On Saturday, Jan. 7, the Claremont Colleges Campus Safety Department was alerted that flyers containing antisemitic messages had been distributed both on campus and in surrounding residential areas.
Administrators from Scripps College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College and Pomona College notified their respective students and faculty of the incident shortly after Campus Safety became aware of the situation.
The posters promote the Goyim Defense League (GDL), an antisemitic extremist group led by Jon Minadeo II. The GDL operates a streaming site with thousands of followers that regularly espouses antisemitic content.
The group has members nationwide and largely attracts those involved in various white supremacist and antisemitic movements. In November, the GDL organized a rally in LA to support Ye’s, formerly known as Kanye West, antisemitic outbursts on social media.
The inflammatory flyers posted in Claremont are just one incident of the GDL’s nationwide antagonism. The Anti-Defamation League reports that antisemitic incidents are on the rise nationwide. In the United States, Antisemitic events increased over a third in 2021 from 2020.
In an email to the Pomona community, President Gabi Starr condemned the rise of antisemitic propaganda and affirmed the institution’s stance against hate speech.
“As an institution of higher learning, we are committed to the ongoing work of both opposing antisemitism and affirming a vital Jewish community life,” Starr said.
Pitzer Interim President Jill Klein echoed Starr and encouraged community members to “honor Pitzer’s core values of social responsibility and intercultural understanding” in an email on Jan. 9.
Starr later confirmed via email that The Hive and Pomona’s ITS building were the only buildings on campus to be defaced with the GDL promotional flyers. However, in the two days that followed the incident, two lime green posters that referred to Christian nationalist Julie Green as a “prophet” were taped to a light post outside of Estella Laboratory, near The Hive.
Outside of the 5Cs, at least 11 houses near campus also received the GDL flyers. The flyers often included bible verses and targeted various public figures related to online dating and pornography companies.
According to the Claremont Courier, similar flyers have been distributed throughout the Inland Empire recently, including in nearby Upland.
Jewish Chaplain and 7C Campus Rabbi Hannah Elkin, expressed grave disappointment and frustration with the GDL’s vandalism.
“[I was] unfortunately not surprised,” Elkin said to TSL via email when she recalled being made aware of the flyers. “Organizations like the [GDL] have been very active around the country, including posting similar flyers around neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and Southern California.”
“[All of this] impacts every member of the Jewish community in Claremont,” Elkin said. “Even rhetoric and flyers are frightening because we have a lived and historical understanding of how speech can turn into violence,” Elkin said.