White supremacist march to be matched with human rights donations

 

A New York City foundation and the Montana Human Rights Network have launched “Project Lemonade,” a drive to collect donations based on how many minutes white supremacists spend marching in Montana.

Neo-Nazis have planned an armed march against the Jewish population of Whitefish, Montana for the second week of January, according to media reports.

The more they march, the more money will be raised for causes white supremacists would abhor, such as increased security for the Jewish community and new programs on human rights and hatred, according to the organizations.

The Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation has initiated the project “in consultation with the Montana human rights community,” Kenneth Stern, its executive director, told the Chronicle in a phone interview.

Stern, a former director of the division on anti-Semitism at the American Jewish Committee, said that if a proposed white supremacist march is perceived as successful, it could be replicated.

Stern said he has seen the lemonade strategy used successfully before.

“These folks act like bullies,” he said. “We need to push back.”

It was a neo-Nazi website that announced plans in December for an armed march by white supremacists in Montana. A web graphic displayed Dec. 30, 2016 on the Daily Stormer site about the proposed march was published over a picture of the entrance to Auschwitz and included a yellow Star of David with the word “Jude” printed in it.

Whitefish is home to white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank. In November, he spoke at a white supremacist event in Washington, D.C., celebrating President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in which Spencer said “Hail Trump!” and was greeted by Nazi salutes.

The Daily Stormer published a blog post in December calling for followers to “take action” against Jews in Whitefish by writing and calling them with anti-Semitic messages. The post claimed that Jewish residents were “threatening” a business run by Spencer’s mother in the town.

The post included the names, phone numbers and addresses of Jewish Whitefish residents, as well as their photos emblazoned with yellow stars. It also showed the Twitter handle and photo of a child. Along with using a number of anti-Semitic slurs, the post warned readers against using “violence or threats of violence or anything close to that.” The Daily Stormer also called for a “troll storm” against Jews in Whitefish, according to media reports.

A local rabbi has encouraged people to send notes of sympathy to the Whitefish Jewish community and to put a menorah in their windows in solidarity, the ADL said in a statement. Montana officials have also condemned the march.

“We are proud to make the first pledge to MHRN’s Project Lemonade effort. Our initial pledge is $10 for every minute of the march, up to $2,500,” Stern said in an opinion piece. “We encourage others who can’t sleep well, knowing Jews and human rights activists are fearing being attacked in their homes by organized neo-Nazis, to join us in this effort. Anti-Semitic bullies can be stopped, but it is up to us all to stop them.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency contributed to this story.

* * *

How to help

The Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation and the Montana Human Rights Project are accepting pledges for the Lemonade Project.