When pro-Trump insurrectionists ransacked the U.S. Capitol, John McBeth, a church deacon and civil rights activist, was already helping to plan a march to protest a flurry of racist and anti-Semitic fliers that had just popped up near his home on Staten Island.
"It was about the fliers, and then it moved to what happened to the Capitol," McBeth said. "Our belief is that if we spread love, if we spread understanding...there's very little room for hate."
The Staten Island march, held a few days after the January 6th attack, stood in opposition to these separate incidents of hate. Little did McBeth and organizers realize, but there was actually a common connection: The same small white supremacist group responsible for the Staten Island fliers also leafleted the Capitol on January 6th, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The message in both cases: There’s a war on white people, orchestrated by Jews.
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The local group, known as the New Jersey European Heritage Association, was one of a handful of extremist organizations identified by the ADL as having a presence at the Capitol. The ADL says NJEHA members “see themselves as defenders of white European people and white culture,” with hateful propaganda as their calling card. Since 2018 they have pasted fliers on telephone poles, street signs, and traffic signal switch boxes in dozens of tri-state area neighborhoods, from Central Jersey to Long Island, and then publicized the postings on Twitter and the far-right social media site Gab. The group put up more than 50 fliers in seven months in 2019, according to Advance/SILive.com.
One of the group’s stickers even turned up on a lamppost in Trenton on Sunday, where widely-publicized plans for MAGA rallies at state capitols failed to materialize.
Fliers also appear around the country — including in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, where they were put in bags with rocks and tossed onto driveways.
“One of the ways that white supremacists rely on to get their message out is pretty low budget, low cost, which is create some fliers, post them online and encourage others to download them and post them on a local telephone pole, maybe at a religious institution, to try to get as much attention by relying literally on paper to spread their message,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the Center On Extremism at the ADL.
Discovery of the NJEHA’s fliers often leads to stories in the local news, amplifying the attention. Police complaints about the hate propaganda are filed; officers sometimes vow investigations, though it’s unclear if anyone affiliated with the group has ever been arrested for a hate crime or vandalism. In New Jersey, NJEHA is considered the source of the majority of white supremacist literature distributed in public.
NJEHA fliers claim Jewish groups fund Black Lives Matter “terrorists.” They lament that white children are a minority in the United States, that the media is a “virus,” that Antifa is a “Jewish communist militia.” The posters have QR codes to direct the curious to the NJEHA website, where fliers can be downloaded and printed. It’s DIY racism.
Segal said the NJEHA used the messaging app Telegram to spread the word about the January 6th event, and its “War On Whites” flier was found at the Capitol. There is no indication that its members were involved in the breach of the building.
Nonetheless, the fact that they had a presence in Washington is significant, Segal said.
“What January 6th showed us is that that commingling between the extremes in the mainstream...are also happening in real time on the ground,” he said. “And of course, the big concern is that that normalizes it….It's hard enough to stop it in an online space. Can you imagine how hard it is when people are coalescing over the same narratives in the same physical space?”
While sticking up posters is what it’s known for, NJEHA members have also attended small protests — including an ”It’s Okay To Be White” rally in Princeton in 2018 and the deadly “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017, according to the ADL.
And their presence has been noted at events that aren’t expressly white supremacist. A NJEHA sticker recently showed up on the megaphone of a South Jersey gym owner who rallied to oppose COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Outside President Trump’s rally in Wildwood last year, one of the purported leaders of the group was videotaped by Daryle Lamont Jenkins, a long-time Antifa activist and leader of the anti-racist One People’s Project.
“I just want to make sure everybody sees you and everybody knows there’s a Nazi in the area,” Jenkins yelled at NJEHA’s Daniel D’Ambly, as D’Ambly walked away. “Go run, Dan, run for your life, beat it!”
Jenkins said NJEHA must be called out — and stopped. “I mean, we are not dealing with good people,” he said in an interview. “They want to hurt folks either physically or legislatively, and we can't allow that.”
D’Ambly could not be reached by phone or at the NJEHA website, which requires users to acknowledge they are of “Semitic” descent in order to submit a message.
D’Ambly’s identity was first brought to light by online activists from the Antifa movement who make it their mission to expose — or “dox” — white supremacists, by revealing their real names, employers, and home addresses.
Jenkins wasn’t the one to dox D’Ambly, but he is known as the father of doxing Nazis. “People always say to ignore them and they will go away,” Jenkins said. “Ignoring them is a guarantee that they won't and they will make things worse.”
D’Ambly filed a lawsuit last year against the Antifa activist who doxed him, along with Twitter and others, because he said the doxing resulted in his car getting vandalized and his firing from his job at the New York Daily News printing press. D’Ambly’s attorney played Gothamist/WNYC a voicemail that D’Ambly’s former bosses received: “Any association that you have with him, including employment, puts any sort of violence or any blood spilled also on your hands.”
The attorney, Patrick Trainor, said this message was a threat on D’Ambly’s life, and that D’Ambly is exercising his First Amendment rights by distributing fliers. Trainor argued that Antifa is out to ruin people’s lives and livelihoods, and that the ADL makes money by labeling “white supremacist” groups, but he said both entities fail to bridge divides. “Do they have an olive branch to reach out to people?” Trainor asked. “Tell them if they do want to do that, I'll be their conduit.”
The lawsuit describes the NJEHA as “a non-violent, pro-domestic policy organization,” and Trainor questioned why it would be considered “white supremacist.”
“Have they burned any crosses? The answer to that is no. Have they marked up or defamed any synagogues? The answer is no. Have they engaged in any physical assaults of Jewish people? The answer is no,” Trainor said. “So, no, I can't call them a white supremacist group.”
Unlike the Proud Boys, another far-right group known for violence, NJEHA supporters who have been videotaped distributing materials seem reluctant to engage in confrontation. A few days after the assault on the Capitol, a woman stopped three men who were posting the group’s fliers across from Independence Hall and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. She videotaped as she yelled at them: “You are a disgrace to our country!”
The men then ran away.
Matt Katz reports on air at WNYC about immigration, refugees, hate, and national security. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattkatz00.