A neo-Nazi group dedicated to antisemitic hate harassed worshipers at a Chabad synagogue in Georgia on Shabbat.
Around a dozen members of the so-called “Goyim Defense League” waved flags bearing swastikas and demonstrated outside Chabad of Cobb County, in an area slightly north of Atlanta.
Police officers who were summoned to the scene allowed the demonstration to proceed on the grounds of “free speech,” according to a member of the synagogue who wrote on Facebook that the incident was the “most frightening thing” he has seen in his 65 years.
Chabad later released a statement via social media, stressing the group represents only a small part of the population.
“We are extremely appreciative and thankful for the outpouring of support and concern from all segments of the community,” the statement read.
“We have been in communication with Cobb County officials, who have identified these individuals as part of a small group that travels around the country in order to spread their hateful message. East Cobb has been a wonderful home to a flourishing Jewish community for many years. These individuals do not represent the sentiments of the citizens of East Cobb.
“Ultimately, we must remember that the most potent response to darkness is to increase in light. Let’s use this unfortunate incident to increase acts of goodness and kindness, Jewish pride and greater Jewish engagement,” the Chabad statement concluded.
On Friday evening, following a similar demonstration earlier in the day outside Temple Beth Israel in downtown Macon, Georgia, the head of the organization, Jon Minadeo Jr., was arrested.
Minadeo, who was using a bullhorn to shout obscenities and antisemitic epithets, was charged with disturbing the public and disorderly conduct.
Minadeo’s group had also littered the front lawns of residents in the nearby town of Warner Robins with antisemitic flyers.
The Goyim Defense League is classified as an extremist group by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.