Over the Labor Day weekend, residents of a Florida town were confronted with a distressing situation as they received numerous antisemitic flyers, prompting urgent warnings from the police to dispose of this hateful material.
In the community of Wellington, located in southeastern Florida, early Monday morning, more than 100 plastic bags containing antisemitic propaganda, along with an unknown pellet, were discovered. These bags were predominantly found in residents’ driveways, as reported by the Palm Beach Post. The flyers within the bags disseminated false claims, including baseless accusations that Jewish people were responsible for the Covid pandemic, alongside other antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Similar incidents were reported in neighboring Florida counties, with the West Palm Beach police department confirming the discovery of plastic bags in at least one of their neighborhoods. The Okeechobee county sheriff’s office also reported finding over 100 plastic bags with similar content, advising residents to exercise caution when encountering these materials, using gloves or plastic bags to pick them up and dispose of them without attempting to open them.
The Palm Beach county sheriff’s office emphasized that no direct threats had been made, and they were actively investigating the matter. As of Monday morning, no arrests had been made in connection with these incidents.
This disturbing occurrence was not an isolated event, as residents in other neighborhoods had encountered similar flyers distributed over the past year. In January, a group distributed nearly 150 such baggies with antisemitic flyers in West Palm Beach, some of which contained animal pellets and wood shavings. Subsequently, a different group, identified as out-of-state residents, distributed identical antisemitic messaging in plastic bags and received citations for littering from Palm Beach police.
This unsettling incident is part of a broader trend of rising hate crimes in Florida. A report from the Anti-Defamation League noted a 71% increase in extremism and hate crimes in the state between 2020 and 2022. The report also highlighted concerning patterns of coordination among extremists in Florida to carry out these hate crimes.