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Sen. Jon Ossoff and Athens Faith Leaders Condemn Antisemitic Flyers

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA)

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff condemned the antisemitic flyers dropped on Athens residents’ doorsteps two weeks ago, joining the ranks of local officials and faith leaders who’ve also condemned the flyers.

Flagpole reported last month that Cobbham, Boulevard and Normaltown residents found the antisemitic literature bagged in their driveways the morning of Feb. 27. They were also found in the Newtown and Chicopee-Dudley neighborhoods, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. A UGA political science professor told Flagpole they were most likely the work of a relatively small and unorganized group called the Goyim Defense League.

“Athens’ Jewish community will not be intimidated by cowardly acts of hate. I condemn in the strongest terms recent despicable attempts to sow fear and division with hateful flyers delivered to families across Athens. Georgians are united in our rejection of bigotry,” Ossoff, who is Georgia’s first Jewish senator, said in a statement Tuesday.

A group of Athens faith leaders also recently wrote an open letter expressing their support for the Jewish people:

The Interfaith Clergy Partnership of Greater Athens (ICPGA) stands together to fervently condemn antisemitism in all of its manifestations.

Furthermore, we call on all in our community to be vigilant and to actively reject antisemitism wherever and in whatever form it occurs.

Antisemitism is not only an attack on Jews; it is an attack on the values we all hold.

The leaders of the Interfaith Clergy Partnership of Greater Athens believe that we are strengthened by religious and cultural diversity. We will not tolerate the proliferation of antisemitic tropes, stereotypes or actions.

As leaders of multiple faiths, we all deserve the right to practice, pray, and preach our faiths peacefully and openly. In this community, we practice many different religions and celebrate many different traditions. We honor our faiths in many different ways and hold as a fundamental human right the ability to think, express, and act upon what we deeply believe. We will continue to support religious freedom and must continue to preserve and protect it.

Our community and our world are strengthened by the contributions of the Jewish people, and we express our commitment to support and stand with Jews in the fight against bigotry and antisemitism.

The letter was signed by representatives of Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, Little Valley Church, Watkinsville First United Methodist, the Athens Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), Lake Oconee Community Church, New Grove Baptist, Congregation Children of Israel, Baha’i Faith, National Action Network, Al Huda Islamic Center, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens and St. Mary’s Health Care System, which is Catholic.

Mayor Kelly Girtz said Mar. 1 that the incidents were under investigation. However, it’s unlikely a crime occurred. Dunwoody police said last month that such literature is protected by the First Amendment.

Similar flyers were also delivered to homes in metro Atlanta last month, sparking a bill in the state legislature that would define antisemitic attacks on Jewish people as hate crimes.