Village President: ‘Hate Directed To Any Group Is An Affront, Not Welcome Here’
By Tom Robb, originally published in Journal & Topics
Glenview Village President Mike Jenny informed the public about antisemitic flyers found around the village, giving a firm rebuke of the message while affirming the village’s values of tolerance and inclusion, at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
Glenview police confirmed that nearly identical flyers were recently distributed in Niles and Park Ridge. Jenny said a detective has been assigned to investigate and would reach out to other communities where the flyers were distributed.
“Glenview is a community committed to tolerance and inclusion of all,” Jenny said at the March 1 meeting. “Hate directed at any group based on race, religion, color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, are an affront to those values and they are unwelcome here.”
Jenny went on to ask anyone who receives one of the flyers, or who already has, to report it to Glenview police.
Niles Mayor George Alpogianis read a statement similar to Jenny’s about the flyers at the Feb. 22 Niles Village Board meeting. “The village of Nilles stands against all forms of hatred,” Alpogianis said, adding that Niles police would work with state and other agencies to look into the flyers.
The flyers found in Glenview say “Let’s go Brandon”, an anti-Biden trope that began after a Nascar event last year. A driver named Brandon was being interviewed and the crowd behind him was chanting “(expletive) Joe Biden.” The reporter conducting the interview reportedly said the crowd was chanting “Let’s go Brandon” rather than the actual chant.
Glenview Police Sgt. Joel Detloff said the flyers also show names and faces of high-ranking Biden Administration officials and that each one was Jewish. The flyer contains a link to a website that Detloff said was filled with antisemitic and Nazi propaganda along with other conspiracy-laden content.
“Hate is a virus that demands a host. The hate virus currently is circulating in our community in the form of an antisemitic flyer. Glenview must never become that virus’ host,” said Kent Ulery, interim senior pastor at Glenview Community Church. “Glenview Community Church abhors antisemitism and the ideology of hatred. We urge all to crumple up this flyer and toss it where it belongs.”
Nonprofit organization Hands of Peace was founded in Glenview and has expanded with offices both in Glenview and in California. The organization brings Israili and Palestinian youth together in neutral settings to find common ground around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“As an interfaith organization who nurtures young leaders by giving them opportunities to dialogue with people who are different from them and together develop peace-building skills to drive social change, we stand firmly against this type of hateful anti-semitic rhetoric that seeks to dehumanize and divide,” Hands of Peace Executive Director Scott Rasmussen said in a written statement. “We believe dialogue is the key to building understanding across differences, and encourage all in our community to stand up against division by engaging in conversations and action with others who may look, speak, worship, or act differently from you.”
In the last week of February, Detloff said Glenview police received one report of antisemitic flyers placed in sandwich bags and weighted down with dry beans. The resident making the report late last month reported finding 11 flyers distributed in her neighborhood.
Detloff said since that initial report of the flyers in the neighborhood, several more were found that were reported to police before Tuesday’s village board meeting. He said officers would interview potential witnesses and review doorbell camera footage to find who was distributing the flyers.
Nearly identical flyers were also found packed in sandwich bags with rice Sunday, Feb. 20 in Niles, and that same week in Park Ridge. Detloff said the flyers distributed in Niles and Park Ridge were nearly identical to those distributed in Glenview.
“Niles detectives have consulted with investigators from surrounding towns on this incident,” Niles Deputy Police Chief Nick Zakula said in a written statement Wednesday, March 2. “There are no updates at this time.”
“We have not had any further incidents and no further comments at this time. Glenview has not reached out to us,” Park Ridge Police Executive Officer Tom Gadomski said Wednesday.