Police in Beverly Hills, California, have launched an investigation after residents received anti-Jewish hate speech flyers ahead of the first night of Hanukkah, the department said Sunday.
The flyers were likely distributed overnight in what police are calling a “hate incident,” according to a statement from the Beverly Hills Police Department. Police said they received a call from a resident reporting a flyer in their front yard shorty after 6 a.m. on Sunday. Hanukkah began Sunday evening.
The flyer contains “propaganda style hate speech related to the COVID pandemic and the Jewish people,” the department said in a statement.
A portion of the flyer received by residents said, “Every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish,” according to CNN affiliate KABC.
“Police surveyed the area and discovered that the flyers, enclosed in plastic bags containing rice (for weight), were distributed to homes in several blocks in the northeast area of the City,” the police statement said.
The Anti-Defamation League has previously called out the use of anti-Semitic language to promote conspiracy theories around the Covid-19 pandemic. For this Hanukkah, ADL has launched #ShineALight to raise awareness around anti-Semitism and how communities can respond.
Hate crimes in the US reached a 12-year-high in 2020, with more than 7,700 criminal hate crime incidents reported to the FBI, according to the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics report. There were 683 anti-Jewish attacks last year, according to the FBI data, down from 963 in 2019.
Officers were conducting extra patrols in Beverly Hills Sunday “to ensure a safe holiday season,” police said.
Anyone with information or video related to the flyers is encouraged to contact the police department.