What is the National 'Day of Hate?' Police warn Jewish communities to be vigilant this weekend
Police departments and Jewish organizations across the U.S. are bracing for antisemitic confrontations and harassment after reports of neo-Nazi groups organizing a national "Day of Hate" Saturday, Feb. 25.
As of Friday afternoon, no specific targets or locations have been named online. Instead, law enforcement anti-terrorism agencies and antisemitism watchdog groups around the country have noted plans for general action to intimidate and spread fear among Jewish communities.
In a leaked internal memo by the New York City Police Department's Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau, officers were warned that online organizers are "instructing likeminded individuals to drop banners, place stickers and flyers, or scrawl graffiti as a form of biased so-called action."
We’re truly living in the worst timeline right now….NYPD had to issue a "Situational Awareness Alert" because Nazis are planning a "National Day of Hate" this Saturday pic.twitter.com/r7MWoJyTqV
— Wu-Tang is for the Children (@WUTangKids) February 23, 2023
Similar warnings have gone out in Chicago, Indianapolis, New Jersey and elsewhere.
This comes as antisemitic attacks are increasing around the country. In 2021 the U.S. saw the highest number of incidents against Jewish people ever recorded by the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group that has been tallying attacks on the Jewish community since 1979, and that number is almost certainly low due to underreported incidents. A survey from the ADL showed that the number of Americans who hold extreme antisemitic prejudices or believe in antisemitic tropes has doubled since 2019.
In just the last two months in Florida, anti-Jewish flyers have been found distributed in Daytona Beach, West Palm, Lakeland, Vero Beach, on the University of Florida campus, and antisemitic banners have been displayed over highway overpasses. Last October, an electronic antisemitic message appeared at TIAA Bank Field at the end of the Georgia-Florida game.
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Here's what we know so far.
What is the National 'Day of Hate?'
The National Day of Hate is rumored to be an event planned by neo-Nazi, antisemitic groups to harass and intimidate Jewish communities.
When is the National 'Day of Hate'?
Saturday, Feb. 25. Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath or Shabbat, which many Jews observe by attending synagogue prayer services.
Who is behind the 'National Day of Hate?'
According to the Counter Extreme Project (CEP), an international policy organization that tracks extremist groups, several neo-Nazi groups have been sharing plans for the day through Telegram posts. They identified the National Socialist movement as one of the organizers.
Several extremist groups have said they are participating in the event, including the Goyim Defense League, whose leader, Jon Eugene Minadeo II, recently moved to Florida from California, according to the ADL.
"GDL’s overarching goal is to expel Jews from America. To that end, they cast aspersions on Jews and spread antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories in hopes of turning Americans against the Jewish people," the group wrote.
Minadeo, who told Jacksonville police officers, he was "the most famous anti-Semite in America on the internet," told the Times-Union, "There is no such thing as hate speech. There is only free speech."
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What's supposed to happen on the 'National Day of Hate?'
Plans circulated online within various extremist groups call for flyer distributions, banner drops, protests and graffiti, according to the ADL.
“While the groups involved in this organized effort are relatively small, they have attracted significant media attention for their abhorrent activities,” said David Goldenberg, the Midwest regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
In response, some law enforcement agencies have issued warnings to local synagogues and have announced that additional resources would be made available at houses of worship and other sensitive areas.
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What are 'days of action?'
Since 2021, white supremacist networks have been designating "days of action" as a tactic to unite white supremacists and draw attention to their cause. A similar day of hate was launched by a small eastern Iowa-based neo-Nazi group earlier this year, according to the North Jersey Record, and a multistate action was coordinated in 2021 to drop racist banners on the anniversary of the killing of George Floyd.
Participants are urged to document their activities to spread across social media.
What should I do if I am confronted, attacked, or see antisemitic behavior?
Do not confront individuals committing these antisemitic activities. Contact law enforcement instead. As always, the ADL is here as a resource and we will be monitoring this situation closely, sharing updates on this channel when necessary. Follow @ADL_Tracker for more.
— ADL Tracker (@ADL_Tracker) February 9, 2023
“We recommend that community members not interfere with protests,” Goldenberg said. “The best recourse is to stay away from any events and report them immediately to law enforcement.”
You also can report hate crimes to the State Attorney’s Office’s Human Rights Division hotline at (904) 255-3099.
How are people fighting back against the National 'Day of Hate?'
The ADL has announced that Saturday should be a #ShabbatOfPeaceNotHate to let bigots know their efforts at intimidation won't work.
Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUS, which fights antisemitism, countered that the best response "to the sick hate day being promoted is to participate in something uplifting, `A Shabbat of Love' in which people gather with friends and celebrate with joy."
Gabriel Groisman, a father of five and the former mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida, echoed her sentiments: "Jew Haters around the US are calling for a 'day of hate' this weekend: I'm calling for a Weekend of Jewish Pride. Join me!"
Contributors: Will Carless, USA TODAY; Deena Yellin, The Record; Jake Allen, Indianapolis Star
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Possible 'Day of Hate' alarms law enforcement, Jewish communities across U.S.