“Racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, or hatred of anyone with different beliefs has no place in the human mind or heart.” – Billy Graham
“Anti-Semitism has no historical, political and certainly no philosophical origins. Anti-Semitism is a disease.” – Daniel Barenboim
“Where anti-Semitism persists, the well being of all our people is at risk.” – Paul Sarbanes
Last month I wrote about Richard B. Spencer in a post titled Free to Hate . Spencer, you may remember, is a white supremacist, leader of a group called ‘National Policy Institute’ (though that is a misnomer) who advocates for a white homeland for a “dispossessed white race” and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to halt the “deconstruction” of European culture. Today he has come back onto my radar in a frightening way.
Spencer’s mother, Sherry, happens to live in the small town of Whitefish, Montana. Ms. Spencer claimed in a recent article that she was being harassed to sell her property in the town because of her son’s views. While I don’t approve of harassing the mother over her son’s views, the fact is that she has come out in support of his racist, anti-semitic views and there is some dispute as to whether any harassment has actually taken place. However, this is 2016, the year of post-truth, so facts do not really matter.
Enter another evil character, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer. In response to the alleged harassment of Mr. Spencer’s mother, Anglin plans an armed march in the town for the second week of January — days before Trump’s inauguration. His purpose?
“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. 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.”
A Whitefish real-estate developer, Tanya Gersh, with ties to Montana Human Rights Network, had allegedly advised Ms. Spencer to sell a building she owns after her son made disparaging remarks at a conference in Washington, D.C. last month, including “America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.” He closed the conference with Nazi salutes and chants of “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”
On Friday, December 16th, Anglin called on his readers to harass Jews, describing them as a “vicious, evil race of hate-filled psychopaths” and “a people without shame.” He included photos, phone numbers, email address, and social media accounts of members of Love Lives Now, a peace organization “committed to co-creating a caring, open, accepting and diverse community, free from discrimination and dedicated to equal treatment,” which Anglin refers to as a “terrorist group.” In addition, he included photos and physical addresses of Tanya Gersh, her husband, and her young sons. The call for harassment has gained the support of many readers and followers of The Daily Stormer and the alt-right movement.
Not surprisingly, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke lent his support to Anglin’s effort on Twitter. Although Anglin 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.”
Anglin’s most recent post included a photo of the gate at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where more than 1 million people, most of them Jews, were killed. Photos of Whitefish residents, including a child, were superimposed on the gate. Anglin’s site, and many of his posts, contain a disclaimer that The Daily Stormer opposes violence.
White nationalism and race-based violence have been on the rise since 2015, alongside Trump’s frequent, bigoted messages about Muslims, Latinos, and African Americans. In the first week after the election, there were at least 300 reported hate crimes, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a number that has since soared.
This, friends, is the world we now live in. This is the world that Donald Trump has given us. This is the world that those who voted for and continue to support Trump crave. Look at the flag at the top of this post. That is what is left today of the America we all grew up in. I have made comparisons in the past between Trump and Hitler. Some thought I was being an alarmist, others thought I was joking. Does anybody still think my comparison is far-fetched? The Holocaust Museum wrote in response to Spencer’s conference last month, “The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words.” Remember reading about Kristallnacht – November 9-10, 1938? Not quite 80 years ago, and half the globe away. We thought we were better than that, didn’t we? Turns out we’re not.