Over the weekend, antisemitic messages were displayed in multiple locations in Jacksonville, Florida. The antisemitic messages made national news, in part because the city was hosting the college football game between the University of Georgia and the University of Florida. One of the messages was broadcast on the stadium where the game was held.
Neo-Nazi groups on Telegram are taking credit for these and other antisemitic messages that appeared in multiple locations in Florida and other states in the last week.
On Saturday, the day several antisemitic messages appeared in Jacksonville, National Socialists Florida shared a message on Telegram from the Lazer Nazi.
“A special thanks to everyone in the National Socialist community who have helped make this dream a reality,” they wrote. “Stay tuned, this is only the beginning THE LAZER NAZI will continue spreading the truth and naming the Jew. Tonight we raised the bar. Tomorrow Victory.”
National Socialists Florida, sometimes abbreviated to Natsoc Florida, advocates for a “fascist Florida” and falsely claims the Holocaust is “an anti-white lie.” Its website says that none of its activities are illegal.
According to multiple posts in the Lazer Nazi Telegram channel, antisemitic messages were also displayed on the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine on Sunday. St. Augustine is just south of Jacksonville.
The videos show messages projected onto the monument’s exterior: “Jews owned the slave ships and ran the auctions” and “Jews owned the slave ships and most of the slaves.”
In the Lazer Nazi Telegram channel, the poster shared numerous reports about its antisemitic acts, as well as videos of the acts, including one where they used antisemitic slurs while they projected onto a highway overpass.
National Socialists Florida is apparently also working with another antisemitic group.
On Telegram on Friday, Goyim Defense League thanked National Socialists Florida for “showing us a Good Time Today!” The post included images of an antisemitic banner on an overpass in Jacksonville.
Goyim Defense League is a network of antisemitic provocateurs, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Last week, a banner hung over a Los Angeles freeway had the same exact message that was projected in multiple locations in Jacksonville on Saturday. The messages read, “Kanye is right about the Jews,” referring to recent antisemitic statements by the artist now known as Ye.
StopAntisemitism.org told NBC News that the Goyim Defense League was responsible for the Los Angeles banner.
Goyim Defense League also posted live streams from downtown Jacksonville where one of the antisemitic messages was displayed on Saturday night.
Screenshots provided to the Daily Dot indicate that someone involved with the group may have Maced a teen over the weekend.
In a since-deleted comment on one of Goyim Defense League’s Telegram posts about the antisemitic banners in Jacksonville, a subscriber claims that they sprayed a teen but the teen “didn’t press charges.”
In the same comment thread, the subscriber, James, posted photos of stapling antisemitic fliers to utility poles. The fliers include links to Goyim Defense League’s video streaming service.
The photos appear to be from Austin, Texas. A recycling bin in one photo includes a logo with the URL for the local government website. Another photo in the same batch shows a local high school.
In audio files James uploaded, he says that he confronted a group of teens, possibly seniors in high school, who removed some of his fliers near the school. James said the teens told him his fliers were hate speech and he insisted he had the right to post them on the utility poles, then walked away.
“One of the guys I was already in the dispute with tried to bring me the flier aggressively,” he said. He told the teen to stay away, James said, but “he still stepped in, so I had to deploy my tactical Mace on and blind his ass. Pretty powerful stuff.”
He said that the teen called the cops, but they didn’t arrest him. “I got out of that situation with law enforcement too, because I carry the Constitution,” he said.
Another subscriber congratulated him. “Great job handling the cops,” they wrote. “There is a small chance that cops will go back to the [gay slur] brainwashed teens to encourage them to press some kind of charge against you.”
They urged James to “stay out of sight for a few days.”
The antisemitic fliers posted in Austin have not been previously reported.
Police in Jacksonville, Florida told CNN that it’s investigating the local antisemitic incidents but thus far haven’t identified any laws that were broken. The local branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation told the outlet that it’s in contact with local police about the incidents.
In a message sent to local Jewish leaders on Monday that was provided to the Daily Dot, FBI Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Sherri Onks said, “No matter how abhorrent or repulsive, expressing one’s views is protected by the First Amendment and not a crime by itself, but true threats are not protected speech. When a threat or actual violence targets someone based on their race, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability, it meets the criteria of a federal hate crime.”
Many Florida leaders condemned the antisemitism in their state.
In a statement, Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried said, “The first step is to ensure we do not normalize this behavior. Do not normalize antisemitic messages above a freeway, or anywhere else.”
As of Monday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) had not followed suit, in spite of repeated calls on him to make a statement. DeSantis was at the football game where some of the antisemitic messages appeared.
The antisemitic Telegram groups appear emboldened by the visibility of their recent incidents and the fact that no one has thus far faced any consequences.
On Monday, the Lazer Nazi polled users to ask if it should display: “‘Want a real scare? Investigate Jewish power in America’ atop a skyscraper for Halloween???”