A white supremacy group has allegedly launched a campaign of hate in Lakewood, NJ. According to the state’s Anti-Defamation League, at least two incidents have viciously targeted the city’s Jewish community over the weekend.
The first was a flier campaign. “Thieving Jews Near You,” the flier reads, in an apparent reference to 14 Lakewood residents who have been accused of fraudulently obtaining welfare assistance. “1.4% of the American population is Jewish. 48% of American billionaires are Jewish. Does crime pay for Jews?”
The same group reportedly unfurled a banner over a Holocaust memorial which contained an ethnic slur and a claim that they “will not divide us.” The group, Vanguard America, seemed to take responsibility for the banner and the fliers as both showed a link to the group’s website. It’s unclear when the banner or the fliers were placed, however, the ADL’s tweets suggested that the flier campaign occurred before the banner.
Lakewood, NJ, is home to a “flourishing Orthodox Jewish community,” according to USA Today. The incidents appear to have stemmed from a series of arrests that shocked residents: Last Tuesday, following two days of raids, seven married couples were arrested for “fail[ing] to disclose income from numerous sources on applications for Medicaid, housing, Social Security and food assistance benefits,” reports CBS News.
The Anti-Defamation League called for “residents, elected officials, community, and religious leaders [to] offer full-throated condemnation of this anti-Semitic attack in Lakewood,” in a post on Twitter.
State authorities have not announced whether they were investigating either incident as a hate crime. The state’s Attorney General, Christopher Porrino, described the vandalism as “sickening” on Twitter and added that police were offering $10,000 for information related to the banner.