Backgrounder

Goyim Defense League

Goim Defence League

Update: The GDL was responsible for at least 74 antisemitic propaganda incidents in 2021. Most of GDL’s propaganda distributions have taken place during their so-called “Name the Nose” tours, but in December 2021 the group increased their non-tour related propaganda distributions, organizing their first nationwide propaganda campaign for the weekend of December 18. GDL has continued monthly propaganda drives into 2022, distributing propaganda dozens of times in seventeen states.

Key Points

  • The Goyim Defense League is a loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism. The group includes five or six primary organizers/public figures, dozens of supporters and thousands of online followers.
  • GDL operates GoyimTV, a video platform that streams antisemitic content.
  • GDL espouses vitriolic antisemitism and white supremacist themes via the internet, through propaganda distributions and in street actions.
  • GDL engages in antisemitic stunts and schemes to troll or otherwise harass Jews.
  • GDL’s most zealous and visible actors are in California, Colorado, Florida and New York.

Origins and Ideology

Goyim Defense League (GDL) is a small network of virulently antisemitic provocateurs led by Jon Minadeo II of Petaluma, California. GDL parodies the Anti-Defamation League’s name and logo by replacing “Anti-Defamation” with “Goyim Defense” -- “Goyim” being a disparaging Yiddish and Hebrew word for non-Jews.    

GDL’s overarching goal is to cast aspersions on Jews and spread antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories. This includes frequent references to Jews having undue power through their “control” of major institutions such as media networks, the economy or the government, or disparaging Jews as degenerates who molest children and advocate for pornography, abortion and LGBTQ+ communities. GDL maintains that the Holocaust is a Jewish lie, and accounts of the Holocaust are merely propaganda or lies generated by Jews for their own benefit. Similarly, the GDL says that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York and Israel intentionally targeted a U.S. warship during the height of the 1967 Six-Day War.

Minadeo, who has been active for several years, first posted his antisemitic stunts on platforms such as YouTube, DLive and BitChute. After being de-platformed in May 2020, he and Dominic Di Giorgio, also known as Ned Flanders, of Port St Lucie, Florida, launched GoyimTV, a video streaming platform focused mainly on antisemitic content. Minadeo regularly uses the platform to post his podcasts and videos of his antisemitic exploits and homophobic rants. Over the course of 2020 and 2021, other GDL devotees began to do the same.

Goyim Defence League

Minadeo and Di Giorgio in Florida – Telegram May 2021

GDL attracts a range of antisemites and white supremacists who are motivated and united by their hatred of Jews. The most zealous GDL actors are in California, Colorado, Florida and New York. They work alone, in small local cliques and occasionally travel across the country to participate in extended antisemitic events they refer to as “Name the Nose” tours.

Though Minadeo’s podcasts are filled with racist slurs, white supremacist tropes and cries of “white power,” he insists he is not a white supremacist, and instead stresses the importance of all races uniting against the Jews. Minadeo began a December 2020 podcast by shouting, “Alright! White power! Heil Hitler! Fuck these kikes! And a shout out to all the goys out there of all colors and ethnicities that hate the Jew.”

Minadeo and other GDL activists often play to their various audiences, shouting “white power” when among white supremacists, criticizing Israel when speaking to Muslims or attempting to ingratiate themselves with Black people by repeating the antisemitic canard that Jews were responsible for the transatlantic slave trade.

Perhaps unaware of Minadeo’s racist rhetoric and white supremacist connections, minorities occasionally participate in antisemitic stunts alongside Minadeo and other GDL members. In May 2021, a Black man, who goes by “Millennial Mikey,” participated in a GDL tour of central and south Florida. During the trip, he participated fully in the group’s antisemitic activities, including giving Hitler salutes. In a video posted on Telegram during the tour, “Millennial Mikey” cosplayed as a Klan leader – wearing a traditional Klan robe while he read aloud the names of alleged Jewish media moguls, stating emphatically after each name, “Nigger!”
 

Goyim Defence League

In October 2020, “Roccet The God,” an Aurora, Colorado-based Black rapper took part in a Denver “banner drop” alongside GDL advocate Joseph Bounds. In a subsequent GDL podcast, which included footage of the banner drop, Roccet said, “This is Roccet the God. GoyimTV.com. You know what I’m saying? Us goyim gotta stick together. You wanna know who killed Mary? Them pedi Jews.” Roccet then points to his t-shirt which reads, “Who killed Mary Phagan? The ADL. Protecting murders & pedophiles since 1913,” a reference to the long-standing antisemitic lie that Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager, was responsible for the 1913 murder and rape of Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old factory worker. Frank’s eventual lynching was a primary catalyst in the formation of the ADL.

GDL members have also embraced a variety of antisemitic conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus and vaccines. During a December 2020 podcast, Minadeo, who refers to the virus as “Jew flu,” said, “They’re coming to do major torturing genocide. It’s the truth…These fucking kikes are going to try to put a fucking needle in your arm!” In August 2020, a GDL group led by Minadeo drove through Santa Monica and Venice, California, shouting at pedestrians who were wearing face masks. As part of the group’s effort to “mask shame the sheep” they called pedestrians “yarmulke slaves” and told them to take off their “Jewish face yarmulkes.” And, in December 2020, Colorado GDL members Vincent Bertinelli and Joseph Bounds hung a banner from a Denver overpass that read, “COVID-19 IS A LIE. IT’S NOT ABOUT HEALTH. IT’S ABOUT CONTROL.” While touring Austin, Texas, in October 2021, GDL members harassed a woman at a COVID-19 testing site and hung a banner from an overpass that read “VAX THE JEWS.”

Goyim Defence League

GDL “VAX THE JEWS” banner dropped from overpass in Austin, Texas – October 2021

White supremacy prevails

Despite allowing non-Jewish minorities to participate in their activities, white supremacist ideology is increasingly pervasive within GDL. White supremacists dominate GDL’s online chats, regularly appear on Minadeo’s podcasts and increasingly participate in GDL’s real-world street actions. As a result, GDL’s network of supporters has increased, and their collaborative tours have grown – increasing from four participants during the first GDL tour (California, September 2019) to approximately two dozen participants during their fifth tour (Texas, October 2021).

Beginning in late 2020, Minadeo expanded GDL’s network by hosting white supremacists on his podcasts, giving them a platform to share their views. Minadeo began working with Cape Canaveral, Florida-based neo-Nazi Jason J. Brown, who is also a member of the New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA), a small white supremacist group.

In November 2020, Brown, Di Giorgio and several other Florida-based GDL and NJEHA associates hung a banner from a Florida overpass that read, “Holocaust denial illegal in 16+ countries WHY??? GoyimTV,” then met on a beach where they poured lighter fluid in the shape of a swastika and lit it on fire. They also burned an Israeli flag. When Minadeo played the footage during a subsequent podcast he laughed and shouted, “He did a swasi!!! Oh! Sick! Oh! Nice! Light that kike flag!” and “Beach Nazi! White Power!”

In early December 2020, Brown introduced Minadeo to Travis Golie, an Illinois-based white supremacist, and Minadeo posted a lengthy interview with Golie. During the interview, Golie discussed his hateful ideology at length and claimed responsibility for the November 2020 distribution of thousands white supremacist fliers across 70 miles in central and northern Illinois. Minadeo responded, “You did some good work brother…70 miles of waking up the sleepy whiteys.”

Later in December, Minadeo interviewed Paul Miller, a Florida-based neo-Nazi accelerationist who gained notoriety in extremist circles for his racist and misogynist abuse via online chat app Omegle. Before his arrest in March 2021, Miller, also known as Gypsy Crusader, used the app to harass women and minorities while dressed as supervillain comic book characters, then posted these interactions online to entertain his followers.

Minadeo discussed during subsequent podcasts how “insanely popular” the tactic of Omegle “redpilling” had become, and posited that GDL could use the practice to attract people to GoyimTV. By the end of January 2021, Minadeo and at least three other GDL provocateurs had joined the league of more than 30 extremists who engage in Omegle trolling, many of whom livestream the antics and upload highlights to Telegram, a social media platform known for its lack of moderation.

Throughout 2021, Minadeo used Telegram to build and expand the GDL network by promoting and interviewing other antisemites and white supremacists. For example, in January 2021, Minadeo began promoting white supremacist Robert Wilson of Chula Vista, California, by reposting Telegram videos of Wilson’s online trolling efforts under the pseudonym “Aryan Bacon.” By May 2021, Wilson was part of the GDL network and traveled to Florida to participate in the GDL tour along with approximately 20 other white supremacists and antisemites from states such as Florida, California, New Jersey, Colorado and New York. Wilson also participated in GDL’s October 2021, tour in Texas. And, in late 2021, Wilson posted a series of antisemitic banner drops from overpasses in Irvine, California.

Jovanni Valle, another Telegram troll and associate of Jason Brown’s, traveled from New York to participate in the Florida tour. Over the years, Valle, also known as Jovi Val, has attended white supremacist events such as the 2018 “Unite the Right 2” rally in Washington D.C. and “Fash Bash 2019,” a NJEHA event celebrating Hitler’s 130th Birthday.

In preparation for GDL’s October Texas tour, Minadeo interviewed several Texas-based white supremacists who are well-known in white supremacist Telegram circles, including neo-Nazi Christopher A. Pohlhaus, aka Hammer, who uses Telegram to promote his white supremacist followers, or “Blood Tribe,” and to sell white supremacist merchandise, and Sean Sweat, aka Texas Vet, who is part of the “While Lives Matter” movement in Texas. Both men participated in GDL’s Texas tour and are now part of Minadeo’s network of supporters.

Goyim Defence League

Front: Minadeo, second row from left to right: Pohlhaus, Wilson, and Brown during GDL tour Texas – October 2021

Tactics and Activity

In addition to peddling antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories, the GDL engages in a range of antisemitic stunts to troll or otherwise harass Jews, and to draw attention to themselves. GDL funds these activities through online solicitations and by selling merchandise in their online store. The site includes pro-GDL and GoyimTV hats and clothing, as well as t-shirts and stickers bearing antisemitic, anti-Israel, anti-left and homophobic messaging.

Propaganda distributions: GDL distributes antisemitic propaganda including fliers, stickers and banners. Over the course of 2021, GDL hung antisemitic banners from highway overpasses in California, Colorado, Florida and Canada.

Goyim Defence League

Sampling of fliers distributed by GDL in 2021

Name the Nose tours: On several occasions, GDL has led “Name the Nose” tours, which involve several days of antisemitic stunts. The most recent “tour,” in October 2021, involved approximately twenty-four individuals, including Minadeo, making appearances in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Texas. The group harassed individuals on the streets and highways, distributed antisemitic propaganda and drove around in a van shouting profanity-laced slurs from the windows. Previous events included a May 2021 tour in central and south Florida, an August 2020 tour in California, and 2019 tour in Denver, Colorado.

Goyim Defence League

Van used by GDL during the Florida “tour” – May 2021

Posing as Jews: GDL stunts often include wearing costumes or posing as Jews. This tactic dates back to 2019, when Minadeo first recorded himself driving around California in his car dressed mockingly as an Orthodox Jew. Referring to himself as “The Honest Rabbi,” Minadeo issued “confessions” and apologies on behalf of the Jewish people, claiming, for example, that he was “sorry” that Jews lied about the Holocaust and were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Goyim Defence League

Minadeo with other GDL participants who posed as Jews while distributing propaganda in Canyon, Texas in 2021.

In late 2020, Jason Brown distributed GDL propaganda in Cocoa Beach, Florida, while dressed as a unicorn and wearing a sign that read, “The Holocaust is as fake as this Unicorn.” On several occasions Brown revealed a kippah he wore beneath his costume and said, “Look I’m Jewish. We made it [the Holocaust] up.”

Goyim Defence League

Brown dressed as a unicorn in November 2020 (left) and speaking at “Fash Bash 2019

Criminal Activity:

Chula Vista, California, November 2021: On December 27, 2021, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced charges of one count of felony battery and associated anti-gay hate crime against GDL associate Robert Wilson. The charges stem from a November 10 incident in which Wilson allegedly blocked his neighbor’s driveway, yelled homophobic slurs at the victim and struck him in the face. In an unrelated incident, on December 18, Wilson allegedly violated San Diego City Municipal Code by hanging a large antisemitic banner from an Interstate 805 overpass. The banner claimed, “Jewish supremacy censors speech” and promoted the GDL’s website.

Kyle, Texas, October 2020: Police in Tyler, Texas, arrested Dominic Di Giorgio for possession of a license plate flipper. A license plate flipper allows a car’s owner to rotate or “flip” between two license plates. Di Giorgio drove his personal van from Florida to Texas to participate in GDL’s “Name the Nose” tour and was using the van to drive members of the group during their antisemitic activities in the state.

Goyim Defence League

Dominic Di Giorgio – Hays County Jail booking photo

Arcata, California, March 2020: Investigators with the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and Arcata Police Department’s Detective Unit arrested GDL activist Jesse Shenk after he allegedly solicited sex with a decoy 14-year-old.

Goyim Defence League

Minadeo and Jesse Shenk during a livestream from an overpass in Berkeley, CA – November 2020