Anti-Defamation League sees surge of white supremacist groups in Arizona

Posted at 6:07 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 12:41:59-05

Jewish community centers across the Valley are on high alert due to bomb threats being reported at centers across the nations.

In addition to the bomb threats, there have also been many reports of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries — including disturbing graffiti.

Here in Arizona, the Phoenix office of the Anti-Defamation League has been busy investigating at least a half dozen acts of hate over the last three months.

From a menorah that was vandalized, to hateful anti-Jewish flyers being distributed in an north Phoenix neighborhood, and symbols of hate spray-painted all over the walls, sidewalks, and street signs by an elementary school, police are actively working with the Anti-Defamation League to investigate these hate crimes.

ADL spokesman Carlos Galindo-Elivira said these incidents are painful for the community.

"People are concerned; disturbed by what they're seeing," Galindo-Elivira said. "Whether it's a flyer or a swastika spray painting, we have to stand up and we will speak out.

The office had an undercover investigator and researcher working with police to find the culprits and track trends.

The undercover investigator reported seeing another disturbing trend in Arizona: an increase in the number of white supremacist groups. The investigator said these groups are growing and getting bolder with their messages and actions.

Policy researchers believed Arizona was a hot bed of immigration, so a rise in white supremacy went hand in hand with that, as groups used anti-immigration sentiments to stoke the fires or racism, and to recruit members.

Galindo Elvira said they would continue to do their job and spread the message that there was no place for hate in Arizona.

"Our message is, it's not funny," Galindo-Elivira said. "We want there to be no place for hate in our community and across our state, so we say, stop."