Just days after publishing the personal information of members of Whitefish, Montana's Jewish community, Neo-Nazi agitators have announced a new—and even scarier—plan to ratchet up their campaign of racist intimidation.
In a blog post published December 22, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer, wrote:
We are planning an armed protest in Whitefish. 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. I myself am planning on being there to lead the protest, which has been dubbed ‘March on Whitefish'.
Anglin also said he plans to bus in "skinheads from the Bay Area" and expects around 200 people for the march, "which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses, and everyone who supports either." According to local ABC affiliate KTMF, the march is planned for the second week in January.
This is latest in a series of hate-fueled provocations by Neo-Nazis against Jewish residents of Whitefish, a town of fewer than 7,000 people. The campaign is a reaction to the alleged financial setbacks faced by town resident Sherry Spencer, the mother of white supremacist figurehead Richard Spencer, over her son's racist extremism—hardships that Spencer's Neo-Nazi followers have blamed on the Jewish community. In response, white supremacists have targeted the town's Jewish residents with harassment and intimidation.
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"It’s exactly what they called for,” Montana Human Rights Network co-director Rachel Carroll Rivas told The Washington Post. “They called for an online troll storm and that’s what it is. It is very personal and incredibly anti-Semitic. These are tactics that are intended to instill fear."
The proposed armed rally, however, marks a chilling escalation in the assault on Whitefish community members—Jewish or otherwise.
Whitefish Police Department Sgt. Dave Herman would only tell the Billings Gazette, "We're aware of it" when asked about the march over the holiday weekend. But according to the newspaper, Anglin has offered to cancel the armed march should local activist groups commit to leaving Spencer's mother alone.
After news of the march was reported, the Anti-Defamation League said it has been in "direct contact" with Whitefish residents who have been targeted by white supremacists.
"We are helping community members in their efforts to have offensive photos removed and following up with our own law enforcement contacts at the FBI and the Department of Justice. We have also offered to provide guidance on online security, " the ADL wrote in a blog post last week.
"Our consistent message has been that the community’s security is paramount, but it is also vitally important to fight back against the hate," the post also said.