PORTLAND, Maine — Antisemitic flyers falsely linking the 9/11 terrorist attacks to a Jewish conspiracy were distributed in the city overnight.
Left on porches, the black-and-white photocopies coincided with the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The flyers are the latest in a series of hateful handbills distributed in Portland in the past few years targeting LGBTQ and other minority communities. At the same time, neo-Nazi groups have held rallies in Portland and Augusta. One such organization is setting up a training facility near Lincoln.
The flyer, downloaded from a well-known antisemitic website run by the Florida-based Goyim Defense League, claims the 9/11 attacks were part of a Jewish-led scheme. The Anti-Defamation League website labels the group a hate organization run by a handful of primary organizers who have thousands of online followers and run an antisemitic online video platform.
The same organization also blames gun control, the slave trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, pornography and many other things on various Jewish conspiracies.
Carl Currie found one of the flyers at the corner of Congress and Park streets while walking to the Downtown Lounge a few blocks away, where he’s the manager. Currie said he was angry but not surprised. Finding such flyers has become routine this year.
“It didn’t shock me,” Currie said. “This is the new Congress Street.”
In the past year, Currie has also found anti-trans and anti-gay flyers on the same street. Some were full-sized sheets, while others were the size of fortune cookie fortunes. The smaller versions were stuffed into a glass bottle, which was somehow dropped into the alley behind his bar. When the bottle shattered on the pavement, the tiny slips of paper scattered everywhere.
“They’re still back there, but no one can see them,” Currie said. “But I should clean them up.”
On Feb. 1, the start of Black History Month, Richard Ward, who unsuccessfully ran for Portland City Council and the school board, stood on the corner of Congress and High streets flying a flag reading “it’s OK to be white.” At a subsequent event organized by Ward, a counter protester threw tomatoes.
On Monday, Ward said he also sometimes distributes flyers but was not behind the latest batch.
“I’m still active in activism,” Ward said. “But not me.”
Madison Raymond found the same flyer as Currie on their front porch along Deering Avenue. Raymond said it’s not something to shrug off or take lightly.
Raymond said the person who left the flyer was able to keep their face out of view of Raymond’s doorbell security camera. Raymond also called on city officials to do something.
“Our municipal government has a duty to provide concrete action to discourage alt-right recruitment,” Raymond said. “The ideology they espouse is virulent and overtly genocidal.”