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World Jewish Congress President Lauder demands Montana immediately ban planned neo-Nazi rally: ‘Alt-right march puts all of America at risk

NEW YORK - World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder is demanding that authorities in Montana immediately put a stop to an armed march being planned by neo-Nazis in the town of Whitefish on January 15, calling it “a dangerous and life-threatening rally that puts all of America at risk.”

“When notorious and self-professed neo-Nazis announce that they are planning to march through a town carrying ‘high-profiled rifles’ in an action targeting ‘Jews, Jewish business, and everyone who supports either,’ the local authorities must respond with quick alarm and vigilance.

“This rally crosses the line between freedom of expression and incitement to hatred. The intention of these neo-Nazis is not just to send a political message – they are organizing a dangerous and life-threatening rally that puts all of America, including the local Jewish community, at risk. There has been an upturn of late in public expressions of anti-Semitism and hatred of the other. It is unacceptable, and unfathomable, that such incidents could happen in America.

“When neo-Nazis planned their march through Skokie in 1977, to spit in the face of Holocaust survivors, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled after months of debate that it would be unconstitutional to stop them. The counter-response was deafening: Only a few dozen Nazis came out to protest, met by hundreds of Jews and their supporters.

“But the circumstances in Montana, and in the America of today, are different. In Montana today, it is legal to openly carry a weapon. And the America of today has seen far too many mass and targeted shootings of innocent people, far too many expressions of violent bigotry and lethal hatred, to sit by quietly and debate the constitutional right of armed militants to march against the Jewish people and ‘anyone that supports’ them.

“All around the world, from the Jobbik Party in Hungary to the Golden Dawn in Greece, fascism is on the rise. Anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Black incidents are jumping at alarming rates.

“Inflammatory rhetoric on the part of White Supremacists, whether targeting Jews, Blacks, Muslims or any other minority, can all too easily turn into incitement to violence and worse. ‘Constitutional’ hate speech can far too easily turn into unspeakable atrocities.

“We cannot allow the horrific massacres that occurred just recently – nine murdered in cold blood at a Charleston church, 49 lives ruthlessly wiped out at an Orlando night club – to replicate themselves in Whitefish. We must stop this rally from taking place and prevent a hate crime from happening before it even becomes a possibility. When we send the message that anti-Semitism is acceptable, it becomes acceptable. America is a beacon of tolerance – it cannot let itself become a beacon of hatred.”

The rally is being organized by The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, and is set to coincide with Martin Luther King Day. The World Jewish Congress, American Section, has sent a letter to Montana Governor Steve Bullock demanding that the rally be stopped.

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