The Disturbing News: Two major incidents of anti-Semitic acts have occurred in Georgia over the weekend, sparking outrage and condemnation from government officials and religious leaders.
What Happened?: The Chabad of Cobb and Temple Beth Israel in Macon both experienced anti-Semitic incidents on Friday.
The Chabad of Cobb received a visit from a group known as the Goyim Defense League, who spread their hateful message with signs and Nazi flags outside the Chabad on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Temple Beth Israel received flyers and a visit from the same group on Friday. Both organizations issued statements condemning the actions and reassuring their communities that there is no threat at this time.
Georgia politicians also weighed in, with Governor Brian Kemp and Senator Raphael Warnock condemning the behavior. Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar of Temple Beth Israel released a video response to the incident, where she offered support and encouragement to her congregation.
According to reports, the leader of the Goyim Defense League, Jon Minadeo, was arrested in Macon on Friday.
The Quotes: From Chabad of Cobb:
“We are extremely appreciative and thankful for the outpouring of support and concern from all segments of the community. We have been in communication with Cobb County officials, who have identified these individuals as part of a small group that travel around the country in order to spread their hateful message.
“East Cobb has been a wonderful home to a flourishing Jewish community for many years. These individuals do not represent the sentiments of the citizens of East Cobb .
“We are working closely with Cobb County officials and the Police Department to ensure the security and safety of our campus. There is no threat whatsoever at this time.
“Ultimately, we must remember that the most potent response to darkness is to increase in light. Let’s use this unfortunate incident to increase in acts of goodness and kindness, Jewish pride, and greater Jewish engagement.”
From Georgia Governor Brian Kemp:
“There is absolutely no place for this hate and antisemitism in our state. I share in the outrage over this shameful act and stand with Georgians everywhere in condemning it.”
From Senator Raphael Warnock:
Yesterday we saw antisemitism on display in Macon, and now in metro Atlanta. This has got to stop.
“Praying for our Jewish community in Georgia and beyond. We must all raise our voices loudly against this vile hate.”
From Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar of Temple Beth Israel in Macon:
“Antisemitism is not a new phenomenon; it pains me greatly that today in Middle Georgia we have been forced to confront it twice. The first were flyers left in Warner Robins and the second on our doorstep. Our history is filled with moments where our faith and resilience have triumphed over our adversity and struggles. It is in those moments of deep challenge when our collective spirit shines through and inspires others.”
The Video: Bahar posted the following video in response to the hate group’s actions.
Why It Matters: Anti-Semitism is a serious issue that has been on the rise in recent years. These incidents are a stark reminder that it is still a present threat in the United States. The Nazi flags and Nazi sentiment are disturbing signs of a growing movement that many in the United States believed society had overcome and that would not happen here.
What’s Next?: The Chabad of Cobb and Temple Beth Israel are working with law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of their communities.
It is unclear at this time what actions will be taken against the Goyim Defense League and its leader, Jon Minadeo.
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