Antisemitic rice bag incident shakes small Massachusetts town

The police believe the antisemitic rice bag incident was the work of the neo-Nazi extremist group the Goyim Defense League.

 A bag of rice (illustrative). (photo credit: RAWPIXEL)
A bag of rice (illustrative).
(photo credit: RAWPIXEL)

An incident involving the distribution of zip lock bags filled with rice, accompanied by offensive content targeting the Jewish community was reported to the West Brookfield Police Department (WBPD).

West Brookfield is a small town in Worcester County, Massachusetts. According to a statement by WBPD, on Tuesday, they received reports from individuals who "received zip lock bags containing rice and offensive content.

"We understand that such actions can be deeply distressing and cause concerns among residents. While the content may be protected by free speech laws, we recognize the impact it can have on those affected," the statement said.

"We value the diversity and unity within our community, and we stand against any form of discrimination or intimidation," WBPD added, sharing that they have been in close contact with the regional Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of New England and have reached out to other area religious leaders. "After consultation with the ADL, we believe this literature was distributed by the Goyim Defense League (GDL) which is recognized as neo-Nazi extremist group operating nationally."

Is the Goyim Defense League behind this incident?

Though it hasn't been officially linked to the GDL, another case of distribution of antisemitic flyers was reported on Saturday, this time in Manchester Missouri. The local police department has launched an investigation into antisemitic leaflets found on the lawns of homes in Manchester and Ballwin MO. According to reports in local media.  While heading out to retrieve his mail on Saturday, Manchester local Phillip Helm discovered one such leaflet in a bag at his driveway's entrance.  Upon seeing the content, Helm remarked, "At first, it seemed out of the ordinary. But as I read on, it was clearly antisemitic. I was deeply disturbed by it."

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.