A Jewish family in the Town of Chevy Chase was targeted with anti-Semitic flyers. Though I’ve obtained a readable copy, I thought I’d avoid posting it in full. It contains a wide range of historic and current libels and smears against the Jewish People:
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Of course, the flyer recycles accusations that all leading Bolsheviks were Jewish and responsible for mass murder. Additionally, the writer believes that Jews are responsible for all recent hurricanes, including Harvey, and had secret hiding places. The flyer demands that “Congress shall declare war on the Jews” in order to “seize and prepare caves for the people.”
The writer also falsely casts a negative quote from George Washington about currency speculators as being about Jews. Here is what Washington really said about Jewish Americans in response to a goodwill address from a synagogue:
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.
May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.
Beyond its content, the general design of the flyer indicates someone who is deranged and reminds me of some of the very strange mail I opened when I worked as an intern on Capitol Hill many years ago that all went into a special filing cabinet.
The Town Manager of the Town of Chevy Chase has been in contact with Montgomery County Police about this issue. Councilmember Joel Rubin also reached out to the Anti-Defamation League, which has been in touch with the affected household. As Joel explained in an email to neighbors:
If there’s any decent news from this incident, it’s that the ADL believes that there is one specific individual who is spreading these fliers throughout the DC region. They know who he is and are monitoring his actions closely, including working with the police on it. Apparently this hater has been taking such actions for years and is acting alone.
In terms of next steps, I’m in touch with the ADL to see if there’s more that we can do to be vigilant against this – and any – type of hate crime in our town. They asked that we share any additional incidents with them, and are also open to engaging the community further.
I have experienced vanishingly little anti-Semitism in my lifetime and most of it outside the U.S. A shame that the current political environment has given new agency to American purveyors of hate of all sorts. But is now less surprising even if no less un-American than when white nationalist neo-Nazis held a meeting in Friendship Heights to celebrate Trump’s election.
At the same time, I would not want to overly empower such individuals by leaping from this incident to a belief that Montgomery County has been overrun by anti-Semites. Though one should take such incidents seriously, it’s a mistake to generalize from the actions of an individual or small group of idiots.