Neo-Nazis Set Date for Armed March Against Jews in Montana

A much-discussed march of neo-Nazis holding “high-powered rifles” against Jews and Jewish businesses in Whitefish, Montana, now has a date: Sunday, January 15.

Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website and conceived of the march, announced the date through a local ABC FOX station.

“Jews have operated with impunity for decades, destroying the lives of anyone who dared question their international criminal cartel,” Anglin told the Missoula Independent. “Those days are finished. This is a revolt of the goyim,” he said, referring to the Hebrew word for “nations,” which can have a pejorative meaning when used by Jews to describe others.

When Anglin first announced plans for the march, he said he would hold it in defense of white supremacist Richard Spencer and his mother, Sherry Spencer, who owns a building in downtown Whitefish. Richard Spencer lives in the town part-time, and popularized the term “alt-right,” the label preferred by many contemporary white supremacists. Spencer is also the founder of the National Policy Institute. At a November meeting of the institute in Washington, D.C., attendants celebrated Donald Trump’s victory with enthusiastic Nazi salutes as Spencer called, “Hail Trump!”

A local human rights group named Love Lives Here has spoken out against racism for years and intensified its efforts as Richard Spencer’s profile has risen. The group sought to combat their town’s association with him and his movement by holding rallies in support of immigrants and advocating a town ordinance barring hate groups from assembling. More recently, a local realtor who is Jewish and loosely affiliated with Love Lives Here urged Spencer’s mother to sell the building and denounce her son’s white nationalism.

After Sherry Spencer published the realtor’s e-mails — but not her side of the exchange — Anglin called on his online followers to launch a “trollstorm” against activists and Jews in Whitefish, who have since received waves of online threats.

“Go choke on a shotgun and die,” read one such message. “You would all be of greater worth to society as human fertilizer than as citizens.”

The Daily Stormer website — it’s name a reference to the most prominent Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer — gets just under 2 million visits a month, according to Similarweb.com, making it one of the country’s most visited neo-Nazi hubs.

Anglin then ramped up his campaign, announcing online harassment was not enough — and that a real-world show of force was necessary.

“We are planning an armed protest in Whitefish … we can easily march through the center of the town carrying high-powered rifles,” Anglin wrote late last month, claiming he would be able to rally hundreds to Montana. Anglin said the march is “planned against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either.”

In Montana, citizens only need a permit to carry a concealed weapon in certain circumstances; they do not need a permit to buy one, or carry it openly, according to the National Rifle Association.

Anglin, who the Southern Poverty Law Center has written is “infamous for the crudity of his language and his thinking,” has mounted numerous online campaigns in recent years — but has never organized a rally of this scale.

His past online “troll attacks” included “Operation: Jew Wife,” targeting Infowars host Alex Jones because his wife is Jewish, and “Operation: Filthy Jew B—ch,” which targeted Labour Party member of Parliament Luciana Berger, who is Jewish.

Dylann Roof, the man killed nine black people at a church in Charleston in 2015, may also have been a reader of Daily Stormer, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Anglin told the local FOX ABC station that he’d received a large donation to his website, which he claims will help him “ship people in for the march.” But researchers at the Anti-Defamation League say that it remains unclear whether the march will actually materialize.

“We haven’t seen any evidence that the march will happen at this point,” said Marilyn Mayo, a researcher at the ADL. Mayo said that Anglin has struggled financially in the past and the idea that he would be bussing in hundreds of marchers seems far-fetched; there is little discussion about attending a march on far-right forums; and as of Tuesday, January 3, no permit for such a rally had been requested in Whitefish, Mayo said.

The Whitefish police department was not immediately available for comment.

In a video titled “Let’s End This,” Spencer himself publicly called for an end to the Whitefish trolling on December 30, but stopped short of actually condemning the march or the online harassment, dismissing the march as something of a joke and waving off the online trolling as “just pixels.”

In that video, Spencer said he had “no interest for this to continue” but framed himself and his family as the true victims and local activists as the antagonists. “Don’t listen to these rabbis,” he says in the video, which was addressed to Whitefish residents. “Do you think they have good in their heart? Do you think they care for you? Do you think they care for this community? No, they’re pursuing their own sick little project.”

Two local rabbis are involved in the activist group Love Lives Here, but its leader is not Jewish. Montana is among the whitest states in the country. Most of its million people are Christian. About 6,000, or less than 1 percent, are Jewish. The Flathead Valley, though, is a sort of Jewish hub. The city is home to the non-denominational Glacier Jewish Community, helmed by Rabbi Francine Roston, once described as one of “the Conservative movement’s rising stars.” Roston serves a Jewish community of more than a hundred individuals and families.

In the past, Anglin has criticized Spencer for not addressing the so-called “Jewish question” directly or often enough— but Spencer has increasingly found common cause with Neo-Nazis like Anglin whose racism is driven by Jew hatred. Anglin and Spencer recently appeared in an “alt-right” podcast together in a sign of solidarity and spoke about the future of white nationalism in the age of Trump.

While Spencer in the past sought to fashion himself a “suit and tie” racist, the ADL wrote in a recent blog post, “it is clear that Spencer is now willing to visibly align with blatant anti-Semites and neo-Nazis.”

Email Sam Kestenbaum at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum

Author

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

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Neo-Nazis Set Date for Armed March Against Jews in Montana

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