Fliers littered over Alachua County this weekend prompted a swift rebuke from City of Gainesville officials along with condemnation from the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student and Community Center.
In an announcement on Sunday, Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe said called the fliers an attack on the local Jewish community. He urged residents to notify the police department of any instances of the encounter and said the fliers don’t represent the community.
The antisemitic fliers came from a well-known hate group in Florida that has garnered attention over the past year and a half, according to Rabbi Berl Goldman of the Lubavitch-Chabad Center.
“Unfortunately, antisemitism, hate and bias is not new, and it rears its ugly head in many forms, then and now,” Goldman said in a phone interview. “Unfortunately, this has come to our doorstep here in Gainesville.”
Goldman, who has served in Gainesville since 1999, said the center found out about the fliers immediately, noting that the center has been the target of groups before. He said the group responsible has also aimed at other groups besides Jews.
Goldman said Jews and non-Jewish neighbors had reached out to express their outrage and concern. And he added that the attacks will fail. Light triumphs over darkness, Goldman said, and for every flier distributed,
“For every negative flyer they distribute, good neighbors, good people throughout Gainesville—Jew and non-Jews alike—band together and support each other,” Goldman said.
To combat antisemitism or any hate, Goldman said the community needs education and acts of kindness. He called the two responses the “right reaction” to the fliers.
He also noted that local and state law enforcement had the group on its radar. If someone comes across the antisemitic fliers or literature, Goldman said to contact law enforcement without touching the materials.