Anti-Semitic Fliers Hit Petworth

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Dear PoPville,

My wife and I were walking back from lunch on Monday afternoon, on Allison between 13th and Georgia, when we noticed that there were fliers on every step. Out of curiosity, I picked one up, only to find that it was essentially hate-speech claiming that Jewish people were planing genocide against Americans. The pamphlets were written by Peter J. Cojanis. I looked him up on Google and found that he has done this before in the Metro area. I was wondering what residents can do?

Do the police have any say over the matter, or are unsolicited pamphlets protected by the 1st Amendment? Is there anyone else we should contact? Usually, I wouldn’t make such a big deal about this, but the pamphlets seemed very menacing and ugly. Personally, I would like to try to keep it out of our neighborhood. Any advice is appreciated.

Ed. Note: In Dec. 2011 anti-semitic fliers hit Cleveland Park.

76 Comment

  • First Amendment — gotta take the good with the bad!

    Signed, Local Jew and First Amendment Lover!

    • Here, here!

      • *Hear, Hear!

        fixed that basic piece of english for you.

        • I feel like PoP’s direction from his rant/rave posts to not correct peoples’ grammar and spelling needs to be on every post.

          No one cares. The people who knew it was wrong already knew it and the people who didnt, dont need to be accosted by your superiority complex.

        • Not packin’ or wrackin’ much ehh.

    • I think we can close this thread now.

    • +1 for 1st Amendment.

      This looks pretty similar to what some un-medicated schizophrenic people are prone to do in their spare time.

    • YES. This. All I can say is:

      Dear aspiring fascist OP.

      Please look up the Constitution.


      LLW, JD

    • “First Amendment — gotta take the good with the bad!”

      Agreed… Right up until it gets stuffed in my porch railing or tossed on my stoop–like a similar flyer from about two weeks ago. At that point it’s litter, and the distributor better not get caught throwing their garbage onto my property.

    • This seems pretty close to, if not directly endorsing violence. That is _not_ protected by the 1st amendment.

  • Lady jew here. Don’t really care about stopping him. Just get the guy some meds.

    • This is probably the most sensible course of action. Anything else is giving it too much credence and press play.

    • agreed, from another Jew. But while there’s a right to say or write stuff like this, you don’t necessarily get to stick it on people’s property– it could lead to a trespassing or littering charge, if someone spotted this guy in the act and called the cops.

    • His flyers are actually funny in a sad sort of way. On the one I got, he had the end of the world date (which had passed) crossed out and a new date scribbled in.

  • Absolutely sickening! I concur that this is free speech, but whenever I see something like this, my entire body tenses up in fear that someone will believe it and could further spread such hate.

  • Another Jewish lady here….
    These were on our street, too (11th St).
    I guess I missed the meeting about our planned genocide of the American people. Maybe I’m on the wrong listserve?

  • Curses! Foiled again! Ix-nay on the enocide-gay boys, Cojanis has found us out again!

  • Has nobody ever seen the group “BLack Israelites” or something that sets up at Gallery Place (on random friday afternoons) and rants and raves from a speaker system all types of hate speech. They basically read out of a bible a passage denouncing some kind of bad behavior then they pick some group of people who they feel is guilty of such behavior and bitch about them. Haven’t seen them in a couple months. Maybe they have been chased away temporarily. They set up a stage and a display and everything. They wear these comical pharoah looking costumes. Even with their aggressive tone, it is almost comical. Bunch of wankstas

    • Allison

      Yeah. Hate speech is generally legally okay as long as they aren’t actively advocating/inciting violence right then and there.

    • Yeah, we found this crap on our front gate a month ago. The “Black Israelites” are more than a bunch of racist clowns – see what the Southern Poverty law Center has to say about them:

      Even if this wasn’t done by them, they are bad news and love to use gentrification as a way to spew their hate.

    • Yeah, the Black Israelite School of UPK — I see those guys every Friday on my way home from work.

      They don’t seem the least bit threatening. That is, they try so hard to appear threatening that it instead comes across as entertaining.

      Some of this is just part of living in a city. I’m not condoning hate speech, but if someone wants to stand on a street corner and make themselves look ridiculous screaming hateful things, there’s nothing you can really do about it. Besides, the more insidious threat are the people that don’t shout hateful things or post hateful fliers, but who quietly encourage hateful stereotypes at home with their children.

      • Plus they look like extras from a bad SyFy movie.

      • I get what you’re saying, but what do young black kids think about these guys? Most probably think it’s stupid, but it might encourage others that hating (and being violent) is okay to hated groups…

    • re Black Israelites. That group used to torment people on H St NE. Sorry to hear that they chose a new neighborhood to pollute.

  • Don’t argue with crazy people! Just ignore them and let them wander away.

  • Allison

    He’s the commander-in-chief AND the prosecutor? Something tells me there’s a conflict of interest going on here….

  • gotryit

    Seize the caves!

    amusing / sad – get them some meds

  • Dear gentiles,

    I write to you from the depths of my safe cave. Please send pastrami on rye.

    a Chosen One.

    • And a 1/2 lb of lox and a shmear, if it’s not too much trouble. Bubbie said I was skin and bones.

  • You could just quietly walk around and pick the fliers up.

    • The one I found on my front step upset me a bit, but then I collected as many as I could and shredded them at work. It was a bit of a jolt, to say the least.

  • Allison

    Great, now I have “Crazy Train” stuck in my head.

  • I think what blog fails to address is the impact these newly seized caves will have on the housing market.

  • in some industrialized and civilized countries, Holocaust denial is illegal.

    • PDleftMtP

      So’s Scientology. While I’m not on board with either, I’m also not on board with the government’s deciding which ideas and creeds are approved for public promotion.

      • That may be easy to say having never experienced hate speech (I’m guessing, my apologies if I’m mistaken) but as someone who has I think hate speech laws are something that should be introduced in the states.

    • So what? In some industrialized and “civilized” (whatever that means) countries, muslim women arent allowed to wear their headscarves, failed CEOs are encouraged to jump off of buildings, and in most other countries immigrants are treated like absolute shit. So, yeah, what other countries do about freedom and equality doesnt really matter.

      Its the reason that no matter how much I disagree with what our country does, or how bad something we’ve done is, I still know we’re way better than #2. One of the reasons we’re #1 is because no matter how disgraceful the speech is, as long as its speech, its protected. That, as well as some of our other freedoms, have made most everything else our country has done and our people have done possible.

  • Could this qualify as litter? If not properly affixed, they might blow about, creating litter, for which there is a fine. They also cannot be placed within mailboxes without proper postage.

  • This thread is entirely the the OP’s fault. Rather than framing his inquiry in the form of a constitutionally-suspect question, why not just say what he really meant: “Look at the piece of crazy I found on the street. Isn’t it a riot?” We could all then +1 it and move on to more interesting topics …

  • These have been around Mt Pleasant too, a couple of months ago. I agree, please find the man some meds.

  • Link: He said he was and identified himself as Peter Cojanis. When Sweek, who is not Jewish, asked him why the flier was so anti-Semitic, he told her, she reports, “I’m a congressional investigator, and everything that’s on there is true.”

    Take down the posters, throw them away. Lobby for and donate to organizations that assist with mental health.

  • Menacing?! There isn’t a coherent sentence on that entire flier.

  • i work on Cap. Hill. he used to deliver these to congressional offices all the time.

  • To those of you saying this is legal… there is some debate on that, to be honest. As a kid the KKK distributed hate mail throughout our neighborhood and as a community we were able to take legal action because they trespassed on private property. That was in MN so legalities may change due to local laws… however hate speech is a very closely monitored activity and while it may be legal the amount of time you could tie these people up in court is staggering. Something to think about if you have extra time and money to spend doing so.

    • Anonymous,

      What you’ve described is that act of trespassing, which is illegal, and it sounds like in the example you gave that was the “technicality” for which was argued. Not saying it was a bad way to go but it wasn’t solely the act of hate speech that was illegal.

      I believe in the First Amendment; however, there are cases (such as the case with hate speech) where it makes my belief tough to swallow. It would be a very slippery slope to start amending what can/cannot be spoken. That said, though, hate speech should be closely monitored because it can be a dangerous thing to percolate below the surface of any community.

  • As a Jew, I’m really bummed that no one told me where the caves are. I feel like the kid picked last for kickball. Guess I’ll go hang out with the goys until the ocean washes me away.

  • I’ve seen this guy before in Adams Morgan — he’s a nutbag of course, but otherwise harmless and actually pretty sad.

    To the legal question, the first amendment certainly protects the “speech” involved here, but not necessarily the means of distributing it. Although I’d guess there’s no local ordnance that would prohibit the distribution of even these sorts of unsolicited pamphlets, which happens all the time involving other types of speech (see, e.g., the chinese food and pizza delivery menus and strip club flyers littering my front step every Sunday morning).

    Probably best to let it go and try not to let it get under your skin. Poor guy deserves pity, not prosecution.

  • umm. you just gave him more attention than he could have possibly hoped for with his flyers. yeah, nice work.

  • first amendment. it does look like the work of someone who is unstable…

  • Ahh. I’d been wondering why cave rent had been going up so fast recently.

  • Allison

    Well, that went Schopenhauer quickly.

  • The writer is totally overreacting. It is just a non-sensical flyer from a crazy person.

  • Antisemitic Elmo has graced us in DC?

  • Found one of these on the ground at 22d and S St. today.

  • Yeah, nut bags are covered by the 1st Amendment as well. Part of being an American.

    So, does anyone else find the letter creepy yet entertaining in a “wow, people can be really f-ing nuts” kind of way? Not sure how any rational person can be scared or worried by something that is clearly a cross between Mein Kamph and Monty Python.

  • Send the scanned copy to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). This sort of malicious nonsense should be tracked even if not illegal. The ADL will know just what to do. They are the experts.
    Phone: (202) 452-8310
    Fax: (202) 296-2371

  • More importantly: what’s a good place for lunch close to Allison and 11th?

  • The fliers were stuffed into gates and fences around the H Street NE neighborhood two weeks ago. Creepy! I scrounged up as many as i could hold and tossed them into the trash.

  • Dear Poville:

    I’m a Jew who believes this flyer is, and should be, covered by freedom of speech. Although my experience is limited, I have seen a strong backlash against anti-Semitic screeds. (Yours is a good example.)

    I’m surprised that the author signed his name.

    If there is a way to get a significant number of people writing in response, I would try to do this by inundating Mr. Cojanis with email or letters/flyers, or spending a few minutes telling his neighbors how you feel (if you can find out where he lives.)

    I’d be happy to join you if you post more details about him.

    — TakomaPerson

Comments are closed.