Anti-Semitic flyers found in Sarasota neighborhood


SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Residents of the Arlington Park community in Sarasota woke up this weekend to find anti-Semitic messages at the end of their driveways.

The paper leaflets were slipped into plastic bags with rice to weigh them down. The same thing happened in nearby neighborhoods about six weeks ago.

Sarasota police were called to Craft Lane Saturday morning. The responding officer noted that the flyer delivery method and documentation matched previous cases in neighborhoods a few miles away.

“It feels like we’re being targeted in Sarasota, but it’s actually happening everywhere. The saddest part is what’s happening in our community is happening elsewhere,” said Brian Lipton, regional director of the American Jewish Committee for the West Coast of Florida “The thing that we are so proud of in Sarasota is that we know this is not representative of our community. We have heard from our friends at the catholic community and the muslim community.The appeals have been so supportive and show us that we are going to stick together and not let hate win…not here, not anywhere.

As flyers were scattered on residential streets in February, Cherokee Park residents launched a campaign of unity. Today, thousands of signs reading “Unite Against Hate” are displayed across the county and beyond.

The Sarasota Jewish Manatee Federation also held a “unity rally” following the February incidents. CEO Shep Englander says Sarasota has already responded to hate.

“Over 400 people came together — Jewish, non-Jewish, black, white, men, women, young, old — and said we stand united against hate,” Englander said. “Their question is can we find a way to divide this community, can we find a way to get neighbors to blame neighbors or people to deny it and look away and we already have answered the question. The answer is no.”

Similar flyers were distributed in communities across the country.

“This band is not a local band…it’s a national band. They chose Sarasota as one of over 50 cities where they dump their hateful waste,” Englander said. “Every day that we continue to listen to each other, to respect differences, to be inclusive, we overcome them.”

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