NEW YORK (Feb. 25)
An obscure anti-Semitic group is causing a stir in South Florida.
The World Church of the Creator scattered fliers on yards in Hollywood, Fla., last week, asking readers to join the “most positive influence on white society,” and directing them to the group’s anti-Semitic Web site.
The flier is “another reminder that just beneath the civility of American life there remains the ugly and dangerous bigotry that is reflected by the World Church of the Creator,” said Arthur Teitelbaum, the Anti-Defamation League’s southern area director.
The World Church of the Creator, which was established in the 1970s, is “the most violent organization of the radical right,” who attack Christians, Jews, blacks and immigrants equally, according to a 1996 ADL report.
The ADL estimates that the World Church has only a few dozen active members in Florida.
The World Church is believed to have been responsible for an attack on a father and son last August outside a theater several miles from Hollywood.
The son was leaving a concert where several white supremacists were handing out fliers promoting the World Church. The teen-ager refused to accept a flier and was assaulted. When his father tried to help him, he was also attacked.
The group has also been linked to the murder of a Gulf War veteran in Florida and two conspiracies to commit hate crimes on the West Coast, according to the ADL.
The distribution of the fliers is the latest in a series of hate-related incidents in South Florida. And while some are calling for meetings to address the problem, others are taking a more controversial approach.
Members of the South Florida chapter of the Jewish Defense League are patrolling the streets of Hollywood.
“We have members of our Chaya squad,” an elite group, “who are legally armed,” driving around the neighborhood to make sure “incidents of this kind do not recur,” said Rabbi Yerachmiel Gersh of the JDL.
We have to “show these Jew-haters a Jewish lesson of never again. That Jews are not going to tolerate this anymore,” Gersh said, adding that he will keep the patrols up as long as necessary.
But the JDL’s tactics do not sit well with some.
We do not need “self-serving vigilantes who announce that they are going to set up armed patrols,” Teitelbaum said, adding that it was best to let authorities handle the investigation.
The JDL insists they will apprehend suspects and hold them until the police arrive. But even that raises some questions by local police.
In an interview with a local newspaper one police officer said “I wonder what their intent is. Why have a gun if you’re not going to use it?