Law Enforcement Warns of Potential Neo-Nazi ‘Day of Hate’
Police departments in major cities have issued alerts regarding a potential national “Day of Hate” against Jewish people and institutions. Neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups on social media are reportedly calling upon followers to engage in vandalism and spread antisemitic propaganda on Saturday.
An analysis of social media activity by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) found that the call to action stemmed from accounts associated with the National Socialist Movement, and three regional extremist groups based in Iowa, New York, and California.
Law enforcement in New York, Illinois, and Florida have issued bulletins and statements announcing plans for heightened attention to extremist activity this weekend, but maintain that they’ve identified no specific threats of violence against Jewish communities.
The New York Police Department, as well as law enforcement in Lakewood, New Jersey, issued statements promising increased vigilance, but assured the public that no explicit threats by extremists had been identified. New York Attorney General Letitia James addressed the reports on Twitter, writing that “New York will not stand for a single day, hour, or minute of hate against our communities” while encouraging the public to report threats or suspicious activity to police.
The Chicago Police Department wrote in a statement that while there is currently “no actionable intelligence” regarding specific threats, the department will “continue to actively monitor the situation.” Miami police indicated that while they “have not received any credible threats to South Florida, public safety remains our top priority.” The department stated that they have “augmented patrol around Jewish institutions, and any other potentially vulnerable locations” as a precautionary measure.
Jewish advocacy organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, issued statements regarding the possibility of targeted attacks and harassment against Jewish people and worship spaces. The ADL wrote on Twitter that “the nationwide extremist ‘Day of Hate’ campaign planned for this Saturday is meant to be intimidating and divide us,” and called for the celebration of a #ShabbatOfPeaceNotHate on Saturday.
The nonprofit watchdog Stop Anti Semitism also called for Jewish worshippers to be “vigilant, specifically during Synagogue services this Shabbat,” and report suspicious activities to authorities.
Several lawmakers, including Representatives Shontel Brown (D-Ohio), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) condemned the potential “Day of Hate” on social media. “There is no place for their hate in our district, no place for their hate in our state, and no place for their hate in our country,” Goldman wrote in a tweet to followers.
Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, tells Rolling Stone that despite the lack of specified threats, the series of targeted attacks against Jewish people in recent weeks provided a concerning backdrop for the threat of a planned “Day of Hate.”
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Two Jewish men were shot and wounded in Los Angeles last week in a suspected hate crime, and earlier this week neo-Nazis protested outside a preview of the Broadway show Parade, a musical about the lynching of an innocent Jewish man. One of the groups promoting the so-called “Day of Hate” has been linked to the Broadway protest. Segal explains that while the ADL did not identify specific targets in social media posts related to the “Day of Hate,” the nature of the groups prompted them to alert law enforcement regarding the matter.
“Hopefully [Saturday] passes with little or no activity. At the same time we know that pretty much every weekend for over a year there have been activities that have been discussed by these white supremacist groups,” Segal says. “This is not the first time a weekend or a national day has been called for, but it’s in that climate that we felt we didn’t have the luxury to ignore this.”