Someone is distributing antisemitic flyers around Kent, alarming residents

Flyers containing antisemitic propaganda were distributed around Kent in April 2022. Submitted photo

On April 19, a resident of Bryce Road in Kent returned home from vacation to find a strange item on her lawn.

Tucked inside a plastic bag that itself was weighed down with a baggie of rice was a flyer with antisemitic propaganda. The front of the page contained images of a dozen high-ranking members of President Biden’s administration, falsely alleging everyone on his cabinet is Jewish. The back falsely claims that six “Jewish corporations” own 96% of the media. 

The flyers also appeared on several of the resident’s neighbors’ lawns, and in front of some homes on West Main Street.

“I don’t know if this was a countywide thing or was just isolated to our neighborhood,” said the resident, who asked not to be named for safety reasons.

Similar flyers promoting the same antisemitic website have been passed out in Garrettsville, said a business owner there who received one. She said they seemed to be targeting “homes and businesses displaying signage supportive of Black and LGBTQ people.” They filed a police report.

A middle-aged couple who live down the road from the Kent resident said they did not receive a flyer or notice anyone distributing them.

“I’d like to stomp them,” said the husband, angry that such a hate-filled message would be targeted at a neighborhood known for its inclusiveness.

Kent Police Lt. Michael Lewis said the flyer is similar to another one distributed along Miller Avenue in Kent on April 20. The resident who discovered that flyer discarded it before showing it to police and did not file a police report, he said.

“The investigating officer believed the flyer to be anti-Biden propaganda, and from what I have seen, I agree with that assessment,” Lewis said, adding that he does not believe there are grounds for criminal investigation yet.

Police departments in Ravenna and Streetsboro reported no similar incidents.

The flyer erroneously claims that billionaire Jennifer Pritzker (a Republican) is a member of the Biden administration and identifies Eric Lander as heading the Office of Science and Technology, a post he hasn’t held since February.

It also features the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” in large bold type, along with a picture of Biden, leaning over a young woman as he clutches her upper arm.

The leaflets appear to be promoting a website, whose name incorporates a Yiddish slur for non-Jews, and claim that “these flyers were distributed randomly without malicious intent.” The site seems to be bipartisan and singularly focused on antisemitism, with articles bashing “Jew Donald Trump.” 

The domain was registered through a registrar in Hong Kong. A message to an email address listed on the site bounced.

Adam Hirsh, executive director of Kent State Hillel, a Jewish student organization, condemned the flyers distributed to Kent homes.

“These flyers promote decades-old antisemitic tropes that are hurtful, harmful and not true,” he said. “Hillel has notified our partners at the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federation of Cleveland and Kent State University about these flyers.”

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.