Whitefish “Nestled at the foot of Big Mountain and within a short distance of Glacier National Park and the Canadian border, the area offers no shortage of outdoor activities for all seasons, from skiing Whitefish Mountain Resort in the winter to cycling, horseback riding and whitewater rafting in summer. The town’s historic railroad depot and quaint Central Avenue charm visitors with a taste of historic Montana.” – Trip Advisor”
“The townspeople of Whitefish, Montana are gearing up to deal with the impact of an upcoming ‘March on the Jews’ in their community by neo-Nazis who also vow to bring “high-powered rifles” to the event. The Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website founder, Andrew Anglin, is behind the march which allegedly is set for Sunday, January 15.” – The Jewish Press
I must admit that when I first read the news, I had no idea where Whitefish, Montana was. When I located it on the map, I wondered how in the world this small pretty ski town in Montana, located near the Canadian border far from any major metropolitan area, becomes the place where a Neo-Nazi organization decides to conduct an anti-Jewish march and harass the small Jewish community.
Why Whitefish? – So far away from media centers and heavily populated Jewish areas.
Whitefish is home to white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank, as well as his mother. The Daily Stormer (Neo-Nazi blog) published a post last month 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” the business run by Spencer’s mother in the town.
There are about 100 known Jewish households in Whitefish and nearby Kalispell, part of the Flathead Valley. 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.” – Jerusalem Post
The city of Whitefish is strongly encouraging that people do not attend any sort of counter protests. The Whitefish Police Department is encouraging people not to attend counter protests because it will only fuel the fire. Sheriff T.J. McDermott said it’s hard to gauge what will occur when these two groups will meet.
Taking it in a good faith that most residents of Whitefish are not racists and that they oppose the Neo-Nazi march in their town, and listening to the request by the Whitefish Police Department to avoid confrontation, perhaps my first reaction to join the counter march, is not the best idea. However, as Jews, we should make a point and support the small Jewish community of Whitefish. We should visit this town in large numbers on personal vacations and organized Jewish events.
If you are looking for of a vacation destination, why not Whitefish?
When you are there, make a point to get to know the small Jewish community and show your support.