ADL: Reports of white supremacist propaganda tripled in NJ last year – Burlington County Times

Posted By on February 17, 2020

White supremacists have also become more active on college campuses, according to the report, which called that trend "alarming."

Reports of white supremacist flyers, posters and other propaganda more than tripled in New Jersey last year, putting the Garden State near the forefront of a troubling national surge, the Anti-Defamation League said.

The ADL's Center on Extremism documented 143 reported cases of supremacist material in New Jersey in 2019, up from 41 the year before.

It was the third straight steep increase in New Jersey, which ranked fifth-highest among states in the U.S. for such incidents. Nationwide, distribution of supremacist literature more than doubled, the group said.

"The barrage of propaganda, which overwhelmingly features veiled white supremacist language with a 'patriotic' slant, is an attempt to normalize the white supremacists' message and bolster recruitment efforts," said Oren Segal, the ADL's vice president for the Center on Extremism.

The materials typically targeted minority groups including Jews, African Americans, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community, he said. Among their messages: Immigrants must be deported, diversity is bad for America and the Holocaust "didn't happen but should have."

White supremacists have strengthened propaganda efforts across the nation, with the highest number of incidents reported 2,713 since the ADL began tracking the distribution of such materials three years ago.

White supremacists have also become more active on college campuses, according to the report, which called that trend "alarming." The groups targeted 433 college campuses in 43 states with the propaganda last year, including eight campuses in New Jersey, the report said. The materials often aim to direct students to social media, the ADL said.

While dozens of white supremacist groups distributed information last year, three were responsible for about 90% of activity in New Jersey and beyond, the ADL said: the Texas-based Patriot Front, the American Identity Movement and the New Jersey European Heritage Association.

Efforts to reach the European Heritage Association through its website were unsuccessful on Wednesday. The group's message, according to the site: "The White European peoples in America and abroad are racing towards the cliff of extinction," facing low birth rates and "a tide of third world immigration."

"The future of our world is a dark one, literally and figuratively," says the site. It also says the association is opposed to violence and seeks "peaceful political change through the education of the masses."

Increased awareness may partially explain the increase in incidents, the ADL said in a statement Wednesday. But extremists also are "more emboldened by the current environment," said Evan Bernstein, the ADL's Northeast Division vice president, "and flyering and stickering provides an easy and anonymous way to spread their hateful message to a large audience."

He urged New Jersey residents to push back.

University leaders should speak out against the white supremacist messages and reject messages of hate that spring up on their campus, said the ADL's Segal.

He pointed to the prominence of more subtly biased rhetoric in some of the white supremacist material, emphasizing patriotism, as a sign that the groups are attempting to make their hate more palatable for a 2020 audience.

By emphasizing language about empowerment, without some of the blatant racism and hatred, Segal said, white supremacists are employing a tactic to try to get eyes onto their ideas in a way thats cheap, and that brings it to a new generation of people who are learning how to even make sense out of these messages.

The propaganda incidents tracked for the report encompassed 49 states and occurred most often in 10 states: California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington and Florida. Only Hawaii had no reports.

This article contains material from The Associated Press.

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ADL: Reports of white supremacist propaganda tripled in NJ last year - Burlington County Times

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