Is the anti-Semitic ‘Goyim Defense League’ the new normal?

By Olivier Melnick

In 1968, Rabbi Meir Kahane founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL) whose motto was, “To protect Jews from anti-Semitism by whatever means necessary.” The organization might have started as a noble cause, necessary for the safety of Jewish people; but it quickly became a violent group responsible for attacks, bombings and even a few deaths. The founder himself was assassinated in 1990. The JDL still exists today and has been classified as a right-wing terrorist group by the FBI since 2001. Originally, the JDL claimed that they were there to do the job that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) wasn’t doing.

The Anti-Defamation League is an international Jewish NGO based in the United States that was founded in 1913. While the JDL is inactive for the most part, the ADL has become a voice for civil rights and against antisemitism.

The Goyim Defense League (GDL), using its name as the counterpart to the JDL, is a completely different animal. The word “goyim” is plural for “goy,” which in Hebrew means “nation” or “nations,” another name for the Gentiles. Their logo is some sort of parody of the ADL logo, using the colors red, black and white – subliminally or not – similar to the Nazi logo. The GDL was founded in California in 2018 by Jon Minadeo II. They are a very anti-Semitic/conspiracy theory group that targets Jews in whatever way they can. They used to be a fringe group that no one really took too seriously, but lately, they have been present and vocal in 17 states.

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Their recent activity includes anti-Semitic flyers about age-old Jewish world domination. The flyers are printed, stuffed in plastic bags with pebbles or beans, and thrown in neighborhoods on people’s driveways or placed on car windshields.

Additionally, some of their members have been spotted in California, Texas and Florida, displaying banners on highway overpasses with messages such as “Kanye is right about the Jews” referring to Kanye West’s recent rant against Jewish people.

Jon Minadeo was also spotted recently in Florida where he was insulting Jewish people on the street with a bullhorn, accompanied by a few other of his GDL cronies. He yelled “should we put you in an oven” to a passerby and insulted a Jewish man in his car, calling him “Jew Horse” and telling him to go back to his country, Israel where “they kill Palestinian kids.” The whole episode took place while he was laughing and insulting people as the police watched silently, and no passersby said a word.

Groups like GDL/GoyimTV used to be on the fringe of the anti-Semitic circle, and not taken very seriously. Why are they suddenly becoming more vocal? It is part of what I have identified as the normalization of anti-Semitism. Normal is the opposite of abnormal, so normalization is a process that takes an abnormal belief or behavior and manages to change it or its perception so it will be perceived as normal. It can refer to data, diplomatic relations, economics, biology or sociology. The sociological aspect of normalization is the one that affects anti-Semitism.

Satan has worked for a long time to make the irrational look rational. This is also a component of the normalization of anti-Semitism, but only to the extent that the words and deeds committed against the Jews move from being done by identifiable anti-Semites to being done by all people without reprimand. We must clearly understand the two factors at stake here: legal and societal. Legally, normalization exonerates one from ramifications for committing an act that previously was punishable by law. No arrest, indictment, lawsuit, trial, verdict or imprisonment is to be feared. Societally, these acts go from being judged, ostracized or demonized to normal behavior. This takes these acts from being disturbing to acceptable.

One should quickly understand that if anti-Semitism were to undergo the process of complete normalization, it would trigger an “open season” against Jews globally and bring us back full force into the 1930s and 1940s. It would be an irreversible tipping point. Unfortunately, I fear that we might have reached that tipping point. While those of us who value Israel and appreciate the Jewish people are becoming a very slim minority, now is not the time to cave into the majority. We have some tough choices to make.

I am not necessarily interested in the source of the various stages of the normalization of anti-Semitism – already knowing that one way or another, they all come from Satan – but more in their status as of the start of 2023. I see 10 stages: Apathy, lack of education, low or incorrect reporting, desensitization, lack of accountability, empowerment, demonization of the defenders, persecution of Jews and defenders, encouragement to kill and the mass murder of Jews. While I believe they feed off each other, these stages do not have to happen exactly in the order just listed; they can occur simultaneously and overlap.

For a group like the Goyim Defense League to gain momentum, we must be within the boundaries of normalization. Eight of the 10 stages can be found in the actions of the GDL in Florida: Apathy, lack of education, low or incorrect reporting, desensitization, lack of accountability, empowerment, demonization of the defenders, persecution of Jews and defenders. Short of encouragement to kill and the mass murder of Jews, the GDL is promoting the normalization of anti-Semitism.

For those of us who despise this kind of xenophobic behavior, the time is NOW to expose these people. We might feel like our voice will never be heard, but if we report these actions to Jewish advocacy groups, we can make a difference. This is a spiritual battle and all of us are soldiers on the frontlines. Let us fight together for the vindication and salvation of Israel.

If you see, hear or read something, report it to any of these organizations:
Stand with Us
Canary Mission
Moment Mag
Maccabee Task Force
Anti-Defamation League

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