On Saturday, an appalling incident took place in which neo-Nazis waving swastika flags demonstrated outside a Chabad synagogue in Cobb County, Georgia. The community was shaken on Saturday as worshippers were confronted with a distressing sight of Neo-Nazis staging a protest outside their sacred place of worship, according to a report by the Daily Mail, based on the online media posts of members of the synagogue. In addition, other antisemitic incidents occurred across the state, resulting in the arrest of the leader of a white nationalist hate group.
A group of approximately twelve individuals belonging to the Goyim Defense League (GDL), a hate group notorious for espousing antisemitic conspiracy theories, targeted the Chabad of Cobb County synagogue in East Cobb, situated just north of Atlanta.
In response to this appalling demonstration, law enforcement was alerted and arrived at the scene. However, they opted to allow the protest to proceed, allowing the Jewish members of the congregation to confront the Neo-Nazis directly. Videos circulating on social media capture the intense exchanges, with the Jewish worshippers expressing their outrage and demanding the immediate departure of the hate group members.
Stewart Levy, a member of the targeted, wrote on Facebook that he is overwhelmed. “Antisemitism at my synagogue. The most frightening thing I have seen in my 65 years. It's very hard to believe that this is happening in Cobb County. The police are allowing it because it is 'free speech,'” he wrote.
Chabad released a statement via social media, emphasizing that the perpetrators represented only a small group traveling nationwide to propagate their hateful ideology. “We are extremely appreciative and thankful for the outpouring of support and concern from all segments of the community,” the statement read. “We have been in communication with Cobb County officials, who have identified these individuals as part of a small group that travels around the country in order to spread their hateful message. East Cobb has been a wonderful home to a flourishing Jewish community for many years. These individuals do not represent the sentiments of the citizens of East Cobb,” Chabad said. They concluded that “ultimately, we must remember that the most potent response to darkness is to increase in light. Let’s use this unfortunate incident to increase acts of goodness and kindness, Jewish pride and greater Jewish engagement.”
What is the Goyim Defense League?
GDL is a group known for spreading antisemitic ideologies and promoting conspiracy theories. Operating primarily on social media platforms, it has also established an online video platform called GoyimTV. The GDL engages in various activities aimed at harassing Jews, including distributing flyers, conducting banner drops and engaging in other provocative actions. The GDL has been recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors such organizations.
In a tense turn of events, the leader of GDL, Jon Minadeo Jr., was apprehended on Friday evening during a demonstration marred by antisemitic sentiments in Macon, Georgia. The arrest followed a series of distressing incidents that have left the Jewish community deeply shaken, 13WMAZ reported.
According to the report, earlier in the day, protests organized by the GDL erupted outside Temple Beth Israel in downtown Macon. Witnesses reported Minadeo Jr. using a bullhorn to shout obscenities and spread hate-filled messages. Local law enforcement, already monitoring the situation, swiftly took action and charged him with disorderly conduct and public disturbance.
The disturbing actions of Minadeo Jr. and his group, however, extended beyond the protests. According to 13WMAZ, in the nearby community of Warner Robins, residents woke up to a chilling sight: their front yards littered with antisemitic literature. The flyers, believed to be distributed by the GDL, contained inflammatory content aiming to incite hatred and discrimination.
Law enforcement authorities quickly responded to the alarmed calls from concerned residents. Lieutenant Eric Gossman of the Warner Robins Police Department confirmed that the pellets accompanying the literature were non-toxic, serving only as a means to hold the flyers down. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has classified the GDL as an extremist group, raising concerns about their activities and message.