Authorities investigating after anti-Semitic flyers distributed overnight in South Florida

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South Florida authorities are investigating the origin of anti-Semitic flyers that were distributed overnight in Miami Beach and Surfside neighborhoods, police said Sunday.

Miami Beach police increased patrols in neighborhoods and religious institutions following the first report received shortly after 7 a.m., Ernesto Rodriguez, the department’s spokesperson, told Miami Herald via email.

“There is no place for hate in our community and it will not be tolerated,” he said.

Residents of the neighboring town of Surfside were also targeted, the city told its residents in an email alert sent Sunday afternoon.

Surfside officials, which subsequently increased patrols in the area, said in an email alert that the anti-Semitic flyers are “related to the COVID pandemic.”

“We have detectives working with our local and federal partners to determine the origin of the flyers,” officials noted.

The homes that received the anti-Semitic flyer in Surfside are located on 88th Street, Froude Avenue, Carlyle Avenue and Byscaya Drive, said Sgt. Jay Matelis, a spokesperson with the Surfside police department.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in a tweet that hundreds of families found small plastic bags with the anti-Semitic flyer and small rocks inside.

“There is no place for this in our community and we will do all we can to make that point clear,” he tweeted.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava — the county’s first Jewish mayor — called the community to “condemn this disturbing flyer.”

“Anti-Semitism and all acts of hatred and bigotry cut especially close to my heart,” she said via Twitter.

In an email sent Sunday afternoon, Temple Beth Sholom told its parishioners that the temple remains vigilant about security after a man held four people hostage during a 10-hour standoff at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, on Jan. 15.

“As all of us are on heightened alert after Colleyville,” the temple said.

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation and its Jewish Community Relations Council also condemned the anti-Semitic flyers.

“The distribution of anti-Jewish hate materials fits a pattern of white supremacist groups that routinely seek — both locally and in communities throughout the country — to capitalize on anti-Semitic incidents to further their abhorrent cause,” the organizations said Sunday afternoon in a joint statement.

The anti-Semitic flyers appear to have beeen distributed by the Goyim Defense League, or GDL — a loose network of anti-Semites and white supremacists with leaders in Florida, New York, California and Colorado, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The Anti-Defamation League documented GDL propaganda distributions in states such as Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont in December. In most cases, the organization said the group’s propaganda contained anti-Semitic claims, including “every single aspect of the Covid agenda is Jewish.”

“These hateful messages have no place in our communities,” the Anti-Defamation League tweeted.

If you find an anti-Semitic flyer or have video showing who may have left the flyers, you may contact Miami Beach Police Department at 305-673-7901 or Surfside Police Department at 305-861-4862.

This story is developing and will be updated.