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'This type of behavior is just unacceptable': Helotes residents express concern over anti-Semitic fliers found in front yards

Helotes police collected 81 plastic zipper bags filled with the anti-Semitic content.

HELOTES, Texas — Helotes residents in the Iron Horse Canyon neighborhood woke up Monday morning to plastic bags filled with anti-Semitic fliers. It’s just the latest report of activity involving attacks on the Jewish community across Texas.

“We don’t see much of this here. We interact with our neighbors. It doesn’t matter what their ethnic background is,” said Pete, who preferred KENS 5 didn’t give out his full identity for safety concerns.

Pete is among the dozens of residents greeted by the anti-Jewish messaging. This was the first time he ever saw such leafletting in the neighborhood.

“Just went out to pick up my newspaper in the morning and I saw this and I thought it was trash that somebody had just dropped,” Pete said. “This type of behavior is just unacceptable. We’ve come a long way in this country to try to root out prejudices.”

Pete stressed he's not a stranger to discrimination.

“It’s almost like when I grew up in New York City, it’s sort of like -- the first time I faced any type of prejudice is when I drove into the south back in the 70s and 80s.”

The Helotes Police Department collected 81 zipper bags containing anti-Semitic messages that blame Jewish people for the so-called “COVID agenda.” The fliers list a white supremacist group and are stamped with a QR code leading to more information about the organization.

Police investigators are processing the bags and contents for any finger prints that may lead to finding out who distributed the leaflets.

Residents question whether the messaging is protected by the First Amendment. Attorney Joe Hoelscher, who reviewed the content, shared how the Constitution protects hate speech.

In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of neo-Nazi members’ ability to protest and peacefully march down the streets of Skokie, Illinois, stressing the First Amendment protects an individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they’re perceived as offensive.

“It’s uncomfortable because it’s outing people, calling them out by name and it’s operating from an assumption that something is wrong with being Jewish. But, that’s an opinion, and offensive opinions are protected in the United States as the price we get for knowing we can express our own opinions,” Hoelscher said.

The Anti-Defamation League’s incident tracker shows there was a report of anti-Semitic fliers discovered in Alamo Heights on February 7.

On February 12, the ADL received reports of anti-Semitic leaflets in Houston, which displayed an image of Hitler and cited a white supremacist organization.

In Helotes, no criminal charges have been filed pending outcome of the investigation. 

Authorities urge anyone who finds anti-Semitic fliers on their property to call police.

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