TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Jewish community leaders warned constituents of anti-Semitic actions that took place over the weekend.
According to a message sent out by the Board and Management of the Tampa Jewish Community Centers and Federation, anti-semitic flyers were handed out in the Hyde Park area.
The Tampa JCC and Federation said it believes the flyers were distributed by a white supremacist and anti-Semitic group known for its “‘Name the Nose’ tours, which can involve several days or even weeks of anti-Semitic stunts in a particular geographical area,” the message from the board said.
Flyers with offensive allegations has made a community feel less safe today.
“It’s incredibly scary you’ve seen the rise in antisemitism over the past few years and it’s something that we’ve dealt with quietly but it’s scary for sure,” said Sara Miller, a Hyde Park neighbor.
Miller is of the Jewish faith. She didn’t see the flyer herself because other neighbors in Hyde Park collected and threw out dozens of them, so others wouldn’t see.
”It’s unfortunately not surprising,” said Miller. “I’m happy that somebody was able to get rid of the flyers before maybe more people had a chance to see them.”
The Florida Holocaust Museum released a statement, saying, “These flyers are shocking, but their false assertions of Jewish control and conspiracy – in this case alleging that both ‘Disney and the US Covid response are part of a Jewish agenda’ – typify an ancient antisemitism that has led to the persecution and death of Jews for millennia. Such tropes should have no place in Tampa or anywhere else.”
Jewish community leaders said an official report was made with the Tampa Police Department, and the FBI is now involved.
“We are aware of the incident, however as a matter of longstanding policy, the FBI neither confirms nor denies the existence of an investigation,” the FBI said in a statement to 8 On Your Side.
The Tampa JCC and Federation warned that it would be best not to post the propaganda on social media since that helps their cause. Instead, it encouraged people to report incidents online at www.jewishtampa.com/security.
“It’s the response to the neighbors just saying luck this is not what we stand for this is not what we want in our community,” said Jonathan Ellis, chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
Ellis said the flyers bring home the fact that there is still a level of hate within Tampa Bay and it has added a fear of personal safety.
It comes as the Anti-Defamation League, which is a Jewish civil rights group, said anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. reached all-time high last year. There was a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism in 2021. This is a 34% increase from 2020.
“Am I really safe? is this just a prelude to something that may be worse is this just to create a level of anti-semitism? Is it a publicity stunt?” Ellis said.
“While there is no evidence of any imminent threat at this time, we take all antisemitic incidents very seriously and we’ll continue to keep you up to date with the information you need to help keep us all safe.” the message said.
Similar flyers have been distributed in cities across Florida, including Sarasota in recent months.