Fliers Blaming Jewish Community For 'COVID Agenda' Are Being Found in These States

Strikingly similar fliers that blame the "COVID agenda" on the Jewish community were found in both Florida and California over the weekend, prompting investigations, outrage and fear.

Though the fliers appeared on opposite sides of the country, they all began with the statement that "every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish," according to news reports. They also list several officials, such as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the head of pharmaceutical company Pfizer, that the unknown writers of the flyer claim are part of the so-called "COVID agenda."

The Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism has documented flier distributions such as these in states including: Alabama, California, Colorado, Idaho, Florida, Vermont and Texas, according to its website.

The most recent incidents this past weekend occurred in Florida's Miami Beach. The police department tweeted Sunday that it had received reports of the fliers being distributed overnight in residential neighborhoods.

The department said that detectives were working to figure out where the fliers had come from and that patrols had been increased in neighborhoods and at religious institutions.

"There is no place for hate in our community and it will not be tolerated," the department tweeted, instructing anyone who found or received the fliers to contact them.

Fliers Emerge in U.S. States
Florida’s Miami Beach Police Department tweeted Sunday that it had received reports of fliers blaming the Jewish community for the "COVID agenda" being distributed overnight in residential neighborhoods. A man on a rental Citi Bike rides past an example of Art Deco architecture in Miami Beach on Nov. 16, 2014. Jennifer Kay/AP Photo

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber tweeted that people from hundreds of homes had found the fliers, folded in plastic bags with several pebbles inside to weigh them down, outside their residences.

A picture of one of the papers posted by Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman showed that several conspiracy theories were also printed on the fliers, though a note at the very bottom of the page says that the fliers "were distributed randomly and without malicious intent."

The paper directs people seeking more information to visit a site that describes itself as an "Anti Kosher, video sharing, Live Streaming, Jewish supremacist naming platform."

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Groisman both condemned the fliers on Twitter

"As the Mayor of our beautifully diverse, inclusive and caring community, and the first Jewish Mayor of Miami-Dade County, antisemitism and all acts of hatred and bigotry cut especially close to my heart," Cava tweeted.

Across the country, residents of San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood also found the fliers littered on their doorsteps Sunday morning, KNTV reported. A picture of the fliers seen in footage from the television station shows that they also begin with the statement that "every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish," with the same officials, conspiracy theories and site for more information listed.

Late last year, residents in and Pasadena and Beverley Hills in California found fliers over a December weekend beginning, again, with the same statement on the "COVID agenda," Newsweek previously reported.

"The distribution of [antisemitic] fliers in Pasadena and other Southern California communities over the weekend is abhorrent and totally goes against the values of our city and its residents," Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo said in a statement.

Fliers were also found in Greensboro, North Carolina, over the same weekend. It was not clear if they were identical to the fliers found in Florida and California, but Greensboro Jewish community leaders said in a statement that they sought to "spread antisemitic, blatantly false, and evil conspiracies about the COVID-19 virus and our nation's efforts to combat its spread."

Carla Hill, the associate director for the ADL's Center on Extremism, told Newsweek that the ADL believes the fliers are part of a propaganda campaign reportedly spearheaded by Jon Minadeo II of Petaluma, California.

According to Hill, Minadeo leads an antisemitic group called the "Goyim Defense League," which the ADL's website described as "a loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism." The group's name is a parody of the ADL's, and the term "Goyim" is a a disparaging Yiddish and Hebrew word for non-Jews, Hill wrote.

The GDL operates GoyimTV, a video platform that Hill said features antisemitic content, and the site listed on the fliers. Hill told Newsweek that the group is a "loose network" that includes a lot of people who may just listen to and be fans of the content that the GDL puts out.

"They're not members so to speak, where they like join up maybe a white supremacist group, but there's definitely support where they share their antisemitic views. The trolling efforts that this group does, this is part of it, to do this and get attention for it and try to make the Jewish community afraid," she said.

The ADL has pinpointed incidents as part of the GDL's propaganda campaign in a handful of states, but Hill said members are most active in Florida, California and Texas and Colorado.

When the fliers were strewn throughout the California neighborhoods last month, it was part of a "nationwide display of bigotry and hate" over the weekend of December 18-19 led by individuals associated with the GDL and "White Lives Matter" movement, Hill said.

GDL members have embraced a variety of antisemitic conspiracy theories in regard to COVID-19 and vaccines. For example, Colorado members hung a banner from a Denver overpass in December 2020 that read "COVID-19 IS A LIE. IT'S NOT ABOUT HEALTH. IT'S ABOUT CONTROL," Hill wrote.

Update 1/24/22 5:20 PM ET- This story has been updated with additional information and statements from the Anti-Defamation League.

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