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Anti-Semitic fliers distributed in Arizona city as Final Four weekend nears

Posted at 7:05 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 08:11:42-04

Anti-Semitic fliers were found circulating a Scottsdale, Arizona neighborhood in the days leading to the area's hosting of the NCAA Final Four.

The flier is being investigated by authorities, the Anti-Defamation League said. The organization took to Twitter and said that they're "disgusted" by the fliers that emerged Wednesday morning.

The flier depicts a person spray painting a swastika on a wall along with the text, "...Hey Rabbi...Whatcha doin'?!"

It also states, "Teen in Israel linked to bomb threats against Jewish community centers. Threats in Tucson may be connected," which was the headline of a Tucson Sentinel article written on March 23. 

It then adds the question, "Why do Jews feel the need to create fake anti-Semitism hoaxes?," followed by a web address.

The ADL has since posted a follow-up tweet praising the Scottsdale Police Department for investigating the fliers. However, in a statement to Phoenix's KNXV, a Scottsdale police spokesperson said the fliers pose no specific threat to the community.

"Though potentially disturbing to some residents, the content did not violate any criminal statutes," the police spokesperson said. "The investigation is ongoing that this time."

Rabbi Jeremy Schneider said the fliers were passed out in his neighborhood and around Temple Koi Ami. 

"This is where we live; where our kids play in the front yard," Schneider said.

He explained that his stomach turned upon seeing the flier — but that it was even more painful having a conversation with his kids.

"They'll say to us, 'Why do they hate us?' 'Why does somebody hate us?' 'What did we do?,'" Schneider said. "And that really breaks my heart."

It's unknown who distributed the fliers found in the neighborhood and near the Scottsdale Jewish Community Center.

However, the offensive fliers come just days after Pinnacle High School in Phoenix was vandalized with racist phrases such as "white supremacy," "white power" and swastika symbols.

The graffiti was first discovered Saturday morning, and an ADL spokesperson called the incident deeply disturbing and "appalling."

So far no arrests have been made in connection to that incident either.

Another high-profile incident happened in Chandler last year when a menorah display was contorted into a swastika in a family's front yard.

"These incidents are happening," an ADL spokesperson said. "And here in Arizona, we know they are happening."

Schneider said that despite these hateful incidents, he's remaining positive. 

"I think that this is not the act of the majority," he said. "I think this is the act of some very troubled and scared few in our society."

The Final Four is being hosted in Glendale, Arizona, which is located about 17 miles from Scottsdale.