Whitefish - Montana Police On Alert After Neo-Nazi Campaign Targets Jewish Residents
Whitefish, MT - Local law enforcement in northwest Montana has stepped up patrols and been in contact with the FBI after a white supremacist website provided readers with contact information for several Jewish residents of northwest Montana, urging them to “take action.”
The post, which appeared on the Daily Stormer on December 16th, accused several local Jews who live in or near Whitefish, Montana of forcing local resident Sherry Spencer to sell a building that she owns in the town.
Spencer is the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, whose Nazi-style salute and proclamation of “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” at a November Washington D.C. event was found to be offensive by many.
According to Montana news outlet Daily Interlake, trouble began brewing in mid December after the Whitefish City Council adopted a proclamation distancing itself from Richard Spencer’s ideologies.
Rumors began circulating that 200 picketers would be staging a protest in front of Sherry Spencer’s mixed use building because of her son’s contentious statements and when Jewish real estate broker Tanya Gersh approached Spencer about possibly selling her property things began to escalate.
A Medium.com article penned by Spencer accused Gersh of issuing an ultimatum: sell the building and denounce her son, or face organized protests and unwanted national media attention.
Spencer slammed the mother of two for holding her accountable for her son’s divisive remarks and also alleged that Gersh threatened her tenants.
Describing Jews as a “vicious, evil race of hate filled-psychopaths,” the Daily Stormer article called on readers to go after Gersh and several others, listing business addresses, phone and fax numbers, email accounts and twitter handles. Among those targeted in the post were Gersh’s young son Jacob, with both his picture and his Twitter handle provided by the Daily Stormer.
A chilling post on Jacob Gersh’s Twitter account showed a picture of a kitchen oven with its door ajar, and the words “psst kid, there’s a free Xbox One inside the oven.”
Pictures of three of the women identified in the article all have Nazi-era yellow stars bearing the word “Jude” superimposed over the images and while the article clearly advocates against any violence or threats of violence, it calls for “an old fashioned Troll Storm.”
Readers were also told to contact Gersh’s husband Juda and to “give him a call or stop by his office and let him know what you think of his wife’s behavior, advise him to get a leash on that [expletive].”
Captain Bill Dial of the Whitefish Police Department said that because his relatively small police force does not have an internet crime investigation unit, he has been in contact with the FBI offices in Salt Lake City.
Dial said that there are several people behind the movement to go after Jewish residents, most of whom live in the Flathead Valley, with a few others on the East Coast. Dial categorized those involved as bored middle aged men whose lack fulfillment.
“Like I told the governor yesterday, this is a bunch of 45 year old men with no purpose in their lives who sit around in their mom’s basement, in their underwear, eating Cheetos all day,” Dial told VIN News.
Still, Dial noted that the suggestion of retribution to any perceived slights against Spencer is being taken very seriously in Whitefish. The police chief noted that he has been in touch with Jewish residents of Whitefish and the local rabbi, advising them to report threats of any kind directly to 911.
Dial said his force of 16 officer is on the alert and making its presence known throughout the area and Whitefish residents are invited to meeting tonight in with a security expert.
“He will be letting people know what to do, what not to do and how to secure their houses,” said Dial adding, “It’s really unfortunate to have something like this this time of year.”
Dial described the hate messages expressed in response to the Daily Stormer article as repulsive and said that anyone who crosses any legal lines can expect swift punishment.
“We are taking this very seriously,” said Dial. “We do not condone that kind of behavior in this town and if anyone makes a direct threat, we will identify them, arrest them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
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