Chatter using the WhatsApp and Telegram instant-messaging services and other social media prompted police departments in major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, to issue warnings about a “Day of Hate” planned for Saturday, Feb 25, by Neo-Nazi antisemitic organizations as an effort to target Jews and Jewish organizations for harassment and potential violence. Because Saturday is the Jewish holy day of Shabbat (Sabbath), Jewish organizations have called for responding in a “Shabbat of Peace.”
Jewish Rhody, the publication of the Jewish Alliance of Rhode Island, quoted its president and CEO, Adam Greenman: “Since first being alerted to the ‘National Day of Hate,’ the Alliance has been working to coordinate efforts with local and state law enforcement. We have also been keeping our community partners up to speed on the latest news from our national security partner, Secure Community Network. While there have been no credible threats made, we urge our communities to remain vigilant this day and every day. It can be infuriating to know a day like this is being planned, but our community is strong, vibrant, and above all, resilient. Together, we will rise above this hate.”
Asked by Motif “Has Providence put out anything on this ‘National Day of Hate’ matter?” the public information officer for the Providence Department of Public Safety answered, “Not at this time that I have been made aware of.”
On Feb 21, 2022, Neo-Nazi protesters disrupted an event at Red Ink Community Library in Providence, making noise and waving flags emblazoned with a swastika, “SS” runes, and a “Totenkopf” (death’s head), but in 2023 there was vandalism and damage, Red Ink posted on Twitter: “Last night an anti-communist message was sent to us in anticipation of our Red Books Day celebration of the publication of the Communist Manifesto. Last year they showed up with flags to intimidate, this year they threw bricks through the window.” The post included photographs of glass shards and a brick on which was written “commie scumbags.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said on Twitter: “We are closely monitoring tomorrow’s anticipated ‘Day of Hate’ campaign and are in touch with local law enforcement agencies. As always, please report any bias or hate incidents to ADL at http://adl.org/incident and please join us in celebrating a #ShabbatOfPeaceNotHate.”
In a leaked law-enforcement bulletin obtained by the Lakewood News Network in New Jersey, the New York City Police Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau warns of “Domestic Violent Extremist” planners “of this overtly racist, anti-Semitic event are instructing likeminded individuals to drop banners, place stickers and flyers, or scrawl graffiti as a form of biased so-called activism” who are asking participants to “photograph or record direct actions and submit them online in order to create a compendium of exploits from around the country.” Various sources have identified some of these extremist groups as the Goyim Defense League (GDL), the National Socialist Movement (NSM), Crew 319, and Clockwork Crew.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a statement on Twitter: “I have directed [New York State Police] and [New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services] to closely monitor the safety of Jewish communities this Shabbat. While there are no credible threats to New Yorkers at this time, we will remain vigilant. My top priority is the safety of New Yorkers.”
The nebulous and decentralized nature of the “Day of Hate” leaves it unclear where on the spectrum of risk it poses, ranging from a bunch of online posts that go no further up to violent terrorist acts and murder. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, an independent service providing news to the Jewish community since 1917, noted the environment of increasing antisemitism: “The alert came roughly a week after two Jews exiting morning prayer services were shot on consecutive days in Los Angeles, allegedly by a man with antisemitic motives. Last fall, two men were arrested in Penn Station for threatening violence against New York City synagogues, and weeks earlier, police in New Jersey warned synagogues in the state about a ‘credible threat.’”