Nick Perin's Highland Park neighborhood near Talmud Torah's Newman School is close-knit — so much so that neighbors have set up a text chain to update each other on what's going on.

So, when Perin received a text early Monday from a neighbor who'd discovered an anti-Semitic flier behind his garage, he set out to find more before the schoolyard was full of children so "nobody else had to find them," he said.

"We probably got a good portion of them before anyone noticed them," Perin said of at least 15 fliers he collected. Other neighbors also found some near their homes, although officials had no hard numbers. 

On Wednesday, St. Paul police confirmed they have assigned an investigator to the case. Talmud Torah is a Jewish school founded 66 years ago in a neighborhood long considered the center of St. Paul's Jewish community.

"If anybody does have video or if anyone knows who did this terrible thing, we would appreciate it if they got in touch with us," police spokesperson Steve Linders said.

Perin said a neighbor's security camera captured what appeared to be someone in a small, white pickup truck tossing bags early Monday.

The fliers were enclosed in sealable plastic bags and weighted with rice so they could be tossed from a car. They allege "every single aspect of gun control is Jewish" and include an illustration of the Star of David opposite a satanic pentagram.

The fliers also list the names and pictures of more than 20 Jewish lobbyists, politicians and lawyers who they say favor gun control. The name of "Goyim TV" — a video platform that streams anti-Semitic content and is associated with a California-based hate group — was also printed on the fliers. . . . 

The rice-bag hate literature drops in both cities aren't isolated. We'd looked into the tactic last month in our post, News digest: SD violates voter registration laws, MN white juries, Watertown's antisemitic rice

Just before the Watertown incident, WTMJ-TV Milwaukee's Sarah McGrew reported in 'This is not Germany in 1940': Antisemitic fliers found in Kenosha neighborhoods:

Earlier this year, NBC News reported antisemitic fliers had been found in at least three U.S. cities: Denver, San Francisco and Miami. Now, similar fliers have been found outside of Kenosha homes on at least two occasions.

Why the rice? At the Mitchell Republic, Hunter Dunteman reported in Watertown police investigating at least 50 anti-Semitic flyers, bags of rice distributed across town:

Police in Watertown are seeking information relating to anti-Semitic flyers distributed throughout town this week, an act officials call “disgusting” and “unacceptable.”

On Monday, the Watertown Police Department shared on their Facebook page that they’ve been receiving reports that citizens have discovered anti-Semitic flyers attached to bags [of] rice across the city.

The flyers include altered images that depict various politicians, executives and political journalists with Stars of David on their foreheads, accusing them of engaging in scandalous behavior. There is no evidence to corroborate any claims made by the flyers.

The Watertown Police Department has received roughly 50 reports of residents receiving these flyers, according to Captain Steve Rehorst, though it’s nearly impossible to know how many flyers were disposed of without residents making a report.

“Our thought on it is that obviously that behavior is unacceptable, and we don’t want to give it momentum,” Rehorst said. “We believe that anything like that is disgusting material and unacceptable.”

Rehorst said the flyers appear to be a part of a national campaign of hate, after flyers with similar sentiments were found in California during Passover. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, consuming rice during Passover had been banned for Ashkenazi Jews living outside of Israel since the 13th century, until the Jewish Conservative movement relaxed the restriction in 2016.

Though Rehorst is quick to speak against the sentiments shared by the flyers, he said the right to free speech places the Watertown Police Department in a bit of an awkward spot, as it doesn’t necessarily fall under South Dakota’s hate crime statute. . . .

The Star Tribune article closes:

"These fliers were distributed randomly and without malicious intent," [the fliers] read.

Jonathan Gershberg of Jewish Community Action wasn't buying it.

"This was a coordinated attempt to intimidate Jews and their families in a historically Jewish neighborhood of St. Paul," he said. "But the most important thing to recognize is they are going to fail."

Such hatefulness historically has had terrible consequences and cannot stand. Learn more here.

Screenshot: Similar lit--a different target group but with the same accreditation, rice bags. and "These fliers were distributed randomly and without malicious intent," was dropped in suburban Chicago in February according to Antisemitic Flyers Distributed In Bags Of Rice In Niles, Park Ridge, by the Journal and Topics.

If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen, 600 Maple Street, Summit SD 57266) or use the paypal button in the upper right hand corner of this post.

Or you can contribute via this link to paypaluse email [email protected] as recipient.

I'm on Venmo for those who prefer to use this service: @Sally-Sorensen-6