NEW YORK (AP) — White supremacist groups in the U.S. tried to spread their propaganda at a record-setting rate last year, increasingly picking targets beyond college campuses, a Jewish civil rights group said Tuesday.
The Anti-Defamation League counted a 182 percent increase in propaganda incidents by white supremacists, from 421 such cases in 2017 to 1,187 in 2018.
College campuses remained a primary target for hateful flyers, but the New York-based ADL said the number of off-campus propaganda incidents soared from 129 in 2017 to 868 last year. The ADL says two white supremacist groups accounted for 636 of those incidents.
“The propaganda, which includes everything from veiled white supremacist language to explicitly racist images and words, often features a recruitment element, and frequently targets minority groups, including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community,” the ADL’s report says.
The ADL found a modest increase in propaganda activity on campuses, with 319 incidents at 212 colleges and universities, up from 292 campus incidents in 2017. The group also counted 91 rallies or other public events attended by white supremacists in 2018, up from 76 in 2017.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the group’s CEO and national director, said posting flyers is a “tried-and-true tactic” for hate groups.
“Hate groups were emboldened in 2018, but their increasing reliance on hate leafleting indicates that most of their members understand this is a fringe activity and are unwilling to risk greater public exposure or arrest,” Greenblatt said in a statement.