SBN Newsmakers Show: A Conversation with ADL Philadelphia Region Executive Director Shira Goodman about White Supremacist Propaganda in NJ

Shira Goodman, regional director of the ADL Philadelphia office, is the guest on our new podcast, SBN Newsmakers.Shira Goodman, regional director of the ADL Philadelphia office, is the guest on our new podcast, SBN Newsmakers.

SBN is pleased to launch a new occasional interview show, SBN Newsmakers, featuring topical interviews with people making news in and around New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware. If you would like to suggest a guest for a future program, email us your comments.

CHERRY HILL, NJ (SBN) — White supremacist propaganda distribution more-than doubled across the country in 2019 over the previous year, making it the highest year on record for such activity in the United States, according to new data released today by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League). New Jersey saw a 250% surge in white supremacist propaganda in 2019, marking three years of exponential growth in the Garden State. Joining us on SBN Newsmakers to discuss the problem of white supremacist propaganda in New Jersey is Shira Goodman, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia office.

About the SBN Newsmakers Guest

Shira Goodman joined ADL in January 2020. In her role, Shira oversees ADL’s broad and deep portfolio for fighting hate in the Philadelphia region. She leads the organization’s efforts to combat extremism, train law enforcement, protect victims of anti-Semitism and other forms of bias, advocate for civil rights for all, build coalitions, and teach students, educators and the wider community to challenge hate in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Prior to joining ADL, Shira served as the Executive Director of CeaseFirePA, a statewide organization working to end gun violence in Pennsylvania. Under her leadership, CeaseFirePA became one of the strongest state organizations fighting gun violence in the nation, advocating for common sense gun laws and action by Pennsylvania’s executive officers and building a large grassroots advocacy network in the Commonwealth. Shira also spent a decade as the Deputy Director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a non-profit working for fair courts and equal access to justice and worked for five years as a labor lawyer at Ballard Spahr.

About the trends in white supremacist propaganda

The ADL data show a substantial increase in incidents both on- and off-campus. A total of 2,713 cases of literature distribution – an average of more than four per day – were reported nationwide, compared to 1,214 in 2018.  ADL documented 143 incidents in New Jersey in 2019, the fifth highest in the nation. The New Jersey figure was sharply up from 41 incidents recorded in the state the previous year, and nearly 11-times higher than the 2017 figures. Every state except Hawaii reported at least one incident of white supremacist propaganda, with the highest activity reported in California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey. ADLs H.E.A.T. Map provides a visual representation of the propaganda distribution efforts by geographic location.

“White supremacists consider propaganda distribution a convenient and anonymous way to promote their messages of hate and intolerance,” said Evan Bernstein, ADL’s Northeast Division Vice President. “While we know extremists and hate groups are emboldened by the current environment, this dramatic surge in white supremacist fliering and propaganda distribution demonstrates how bigots are increasing efforts to spread their message.”

Some key data points from ADL’s Center on Extremism:

  • Approximately 630 incidents were reported on college and university campuses nationwide, nearly double the 320 campus incidents reported in 2018. 15 campus-based incidents occurred in New Jersey. Campus incidents accounted for one-quarter of the total incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution nationwide.
  • White supremacists targeted a total of 433 campuses in 43 states and the District of Columbia in 2019, including eight campuses in New Jersey.
  • During the 2019 fall semester, ADL counted 410 incidents on campuses across the United States – more than double any proceeding semester and a 159% increase from the 158 incidents reported during the 2019 spring semester.
  • Nationally, ADL documented 2,083 off-campus incidents in 2019 – a 133% increase from the 894 off-campus incidents counted in 2018.
  • ADL documented 20% fewer white supremacist in-person events in 2019 than in 2018, down from 95 to 76 events. The number of flash demonstrations also declined, dropping from 43 to 26 year over year.
  • The New Jersey-based New Jersey European Heritage Association was responsible for over 70% of all white supremacist propaganda incidents in the state.

The Perpetrators

Dozens of white supremacist groups distributed propaganda last year, but three groups – Patriot Front, American Identity Movement and the New Jersey European Heritage Association were responsible for approximately 90% of the activity in New Jersey and across the nation. Additional groups active in New Jersey include Feuerkrieg Division, the Daily Stormer Book Club, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Base.

“The barrage of propaganda, which overwhelmingly features veiled white supremacist language with a ‘patriotic’ slant, is an attempt to normalize the white supremacists’ message and bolster recruitment efforts while targeting minority groups including Jews, African Americans, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community,” said Oren Segal, ADL’s Vice President for the Center on Extremism.

The Texas-based Patriot Front was responsible for 66% of all propaganda incidents nationwide. In 2019, the group used its traditional red, white and blue color-schemed propaganda but with new messages such as “One Nation Against Invasion,” “For the Nation Against the State” and “America is Not for Sale.” Patriot Front is known to use its own version of “patriotism” to promote white supremacist and neo-fascist ideology.

For more information see the Center on Extremism blog, “White Supremacists Double Down on Propaganda in 2019.For region-specific data and additional information on incidents, visit ADLs H.E.A.T Map. To speak with an expert in the Center on Extremism, contact ADL Communications at adlmedia@adl.org.

About the Author

Steve Lubetkin
Steve Lubetkin is the news director for StateBroadcastNews.com. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. In May 2019, he began anchoring and reporting for the new weekly podcast, "The CRE News Hour," a news and features program focusing on the commercial real estate industry. From 2014 to 2019 he was New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com and filled in covering Chicago/Midwest and Atlanta. He has won numerous awards for his audio and video news reporting from the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced audio podcasts on CRE topics for the NAR Commercial Division and the CCIM Institute. Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies. Steve also reports on-camera and covers conferences for NJSpotlight.com, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC. Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. You can email Steve at steve@statebroadcastnews.com.