By Simcha Abir
A man who driving past a pro-Israel rally through Boca Raton and Miami last week in a van with Nazi slogans and flying a Palestinian flag during has been arrested.
Joseph Bounds, 33, of Denver, Colorado, is believed to be a member of anti-Jewish hate group, Goyim Defense League, along with other men in the van.
“Hitler was right” can be seen across the windows, above a door are the words “Holocaust never happened.” Other slogans include “Vax the Jews” and “White goy summer.”
Footage tweeted by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton Synagogue went viral.
Rabbi Goldberg wrote, “We rally for peace and this van filled with hate, call for genocide and threats kept circling. Thank you to our local law enforcement for keeping us safe. Hard to believe in the heart of Boca Raton if didn’t see it myself.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the group is “a loose network” of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism”.
The neo-Nazis had been reportedly observed using markers to write the hate slogans on the van.
“To see actual Nazis gleefully writing on their presumably rented van was just shocking,” Todd Amelung-Wilson reportedly told local media. “They seemed pretty proud of themselves. We were really shaken.”
Bounds is alleged to have stepped outside his vehicle to record his encounter with the policeman. According to a police report, an officer issued Bounds with “three lawful commands to step away from traffic” that he ignored. Bounds was charged with misdemeanour, resisting a police officer without violence and failure to obey a police officer.
The neo-Nazi group’s arrival in South Florida alarmed local Jewish leaders.
“It is imperative that no matter what they say you DO NOT ENGAGE them in any way, even though it may be very tempting to do so,” an online circular reportedly noted. “The goal, our goal, is to simply ignore them and to avoid a confrontation of any kind. Be aware that various law enforcement agencies are engaged in gathering intelligence and making sure that everything stays peaceful.”
The Anti-Defamation League has reported anti-Semitic incidents in Florida in recent years including at Miami Beach and Florida International University.
Benjamin Michael Garcia was reportedly arrested last month for painting anti-Semitic messages in Coral Gables, Florida.