Anti-Semitic group plans armed march in small Montana town

Neo-Nazis escalate their harassment campaign against Jews in the hometown of a white supremacist leader’s mother.

White nationalist leader RIchard Spencer. CREDIT: AP Photo/David J. Phillip
White nationalist leader RIchard Spencer. CREDIT: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

The Daily Stormer, a popular American neo-Nazi website, is organizing an armed march in Whitefish, Montana, home of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer’s mother.

In a recent blog post that features Hilter’s face as its banner image, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the white supremacist website, announced he’s planning an armed march in the town for the second week of January — days before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Montana has extremely liberal open carry laws, so my lawyer is telling me we can easily march through the center of the town carrying high-powered rifles,” Anglin wrote, adding that he plans to be there personally. “Currently, my guys say we are going to be able to put together about 200 people to participate in the march, which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either. We will be busing in skinheads from the Bay Area.”

Anglin has organized a harassment campaign against Jews in Whitefish because a building owned by Spencer’s mother has been targeted for protests by people upset by her son’s hateful views, which were on full display last month during a white nationalist conference in Washington, D.C. During his speech at the conference, Spencer made a Nazi salute and yelled, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”

“America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

Spencer is a part-time resident of Whitefish. In a blog post, his mother, Sherry Spencer, claims that Tanya Gersh, a local realtor with links to the Love Lives Here and Montana Human Rights Network organizations, told her last month that if she didn’t sell her building and denounce her son’s views, she would help organize protests outside of it.

Spencer said her building “has nothing to do” with her son’s views and never will, but she goes on to describe his bigotry as merely “ideas.”

“Whatever you think about my son’s ideas — they are, after all, ideas — in what moral universe is it right for the ‘sins’ of the son to be visited upon the mother?” she wrote.

Earlier this month, Anglin of the Daily Stormer responded by publishing photos of Gersh, her young son, her husband, and members of Love Lives Here on his website, along with the contact information of area businesses supporting Gersh’s efforts. (Gersh has since deleted her social media accounts.) The photos have been affixed with yellow “Jude” stars like the ones Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany. Angelin also urged readers to harass the aforementioned businesses and Jews, describing them as a “vicious, evil race of hate-filled psychopaths” and “a people without shame.”

Though Angelin urges his followers to avoid threats of violence, a co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network told the New York Times that the group has received numerous threatening messages, including one that said, “All of you deserve a bullet through your skull. Choke on a shotgun and die. All of you would be of greater worth to society as human fertilizer than citizens.”

The local police department told the Times they’re not aware of any deaths threats resulting from Angelin’s harassment campaign. An FBI spokeswoman told the paper they’re “aware of the issue and is reviewing to determine if there is a violation of federal law.”

As ThinkProgress has previously detailed, white nationalism and an incidents of racist violence have been on the rise since Trump began his presidential campaign with a speech in which he called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals” in June 2015. In the first week following his victory on November 8, there were at least 300 reported hate crimes, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and there have been many more since then.

One of Trump’s first personnel decisions as president-elect was to select former Breitbart boss Steve Bannon to be his chief White House strategist. Ben Shapiro, who worked alongside Bannon for four years as Breitbart’s Editor-at-Large, wrote that Bannon “openly embraced the white supremacist alt-right” and turned Breitbart into “the alt-right go-to website… pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.”

Although his daughter Ivanka is an Orthodox Jew, Trump used anti-Semitic imagery and messaging during his campaign. In a tweet published in July, he blasted Hillary Clinton by using an image of her face superimposed on a pile of money, along with a six-pointed star featuring the text, “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” The tweet was deleted and republished with the star changed to a circle.

In response to those who criticized him for invoking anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews being money-obsessed, Trump repeatedly said it was “just a star.”

As the Washington Post detailed, Trump closed his campaign with attacks on “blood suckers” who back international trade, a scheming “global power structure,” and warnings about how Clinton allegedly “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” — comments that drew a rebuke from the the Anti-Defamation League for featuring “tropes that historically have been used against Jews.” Trump ignored the ADL and echoed similar themes in a campaign-closing ad that featured images of Jewish bankers and financiers and smeared Clinton for being aligned with “global special interests” and partnering “with these people who don’t have your good in mind.”