By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – As antisemitism rises throughout the country, Colorado’s Jewish community is witnessing hate speech in their own neighborhoods. Hurtful flyers have recently been distributed throughout the Denver metro area from a group familiar to antisemitic groups.

“Antisemitism numbers are out the roof here in Colorado. Last year was the second highest, just one more than it had been the year before, of hate crimes against Jewish people,” said Scott Levin, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

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Levin says he’s familiar with the group responsible. They’ve spread hate through Colorado before. The ADL has been in touch with local police departments regarding the hateful flyers.

On Jan. 23, the Denver Police Department says it received reports of flyers containing antisemitic language. The flyers were distributed in the Country Club neighborhood, but they’ve also been seen throughout the metro area.

These flyers showed up only a week after hostages were taken at a synagogue in Texas.

“These particular flyers argue that Jews are somehow responsible for COVID, either they caused it or they’re profiting off of it,” said Levin. “They use whatever pretext or excuse they can to blame Jews, whether it’s for COVID or causing 9/11. This group is out just to provoke and to get people riled up to support their belief that Jews are responsible for all bad things.”

Local synagogues have been on high alert for years as crimes against Jewish people continue to rise. Rabbi Yisrael Ort with Chabad of Auraria Campus says if a person can have causeless hatred, then we can have causeless love.

“When we light up a room, we don’t have to turn off the darkness in the room. We merely have to flip on the light. So to me, it means that we just need to add more light,” said Ort.

(credit: CBS)

Ort recently received a letter from a group of Christian pastors and leaders.

It reads in part:

“We are committed to solidarity with our Jewish neighbors and to fighting against the onslaught of antisemitism. Additionally, we are working to create awareness in our congregations concerning past and present antisemitism.”

Ort said, “That was very nice to receive the letter of support this past week in light of what happened in Texas and elsewhere, and these recent events as well.”

Levin says this community needs allies. They hope people will speak out and say this speech is not acceptable.

“Even if this isn’t a crime, it’s probably a hate incident. We still need the police to know what’s going on. They need to track and monitor and see what’s happening. Because if this ever does escalate, they really need to be there prepared in the time of need,” said Levin.

The ADL says it’s important that people call 311 or the non-emergency police line to report things like those flyers so police can monitor these incidents.

Denver Police says these flyers are being investigated by DPD’s Bias Motivated Crime Unit.
Anyone with information on this incident should contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.

Tori Mason