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Sheriff: ‘Cowardly scumbags’ spread anti-Semitic flyers throughout Volusia County

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said “cowardly scumbags” spread anti-Semitic leaflets throughout the county during the Daytona 500 weekend.

Chitwood said the fliers were found in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach and other parts of the county. Anti-Semitic language was also displayed on a banner over the pedestrian bridge during the race.

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“This is not only threatening to us, but its hurtful to us,” said Rabbi Rob Lennick, executive director of Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler Counties.

Non-profit Stop Antisemitism has worked since 2018 to track incidents like this. They said the effort came at the hands of a hate group that has been operating since 2018. According to their data, incidents like this are up 67% since 2020.

Read: Ormond Beach police investigating after anti-Semitic propaganda distributed, chief says

“This was an orchestrated planned effort of weekend harassment of the Jewish people,” said Liora Rez, executive director of Stop Antisemitism.

Law enforcement agencies across the area are condemning this action, but said there are limitations to deal with when it comes to doing more.

Read: Residents in West Orange County neighborhood find antisemitic flyers on doorstep

“It’s reprehensible, its disgusting but its under that free speech umbrella,” Chitwood said.

But Lennick said he feels the rhetoric spread this weekend went beyond that.

“There is a point where hate speech becomes threatening speech or dangerous speech and I happen to feel this crosses the line,” Lennick said.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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