. Evesham Township Police Department’s investigation into both incidents is ongoing.
In 2018, the ADL documented 1,187 incidents of white supremacist propaganda distributed in the U.S., a 182% increase over the previous year. That number was surpassed by more than 500 in the first nine months of 2019.
Robin Burstein, senior associate regional director of the ADL of Philadelphia, said groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Identity Evropa distribute their message through flyers as a means to remain anonymous. Burstein referred to a previous statement she made in response to those who say distributing such flyers is free speech.
“Just because that man who is distributing the flyers has the right to say what he is saying on those flyers, we, as the rest of the community, have the right and the obligation to stand up and speak out against the message on those flyers and to stand together for unity and inclusiveness,” she said.
[email protected]; 215-832-0751