The GDL is known to federal and state law enforcement, but the group stays within the boundaries of legal free speech and has not acted violently, Rabbi Mark Rosenberg, a Florida police chaplain, told Hamodia. “They’re careful to be within the law, and much as the authorities would like to do something about it, there’s nothing they can do.”
The GDL, which is tracked by hate watchdogs and federal and state authorities, seized public attention by unfurling banners with antisemitic statements on overpasses in Los Angeles in 2020 and in Texas in 2021.
The group is “very denigrating for the Jewish community, obviously,” Rosenberg said. “These people are standing outside shuls, or the Holocaust museums, with Nazi symbols.
Over the weekend, a handful of GDL members traveled to Miami Beach and Surfside and scattered close to 300 flyers to private homes, “throwing it like you deliver the newspaper.”
Local police and Homeland Security officials reached out to Rosenberg beforehand so the community would be on alert. The area is home to thousands of Jewish families, and many more travel to the area for vacation, particularly during the winter.
The hateful flyers were condemned by local officials; Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber tweeted, “There is no place for this in our community & we will do all we can to make that point clear.”
The district attorney is looking into the situation to see if the group can be charged with any crimes.
Rosenberg said “We don’t feel troubled or concerned over here,” adding he was more worried in May 2021, when the group announced it would tour Florida and the members posted video footage of themselves at Jewish organizations and community sites with hate symbols.
But, he added, the Jewish community was on alert in light of the hostage situation that occurred in Texas. “We go from being very comfortable, taking things for granted … people don’t to come out with their children expecting flyers on their lawn blaming such a deadly pandemic on the Jewish community.”
The effort of hundreds of individual flyers, each one in its own plastic sandwich bag and weighed down with pebbles, and each one delivered to a private home, was especially unsettling.
“Covid had caused so much suffering as it is,” he added. These pamphlets are “trying to change the narrative of the world and that’s why it’s so hurtful to the Jewish community … Its adds fuel to the fire.”