“It’s just hate, nothing but hate.” More antisemitic flyers were left at homes in Nassau County. Newsday TV’s Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Newsday staff; NCPD

Laura Sinberg woke up Saturday morning to find that antisemitic hate speech had infiltrated her quiet Oceanside neighborhood.

Sinberg, along with several of her neighbors, discovered flyers on their driveway spewing anti-Jewish rhetoric targeting the news media, bankers, medical professionals and government leaders.

"I'm disgusted," said Sinberg, who is Jewish, on Monday. "I'm not really frightened because I've dealt with antisemitism in the past. This is not a first for us. But it's horrible because our communities are mixed. We've never had to deal with something like this. This is just insane."

In the past week, several variations of the flyer — focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration or conspiracies about the "Jew's plan for world domination" — have appeared throughout Oceanside, Long Beach and Rockville Centre, each of which have sizable Jewish populations. A line at the bottom of the flyers stipulates that "these flyers were distributed randomly and without malicious intent."

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said about 30 homeowners, many of whom are Jewish, have received the flyers, although he suspects the number is likely higher.

Doorbell cameras, Ryder said, show the flyers, placed in ziplock bags and weighed down by uncooked rice, tossed out of a moving car, believed to be a white 2009 or 2010 Toyota Prius, under the cover of darkness. Police are searching for whoever tossed the fliers and have increased patrols in the neighborhoods as well as around synagogues and other houses of worship.

Law enforcement officials said the flyers are the work of the Goyim Defense League, a loose network of antisemitic conspiracy theorists and internet trolls. The hate group also operates a video platform that streams antisemitic, white supremacist, pro-Hitler, anti-Black and transgender content.

"It's not accepted here in this county," Ryder said at a news conference Monday outside of the Fourth Precinct in Hewlett.

"We have a zero tolerance for it," the police commissioner said. "And we're going to do everything we can to make sure that there’s an arrest at the end of the day."

Ryder said the group's attorney has contended to police that the flyers are free speech, Ryder said. But the police commissioner disagreed and said detectives are working with prosecutors to determine if the act can lead to charges of harassment and potentially hate crimes.

Efforts to reach representatives from the Goyim Defense League or their attorney were unsuccessful.

The group was responsible for at least 74 antisemitic propaganda incidents in 2021, including in Florida, California and Colorado, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The group takes part of its name from the Yiddish word "goyim," which refers to anyone who is not Jewish. 

The flyers, which spout antisemitic tropes about corporate-owned Jewish media and lists Jewish members of the Biden administration, have drawn scorn from local, state and federal officials ranging from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to Gov. Kathy Hochul. The Goyim Defense League also contends the Holocaust is a lie and that Jews are responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, according to the ADL.

Bruce Blakeman, Nassau's first Jewish county executive, said the flyers were meant to spread discord and hate and should not qualify as free speech.

"This communication is meant to alarm people. To harass people. And to create an atmosphere of terror," Blakeman said. "If it was a valid, free speech communication, why did these cowards do it in the middle of the night? Why don't they disclose who they are? They're like KKK, who used to wear hoods. They're nothing more than cowards. And we're going to stand up to those cowards."

Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D'Esposito said residents are concerned for the safety of their families.

"When they wake up in the morning, their kids, their grandchildren are running out the front door to find leaflets filled with hate," D'Esposito said. "This isn't a Republican issue. It's not a Democrat issue. This is an American issue. And the fact that here in Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead we have residents who are waking up and actually fearful that someone came onto their property, violated their space and filled their yard with hate, is a problem."

Elie Weinstock, rabbi of the Jewish Center of the Atlantic Beach, said his constituents want answers.

"The community is outraged and getting … exasperated and fed up that these incidents keep repeating," said Weinstock, who serves as chairman of Nassau County's Legislative Council on antisemitism. "There's a boiling caldron of hate and anti-Jewish sentiment that is creeping into the communities and people are disturbed."

Carmella Pacifico of Oceanside, a Roman Catholic who received a flyer Saturday morning, believes the group is also looking for potential converts to their ideology.

"I hate it. It makes me angry because there’s no reason for it," Pacifico said. "Where are we? This is America for God’s sakes. Let everyone be themselves."

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