ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — “I was almost speechless,” Rita Mitchell said about the moment she heard that residents in several neighborhoods not far from downtown Ann Arbor were targeted by people spreading anti-Semitic propaganda across the area.
“To bring such a hateful message to any community, I wouldn’t want it for any community.”
It appears a group known for spreading conspiracy theories and propaganda that targets Jewish communities is behind the plastic baggies being tossed onto driveways. In each bag are four papers containing their anti-Semitic messaging.
Small rocks and uncooked popcorn were also left in the baggies to keep them from blowing away.
Concerned for his family’s safety, one man spoke to 7 Action News on the condition that we would not show his face or use his name. One of the baggies stuffed with papers was left on his driveway.
“I think it’s disgusting and it’s unfortunate,” he said, adding that he saw the baggies in “driveway after driveway” while he was walking his dog early Sunday morning.
Ann Arbor police said they received reports of the fliers in baggies, but it’s unclear how many calls they received. So far, they have not found anything criminal in nature with the messaging on the papers.
The group named on the papers is called the GDL and the Anti-Defamation League said the GDL is responsible for at least 74 anti-Semitic incidents in 2021 and that the GDL has continued what’s referred to as “propaganda drives” in 2022 across 17 states.
“I don’t want to say that you get used to this kind of language, but it’s, unfortunately, part of the world we live in,” said one man. “I don’t like to see it in my neighborhood, but I also won’t be moved by it.”
The man added that there was one beautiful moment that came out of the incident. It happened as he was heading back home with his dog.
“I saw someone walking about 100 yards in front of me, going from driveway to driveway. And, at first, I thought this was someone laying more of it down,” he said.
But as he got closer, he realized it was a girl trying to spare others from having to see the papers in the plastic baggies.
“It was an 11-year-old girl who was going through the neighborhood with her mother, picking all of them up and getting rid of them. So, I would say that this is a sign of what a strong community we have here and what great support we have among each other and a reminder of that. And I hope that people who live around here would focus on that more than this garbage that got thrown around,” he said.