Will Alt-Right ‘Heil Trump’ Leader Speak at Texas University? by the Forward

Will Alt-Right ‘Heil Trump’ Leader Speak at Texas University?

— Jewish groups and leaders urged a Texas university not to allow the founder of a white supremacist think tank to speak on campus.

Richard Spencer, who recently railed against Jews at an alt-right conference in Washington D.C. —  during which audience members gave Nazi salutes — is slated to speak at a private event on the Texas A&M University campus on December 6.

A university representative said that the university did not agree with Spencer’s views and that it had not invited him to speak, but that private individuals were allowed to use the space of the public university, according to The Battalion, the student newspaper.

“[O]ur leadership finds his views as expressed to date in direct conflict with our core values,” said the university’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Amy Smith. “Private citizens are permitted to reserve space available to the public as we are a public university, as is the case here.”

Spencer was invited by a former student who has brought other white nationalists to speak on campus, the Battalion reported.

The New York Times called Spencer the “leading ideologue of the alt-right movement,” a loose far-right movement whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.”

Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, who leads the campus Hillel, called on his Twitter followers on Tuesday to report the event, sharing a link to a university web page that praised campus diversity and condemned hate.

“I think for the vast majority of students, even though it’s a conservative student body, they’re definitely against people like (Spencer),” Rosenberg told The Houston Chronicle.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement on Wednesday saying it was “concerned” about Spencer’s planned speech and urged people not to attend the event.

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, called on Texas A&M to cancel the event.

“This man is one of the worst hatemongers in America, and his white supremacist and other bigoted ideas are sickening. I urge the university to deny him access to any facilities on campus,” Lauder said Thursday in a statement.

Spencer was the final speaker at an alt-right conference earlier this week in Washington, D.C., for his think tank, the National Policy Institute. At the event, Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of presidential candidate Donald Trump in order to protect Jewish interests, and referred to the political commentators as “soulless golems.”

As Spencer finished speaking, several audience members gave a Nazi-like salute. “Hail victory!” the people in the room shouted, according to the New York Times.

Trump later disavowed the event, and said he did not want to “energize” white supremacists.


Josefin Dolsten

Josefin Dolsten

Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.

Will Alt-Right ‘Heil Trump’ Leader Speak at Texas University?

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Will Alt-Right ‘Heil Trump’ Leader Speak at Texas University?

Thank you!

This article has been sent!