Our analysis of Goyim TV flyer incidents across the U.S. includes this map — an interactive version is available below. (Screenshot/Google Maps)
Our analysis of Goyim TV flyer incidents across the U.S. includes this map — an interactive version is available below. (Screenshot/Google Maps)

How an antisemitic flyer campaign that began in the Bay Area went national

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They’ve hit big cities and small towns. Elementary schools and college campuses. City parks and the front yards of suburban homes.

They’re carefully designed and pop with color. Most are folded and stuffed into plastic sandwich bags, weighed down with rice or pebbles so they won’t blow away.

They are flyers that blame Jews for Covid, deny the Holocaust and claim Jewish control of the media.

All are the work of Goyim TV, also known as the Goyim Defense League, a virulent white supremacist network that for years was based in Petaluma. It lurks in dark corners of the internet — and its followers emerge in the dead of night with stacks of hateful leaflets.

A new national data mapping project by J., based on media reports, shows the breadth of the group’s activity going back to August 2019, when the first flyer drop in Novato was recorded by J.

J.’s analysis, which concluded in March 2023, comes as jurisdictions large and small, particularly in Florida where Goyim TV is now headquartered, are wrestling with what to do about the proliferation of flyer drops and other activity. Lawmakers in Florida are even trying to make the acts a felony.

Keeping its focus on incidents that were covered by news outlets, J.’s review found 233 reports of Goyim TV flyer drops across the country over the past 3½ years, covering 177 cities and towns in 36 states. Based on even higher ADL numbers, it is evident there are many more incidents that do not make the news.

The map below is interactive: Zoom in, scroll around — and click on pins to see details of each incident we logged.

The Anti-Defamation League’s recent annual audit of antisemitic incidents reported a dramatic increase in all incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault against Jews in 2022. The organization counted 3,697 reported incidents, a 36% increase over 2021.

Of the ADL’s 2022 total, the distribution of antisemitic flyers accounted for 852 incidents, well over half of them attributed to Goyim TV. It was a major uptick from 2021 “largely due to the growth of the Goyim Defense League (GDL) and its accelerated tempo of antisemitic propaganda campaigns,” the ADL audit said.

Mapping hate

In live, near daily video streams, Goyim TV ringleader Jon Minadeo Jr.,  until recently a resident of Petaluma, directs his viewers to a website featuring online, printable PDFs of the antisemitic flyers. He encourages viewers to print, pack and drop as many as they can, wherever they may be, and offers rewards — like free antisemitic T-shirts — to those whose propaganda campaign successfully generates coverage on TV news.

Yet Goyim TV’s activities are not limited to dropping antisemitic literature.

In several instances, Minadeo and others have embarked on so-called “Name the Nose” tours, on which they distribute propaganda and drive through cities harassing passersby and shouting slurs from their car windows.

In October 2022, followers hung a banner reading “Kanye is right about the Jews” over Interstate 405 in Los Angeles, after the rapper tweeted antisemitic comments. In February of this year, Goyim TV members went to NASCAR’s Daytona 500 race in Florida and hung a banner reading “Henry Ford was right about the Jews” over the speedway. Later, they used a laser projector to cast “Hitler was right” on the track wall.

Pictures of Goyim Defense League banners supporting Kanye West's comments about Jews went viral after they were captured in Los Angeles, Oct. 22, 2022. (Screenshot from Twitter)
Pictures of Goyim Defense League banners supporting Kanye West’s comments about Jews went viral after they were captured in Los Angeles, Oct. 22, 2022. (Screenshot from Twitter)

The group’s activities have been concentrated in coastal areas, as California and Florida have been hit far more than any other states. Cities and their surrounding suburbs, too, have been natural targets, with clusters of incidents around Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. But rural, low-density towns have not been spared — Milton, Vermont, with a population of 10,352, was hit last August. The residents of Byram, New Jersey, with 8,000 residents, found flyers on their doorsteps last month. The village of Hopkins, Michigan, with only 629 residents, saw the same in July.

Goyim TV has followers in and around places such as Kenosha, Wisconsin, a city of 100,000 that sits on the banks of Lake Michigan and was the target of at least a dozen flyering incidents in 2022, according to local police. The affluent Los Angeles suburb of Beverly Hills was hit four times between November 2021 and October 2022.

Communities across Northern California — including Novato, Marin City, Tiburon, San Rafael, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Danville, Windsor, San Francisco and Sacramento — have all had flyers littering their yards and streets in the past three years. On Saturday April 22, J. received multiple reports of Goyim TV flyers found in the Marin County towns of Ross, San Anselmo, Kentfield and Corte Madera, sparking outrage and concern from residents.

Reactions from local officials have been largely consistent. Berkeley City Council members released a joint statement decrying the flyers and issued a resolution “condemning hate speech, anti-semitism and white supremacy.” The Tiburon Town Council passed a resolution denouncing antisemitism and hate in its community. The Marin County Board of Supervisors did the same.

In San Francisco, District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani took to Twitter after flyers were found in Pacific Heights, a neighborhood in her district.

“Let me be very clear: this kind of anti-Semitic hatred has no place in our city,” Stefani wrote.

But the flyers keep coming.

‘An old idea’ spreads

Goyim TV’s method of disseminating its message is “sophisticated,” said Günther Jikeli, an Indiana University professor of Jewish studies who is well familiar with Goyim TV in his role as associate director of IU’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

One of the group’s strengths, Jikeli said, is its social media presence. Though Goyim TV has been kicked off of Twitter and Facebook repeatedly, and instead populates on sites like Gab and Telegram, sometimes its messages and memes find their way back to mainstream platforms. They often draw ire and vitriol, but even negative responses amplify the group’s voice and internet presence, Jikeli said.

“If they use [their social media] in a clever way, they get their message out beyond that, and then can reach bigger audiences who might be willing to say, ‘Maybe there’s something to it,’” Jikeli told J.

Goyim Defense League leader Jon Minadeo, Jr. announced Goyim TV's move to Florida in a livestream on Dec. 12, 2022.
Jon Minadeo during a December 2022 Goyim TV livestream.

While the group may be using modern tools to spread hate, Goyim TV is not presenting any new ideas, he pointed out. The flyers carry consistent rhetoric: “every single aspect of the Biden administration is Jewish” or “every single aspect of mass immigration is Jewish” or “every single aspect of Disney child grooming is Jewish.”

“It’s this idea Jews run things behind the scenes,” Jikeli said. “It’s an old idea.”

A danger in Goyim TV’s rise, he said, is how it can draw regular people who might not follow white nationalist or supremacist dogma but who agree with the antisemitic tropes. They start following the group’s social media and eventually become radicalized.

Goyim TV has “a very radical message, but some of it is really shared by average people,” Jikeli said.

Once someone visits a Goyim TV site, it becomes much easier to indoctrinate them, Jikeli said. Those who become part of the group’s base are privy to additional, more radical content, such as cellphone videos of supporters harrassing synagogue attendees, projecting antisemitic images onto buildings and more.

“[It] shows, yes, it’s possible to do that kind of action. And [suggests], ‘Why don’t you also do something?’” Jikeli said.

Police: ‘No crime has been committed’

Police-imposed penalties for Goyim TV’s flyering have been rare. Despite talk of hate crimes by officials in targeted towns and cities, the flyers’ distribution has been virtually unprosecutable.

“Despite the troubling nature of the flyers, no crime has been committed,” Windsor Police Chief Mike Raasch said in a statement after flyers accusing Jews of controlling the media were found on lawns in the Sonoma County city in June 2022.

When the same flyers appeared in Novato and Santa Rosa months later, the Novato Police Department stopped short of classifying the event as a hate crime, instead calling it a “hate motivated incident.” Santa Rosa police did investigate the distribution of the flyers as a hate crime after a resident expressed concern they had been targeted, spokesperson Sgt. Christopher Mahurin told J. at the time.

“We may not be able to determine if a hate crime occurred, because maybe no law was technically violated,” Mahurin said.

Yet some law enforcement agencies have found ways to bring charges on Goyim TV’s most active followers.

In August 2022, Kenosha police became the first to hand down a penalty, fining a local man $4,601 for flyering under the city’s anti-littering ordinance.

And in January, police in Palm Beach, Florida, issued littering citations to Minadeo and his companions for distributing antisemitic fliers to private homes. They were cited again in mid-March.

Hate crime charges in these cases are unlikely, a police spokesman told the Palm Beach Post, as the perpetrators  have not technically committed a crime.

The First Amendment has protected Goyim TV’s flyering campaign up to this point, Teresa Drenick, the ADL’s interim regional director for the agency’s Central Pacific region, told J.

“The dissemination of idea and thought is protected by the First Amendment, including … the hateful messaging on flyers,” Drenick said. “What they’re doing is protected by the First Amendment’s right and guarantee for free expression and free speech.”

The strategy of distributing flyers in public places such as parks, sidewalks and driveways (which, under California law, are not considered private property) have allowed Goyim TV followers to avoid legal action. In cities with no littering ordinances, the flyers are just as legal as advertisements for window washing and other services that residents often find on and around their property, Drenick said.

Placing the same flyers in mailboxes would be a crime under federal law, which prohibits anyone but postal workers from accessing mailboxes, added Drenick, who worked as a district attorney for Alameda County. Minadeo, well aware of this fact, has informed his followers to avoid them.

Even the design of Goyim TV’s flyers appears to be carefully calculated. While the papers spout antisemitic vitriol and conspiracy theories, they notably do not include the Nazi swastika. Drenick speculates that this is due to California penal code, which classifies as a misdemeanor the placing or displaying of a swastika on “private and nonprivate property… with the intent to terrorize a person.” Updated in the 2021-22 legislative session, the crime now carries a prison sentence of one to three years.

“They push it just so they don’t cross that line,” Drenick said.

Community impact and response

The impact of Goyim TV’s flyering campaign has ranged from personal to political.

Flyers claiming Covid is a Jewish plot, which hit San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood in January 2022, were discovered by a father and daughter on their weekly Sunday morning walk. Rivka, 13, had just had her bat mitzvah.

“It was an opportunity to teach [her] to never take anything for granted,” her father, Joe Staenberg, told J. at the time. “We should not ever think for a moment, even living in Pacific Heights, that antisemitism doesn’t exist.”

In March, Northwood High School in the town of Silver Spring, Maryland, closed its outdoor facilities after antisemitic flyers were found on the school’s athletic fields four different times.

“We recognize and regret the inconvenience this causes for our surrounding community,” Principal Jonathan Garrick wrote in a letter to families. “However, the safety of our students, staff and community must take precedence.”

As communities work fruitlessly to stem the tide of propaganda appearing in their hometowns, responses have come on the national level from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

In February, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp denounced Goyim TV on Twitter after flyers were found in two suburbs outside Atlanta.

“This kind of hate has no place in our state and the individuals responsible do not share Georgia’s values,” Kemp wrote in a tweet. “We will always condemn acts of antisemitism.”

And in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke out after the Goyim TV banner drop over a Los Angeles overpass last October.

“This weekend’s public display of antisemitic hate is another wake-up call to all of us that we must remain vigilant to protect our values and freedoms as Californians,” Newsom said in a statement. “The former president [Trump] gave a platform to extremists spewing hate speech, and we continue to see the dangerous consequences — from the insurrection on Jan. 6 to Nazi salutes and anti-Jewish signs over the 405 freeway here in California.

“Our state is committed to protecting our diverse communities and will continue to lead the fight against racial, ethnic and religious hate wherever it rears its ugly head.”

The Florida approach

In Florida, a Jewish state representative is trying to put an end to the rash of incidents. Rep. Randy Fine co-authored a bill in January that aims to curb the dispersal of flyers by Goyim TV and similar antisemitic groups by making the act of distribution a felony.

House Bill 269, which recently moved out of committee and to the House floor for reading, would prohibit “intentionally dumping litter onto private residential property that evidences religious or ethnic animus for the purpose of intimidating or threatening the owner or resident of such property.” Such acts would be classified as both a hate crime and a third-degree felony, carrying a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

Other stunts — projecting antisemitic images onto buildings, defacing public property and disrupting religious services — would result in the same penalties.

The bill is a response to an increase of white supremacists in Florida in recent years, including Goyim TV founder Minadeo, who moved to the state in December from the Bay Area where he grew up.

An ADL study of extremism and antisemitism in Florida reported a substantial increase in antisemitic activity between 2020 and 2022. “Hate in the Sunshine State,” released in September 2022, showed an 111% increase in such activity.

“We have actual Nazis who have proudly taken up residence in Florida,” Fine told the Brooklyn-based Algemeiner in March. “The things that they are doing, all of which I find disgusting, are reprehensible, and we are going to make them felonies.”

The bill’s co-author, Florida Republican Mike Caruso, used even stronger language.

“If we don’t do something now, then soon we [will] just be 1933 Nazi Germany here all over again,” Caruso said in a press conference.

No sign of slowing

Goyim TV’s flyering campaign shows no signs of slowing down. According to J.’s analysis, at least 13 communities across the country were targeted in March, including Chico, a college town 90 miles north of Sacramento. And on April 4, the flyers were found on public transit lines in Philadelphia.

The best course of action in these instances, according to the ADL’s Drenick, is to report antisemitic flyering when it happens. While it likely won’t result in an arrest, the documentation could help law enforcement apply hate crime charges in the future.

Goyim TV returns again and again to flyers because they are an effective tool in inciting fear, Jikeli said.

“If you receive a flyer … then somebody who supports this message must have been physically there,” Jikeli said. “When a large group of people get [flyers], and they rightly feel intimidated, this is an effect [Goyim TV’s supporters] like.”

Jikeli moved seven years ago to the United States from Germany, where laws banning the glorification of Nazism prevent the dissemination of most (but not all) antisemitic rhetoric, he said. Though hate does slip through the cracks, Jikeli thinks the laws make it harder for white supremacist groups to spread their beliefs — and have people accept it as the norm.

“It’s important to have a message that this is not OK,” Jikeli said.

Lillian Ilsley-Greene
Lillian Ilsley-Greene

Lillian Ilsley-Greene was a staff writer at J. from 2022-2023.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.