Georgia political leaders including Gov. Brian Kemp Monday condemned a weekend outbreak of antisemitism in Atlanta’s northern suburbs.
Residents of neighborhoods in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody awakened Sunday morning to find antisemitic flyers in their driveways.
Kemp offered the aid of the state’s law enforcement resources to help the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody police departments investigate the incident if requested.
“This kind of hate has no place in our state, and the individuals responsible do not share Georgia’s values,” the governor posted on Twitter. “We will always condemn acts of antisemitism.”
Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns informed his legislative colleagues from the chamber’s rostrum on Monday that one of the victims was freshman state Rep. Esther Panitch, D-Sandy Springs.
“Anti-Semites who seek to harm/intimidate Jews in Georgia. I’m coming for you with the weight of the state behind me,” Panitch warned in a Twitter post.
Burns, R-Newington, said the “repulsive incident” flies in the face of America’s tradition of pluralism.
“We are blessed to live in a country which, through its very motto, recognizes our collective strength – E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one,” he said.
On the Senate side of the Capitol, Sen. Sally Harrell, D-Atlanta, whose district includes Dunwoody, said hate-filled incidents are on the rise in Georgia and haven’t been limited to the Atlanta area. She mentioned Newnan, Macon, Carrollton, Rockmart, Columbus, and Cartersville as communities hit with antisemitic flyers.
“No one – not one Georgian should ever wake up to hate,” added Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain.
Butler praised the General Assembly for passing hate crimes legislation in 2020 after Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger, was murdered by two white men near Brunswick. A third defendant also was convicted of murder in the case.
State Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, has introduced a bill during the current legislative session establishing a definition of the term “antisemitism” for purposes of monitoring and investigating antisemitic incidents and developing policies to combat antisemitism.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation