ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Local leaders are warning residents about anti-Semitic fliers circulating in two St. Petersburg neighborhoods.
“St. Pete is not going to stand for racism, for anti-Semitism, for this type of hate-filled action,” said city councilwoman Darden Rice.
Rice says residents came forward to report the “disturbing” fliers this week that were found in the Historic Uptown neighborhood and along the city’s iconic Beach Drive.
“It was a very paranoid flier,” said Rice. “It basically made Jewish people the extreme of anything and logically you can’t be the extreme of both ends of the spectrum.”
ABC Action News has learned The Anti-Defamation League warned the Florida Holocaust Museum recently about a “small network of virulently antisemitic agitators” who had plans to target the Tampa Bay area.
“We have been in communication with the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and they have both been very responsive on this issue. The type of actions groups like this employ are very hurtful, especially to our Holocaust Survivor population, as they echo the antisemitic propaganda seen during the Holocaust. We are deeply appreciative for the overt support of our community in the face of such vitriolic hatred," said Elizabeth Gelman, the museum’s executive director.
“We are all in this together and hate has no place here,” said Rabbi Philip Weintraub. “We’ve lived in a climate of harsh words for far too long and we need to work to build those bridges to work together.”
The St. Petersburg Police Department said while officers did investigate, a crime has not been committed.
“It is part of a campaign by an organization based in California, that is touring Florida to push First Amendment rights,” said an agency spokesperson.
Local leaders vow to keep an eye on the group responsible and believe this will open a critical dialogue about fighting hate.
“We’re going to shine a light on it because that sunshine is the transparency that disinfects racism, anti-Semitism, and this kind of hate,” said Rice.