On June 24, 2021, the Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condominium in Surfside, FL, partially collapsed, killing at least 24 people. As the search for victims continues, however, white supremacists have already begun spreading conspiracy theories about the disaster.
In a July 1 livestream, podcaster Jon Minadeo II of the Goyim Defense League — a group of Neo-Nazis known mainly for hanging up flyers and banners with antisemitic messages — claimed without evidence that a group of Jews destroyed the condo in order to enrich themselves.
Minadeo played a video by an associate named “Donald Netanyahu” which asserted the partial collapse was an inside job while occasionally stopping it to add his own commentary.
According to Minadeo, the owner of the building decided to destroy it via controlled demolition in order to avoid making necessary repairs. “Similar to Larry Silverstein with the asbestos, okay?” he said, referencing a conspiracy about the real estate developer who purchased the World Trade Center’s lease months before 9/11.
Minadeo further claimed that survivors of the collapse, some of whom are Jewish, were warned in advance about the collapse and paid not to say anything.
“So [the condo’s] sinking. So in order to get around the sinking, okay, you get all these Jews to take a little bit of hush money — you know, give ’em a little bit of hush money and then tell ’em, you know, what’s gonna happen. Say ‘Hey, you don’t speak out about this, we’ll give you 500,000. Everyone in the building gets 500,000.’ Or 250,000, right?”
Minadeo offered no evidence of a controlled demolition, or “hush money” being paid to survivors. Moreover, his conspiracy about advanced knowledge is completely illogical. As The Washington Post pointed out, a third of the dead or missing are Jewish.
As for the partial collapse, the building suffered from major structural damage and the ground underneath had been sinking for years — as Minadeo himself stated.
The video he played then cut to a compilation of actual controlled demolitions. While watching footage of the 1995 demolition of the Landmark hotel and casino, Minadeo affected a stereotypical Jewish accent and said “There’s no goyim in there? Aw shucks. It’d be way cooler if you had some goys in there.”
He then brought on “Donald Netanyahu” to congratulate him on his video and advance more conspiracies about the collapse. For example, “Netanyahu” pointed out that members of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) are present in Surfside.
Israel did send a search and rescue delegation to Florida in order to assist with rescue efforts. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel “has no better friend than the United States, and the United States has no better friend than Israel.” Lapid added that they “stand with our American friends and the Jewish community in Florida.”
Surfside, of course, is home to a large Jewish community.
“Netanyahu” told Minadeo that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Surfside “two weeks ago” to sign “two bills.” Minadeo said the bills to “protect Jews” and create a “Holocaust task force.” “Netanyahu” suggested that Jewish residents of Surfside “traded something” in exchange for DeSantis signing these bills.
While Gov. DeSantis did sign two bills in a Surfside synagogue on June 14, 2021, these bills did not do what Minadeo claimed they did. One bill, HB 805, authorized Hatzalah, a Jewish volunteer EMS organization, to use sirens and red lights on their vehicles in emergency situations. The second, HB 529, requires Florida schools to hold a daily moment of silence.
And neither Minadeo nor “Netanyahu” explained why DeSantis would need to make a sinister quid pro quo to pass such a law.
After all, while running for governor in 2018 he vowed he would be the “most pro-Israel governor in the country.” And in 2019 he signed a bill which prohibited antisemitic speech in public schools and universities, but which also conflated criticism of Israel with antisemitism.
Minadeo also claimed that hauling debris away from the site of the collapse was part of a cover up. “Wait so they got the IDF cleaning up? Didn’t they sell all the scrap metal or somethin’ to China so they couldn’t like go through it and — like with 9/11?” he asked.
It was reported in Jan. 2002 that tens of thousands of tons of mangled steel from the World Trade Center was sold to China as scrap. Nothing suggests the Israeli government was involved in the sale.
“They’re doing the same thing here,” “Netanyahu” said.
“I just seen [sic] a video today where they — it’s so eerie how everything is similar to 9-1-1. They showed a video and talked about the dump trucks, how they’re being escorted to and from Miami with police escorts because they’re taking all of this concrete and steel away to be, you know, secured — whatever you wanna call it.”
Minadeo replied that “They gotta sell it ’cause Jews love to recycle. Don’t forget they’re such humanitarians.”