Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and other state leaders spoke out against bigotry and hate afterward anti-Semitic demonstrations took place outside two synagogues in the state this weekend.
Groups were seen shouting anti-Semitic messages outside a Macon temple Friday night and displaying swastikas and signs with neo-Nazi messages outside a Cobb County synagogue on Saturday.
Anti-Semitic flyers were also found in at least one community in central Georgia.
“There is absolutely no place for this hatred and anti-Semitism in our state,” Kemp said said in a tweet on Sunday. “I share the outrage at this shameful act and join Georgians everywhere in condemning it. We remain vigilant in the face of these disgusting acts of bigotry.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a non-governmental civil rights organization, condemned the incidents as a “mask” of an anti-Semitic network focused on spreading hatred and causing division.
US Senator Jon Ossoff also issued a statement saying, “The Jewish community in Georgia will never be intimidated by anti-Semitism. Today, as symbols of genocide are paraded outside synagogues, we continue to stand strong, proud and unyielding.”
“All Georgians are united in our rejection of bigotry and hatred,” he added.
A group gathered outside Temple Beth Israel in Macon Friday night, and a man was arrested after allegedly yelling obscenities through a megaphone. according to CNN affiliate WGXA.
Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar said in a statement, “It is with great sadness that I write this letter to you on Shabbat – the holiest day of the week. Tonight, as we gathered at the Temple, we experienced an anti-Semitic incident and then learned of a second one in our community.”
In Warner Robins, a town about 20 miles south of Macon, police also acknowledged finding what they called “anti-Semitic packages” in a Statement on Facebook Friday afternoon. Warner Robins police said they are working with county, state and federal agencies to investigate the incident.
“Anti-Semitism is not a new phenomenon; it pains me greatly that today in middle georgia we were forced to face her twice. They were the first flyers left in Warner Robins and the second on our doorstep,” the rabbi’s statement added.
On Saturday, a small group with Nazi signs and flags was seen outside Chabad of Cobb County, a synagogue in the city of Marietta, northwest of Atlanta, according to CNN affiliate WANF. At least one person appeared to be standing on top of an Israeli flag, according to CNN affiliate WSB.
Following the incident, Chabad of Cobb also issued a statement on Facebook: “We are extremely grateful and grateful for the outpouring of support and concern from all segments of the community.”
“We have been in communication with Cobb County officials who have identified these individuals as part of a small group traveling across the country to spread their hateful message,” the statement said. “We are working closely with Cobb County officials and the Police Department to ensure the security and safety of our campus. There is no threat at this time.”
“What unfolded in Georgia this weekend is the latest stunt by an anti-Semitic network trolling Jewish communities — spreading propaganda, conspiracy theories and hate — in the hopes that they can turn Americans against the Jewish people,” said the regional director of southeast ADL, Eytan Davidson statement to CNN.
“Supporters of this network are divisive, causing violence and attracting attention. We take comfort in knowing that law enforcement is closely monitoring their movements, and Georgia’s elected officials and allies are speaking out in solidarity. The fight against hate belongs to all of us,” Davidson said.
Anti-Semitic incidents in the US reached a record high last yearwith a total of 3,697 – the highest since the group began recording, according to ADL. Incidents, including assaults, vandalism and harassment, have risen by more than a third in just one year.
CNN has reached out to Temple Beth Israel, Chabad of Cobb, the Macon Police Department and the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office for comment.