WASHINGTON — The last 10 months has seen a proliferation of white supremacists hanging signs with racist and anti-Semitic messages on highway overpasses and other highly visible places, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League released Thursday.
The Jewish civil rights organization tracked 72 incidents of such banners going up throughout the country from May 2017 to March 2018, averaging seven per month.
Roughly 73 percent of these signs were orchestrated by groups associated with the alt-right movement, an array of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansman and other white nationalists who have risen to greater prominence since the 2016 election and a white power rally turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer.
The ADL and other watchdog groups have recorded an uptick in anti-Semitic and racist incidents in the US since 2016.
Eight of the banners contained unambiguously anti-Semitic language, including one that said “UnJew Humanity” and another that said “The Jews Did 9/11.” Others were explicitly racist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant.
The ADL said the trend indicates a new tactic that these hate groups are deploying to promote themselves and promulgate their odious ideas, as many of the signs included the name of their group or insignia.
A plurality of the incidents were instigated by Identity Evropa, a neo-Nazi group led by Patrick Casey. The report said the organization was responsible for 28 signs in 13 different states, or roughly 40% of the banners.
Some of its posters expressed approval for US President Donald Trump and his aggressive immigration policies. “America First,” one said, referring to one of the former real estate mogul’s slogans. “End Immigration.”
White supremacist banners have appeared in 21 states, the report said, including California, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington. But the most incidents took place in Oregon, which the ADL said can be traced to the prominent neo-Nazi Jimmy Marr, who has openly taken credit for his signs, one of which said, “The Holocaust is a Lie.”