Andrew Anglin runs the anti-Semitic Daily Stormer website. photo from Wikimedia Commons

Jewish woman sues Daily Stormer founder for invasion of privacy and emotional distress


A Montana Jewish woman, backed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is suing a neo-Nazi white supremacist for launching a harassment campaign against her and her family.

Tanya Gersh, announcing her lawsuit Tuesday against Andrew Anglin, the founder of the Daily Stormer website, said in a conference call that she has lost income and has suffered because of the attacks unleashed on her after Anglin posted her personal information on his neo-Nazi website in December.

“We got terrorized,” she said, describing multiple death threats, including photoshopped pictures of her and her 12-year old son being murdered by Nazis, and phone calls that included gun shots.

“I’m no longer working, I’m in trauma therapy twice a week, I’m losing my hair,” she said. “I’m having anxieties I never had before. Most importantly I’m never feeling safe.”

At times during the call organized by the SPLC, a hate groups watchdog, she broke down.

The federal lawsuit seeks compensation for Gersh’s losses and punitive damages and cites Montana state and federal laws protecting individuals from the invasion of privacy and from “intentionally inflicting emotional distress,” according to an SPLC release. It does not list damages, but in the conference call, Richard Cohen, the SPLC president, said: “We’re going to also seek a very, very substantial monetary damage award to punish Anglin.”

Anglin launched the campaign against Gersh after Sherry Spencer, the Whitefish, Montana-based mother of another white supremacist, Richard Spencer, posted an article on Medium accusing Gersh of threatening her with harassment if she did not sell the commercial building she owns in the town. Richard Spencer spends time in Whitefish, and there was talk at the time of staging protests outside the building.

Gersh, a realtor, contends that Sherry Spencer initiated contact, seeking to sell her building to head off the protests and to calm the town roiled by the rising profile of her son, who garnered media attention for his support of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.

Nothing in the email exchanges Sherry Spencer attached to her Medium post suggests Gersh was trying to coerce Spencer; instead, Gersh’s tone is deferential and sympathetic, and she says she is cutting her commission to the lowest percentage possible in order to facilitate the sale.

Anglin, on Dec. 16, a day after Sherry Spencer’s claims appeared on Medium, posted a screed titled “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother for Harassment and Extortion – TAKE ACTION!” He included Gersh’s home address and phone, her husband’s business contact information, and the Twitter handle of her 12-year old son, whom he referred to in abusive terms.

“Please call her and tell her what you think,” Anglin said. “And hey – if you’re in the area, maybe you should stop by and tell her in person what you think of her actions.”

Referring to Gersh’s son, Anglin advised his readers to “hit up” the boy’s Twitter account. “Tell them (sic) what you think of his whore mother’s vicious attack on the community of Whitefish,” Anglin wrote.

Anglin, in a subsequent post three days later, accused the “lying Jew media” of distorting his original post, citing liberal news websites that reported that he had called on his followers to harass Gersh and had posted her home address.

He said he “purposefully” left out home addresses, although the address he included is listed as the Gersh residence, and insisted, “I called for people to express their feelings about these threats and this harassment and extortion to the people responsible – and somehow I’m the threatener and harasser!”

JTA asked Daily Stormer over Twitter if it had any comment. There was no reply.

Rabbis visit Montana to thank local authorities for support


A delegation of Orthodox rabbis from the U.S. and Canada thanked Montana officials for their support of the Jewish community during a meeting at the state’s capitol.

The rabbis presented Montana Gov. Steve Bullock with a copy of the Five Books of Moses, called a Chumash, and thanked him for defending the state’s Jewish residents. They did the same for Republican State House Speaker Austin Knudsen, Democratic State Rep. Dave Fern and Republican State Sen. Keith Regier.

The meeting Wednesday in Helena comes in the wake of the postponement of a neo-Nazi armed march designed to harass the Montana Jewish community of Whitefish that had been scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Montana lawmakers and faith leaders have issued statements in support of the Whitefish Jewish community.

The visiting rabbis, led by Rabbi Chaim Bruk of Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana in Bozeman, included Shmuel Herzfeld, rabbi at the Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue in Washington, and Adam Scheier, of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal.

Rabbis from Sacramento, Calif., San Antonio, Texas, and Missoula also made the trip to Helena and Whitefish, according to KTVH in Helena.

Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, announced last week that he would not hold the march as scheduled because he had not yet obtained a special event permit from the city of Whitefish. He said on his website that he is now planning to hold the march in February, when it “will be bigger and have more guns and special guests than we originally planned.”

Anglin had said that nationalist groups from the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and Greece would attend the march. He also confirmed that “a representative of Hamas will be in attendance, and will give a speech about the international threat of the Jews.”

He also said his attorney believes he has a federal lawsuit against the city because it required him to get permission for the march from every business on the route, something the lawyer says violates the marchers’ constitutional rights.

The Daily Stormer published a blog 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 local business run by the mother of Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank.

The rabbis said they planned to send copies of Five Books of Moses to the approximately 1,500 Jewish families living in Montana, and that they were raising money to send four non-Jewish high school students from Whitefish to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland, the site of the notorious Nazi death camp, and that the students would then travel throughout the state to talk to other students about the Holocaust, according to the Associated Press.

Following their meetings in the capitol, the rabbis were scheduled to travel to meet the non-Orthodox rabbis serving the beleaguered town of Whitefish.

There are about 100 known Jewish households in Whitefish and nearby Kalispell, part of the Flathead Valley.

Whitefish has a population of about 6,000 full-time residents and is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Whitefish, Montana, rally held in solidarity with Jewish community


A rally was held in Whitefish, Montana, to show solidarity with the Jewish community, which has been targeted by a neo-Nazi website.

The rally Saturday was sponsored by the Love Not Hate organization, which the Daily Stormer has accused of threatening white supremacist leader Richard Spencer’s mother, who lives in the town along with him.

Several hundred people reportedly turned out for the rally — billed as a block party — in sub-zero degree weather, according to Montana Public Radio. The rally included speeches from city and faith leaders, local singers and storytellers, according to the report.

“This is indeed a community where the voices that speak love and acceptance are so many more numerous than those that speak for hate and division,” Jessica Loti Leferrier, a Love Not Hate rally organizer, told Montana Public Radio.

The neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, said last week that it had filed the paperwork for an armed neo-Nazi march designed to harass the Montana Jewish community of Whitefish.

The march was moved to Monday, Jan. 16, which is Martin Luther King Day this year. The march had originally been set for the day before.

Andrew Anglin, who runs the Daily Stormer website, posted a photo Thursday of the filed application. The Whitefish City Clerk’s Office told the Forward that it had not received an application, and that what was on the website appeared to be incomplete.

Anglin wrote in a post published Thursday that nationalist groups from the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and Greece will attend the march. He also confirmed that “a representative of Hamas will be in attendance, and will give a speech about the international threat of the Jews.”

He said that participants will march through the center of Whitefish and end at Memorial Park, where several people will speak.

Spencer is the president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank. In November, he spoke at a white supremacist event in Washington, D.C., to celebrate President-elect Donald Trump’s election. He called out “Hail Trump!” and was greeted by Nazi salutes.

The Daily Stormer published a blog 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.

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.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald  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,” Lauder said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

There are about 100 known Jewish households in Whitefish and nearby Kalispell, part of the Flathead Valley.

Montana lawmakers and faith leaders have issued statements in support of the Whitefish community.

Whitefish has a population of about 6,000 full-time residents and is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Neo-Nazi website: Hamas member will speak at armed march in Montana on MLK Day


A neo-Nazi website said it has filed the paperwork for an armed neo-Nazi march designed to harass the Montana Jewish community of Whitefish.

The march was moved to Jan. 16, a Monday and the national holiday day set aside to observe Martin Luther King Day this year. The march had originally been set for the day before.

Andrew Anglin, who runs the Daily Stormer website, posted a photo of the filed application on Thursday. The Whitefish City Clerk’s Office told the Forward that it had not received an application, and that what was on the website appeared not to be complete.

Anglin wrote in a post published Thursday that nationalist groups from the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and Greece will attend the march. He also confirmed that “a representative of Hamas will be in attendance, and will give a speech about the international threat of the Jews.”

He said that participants will march through the center of Whitefish, and end at Memorial Park, where several people will speak.

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. In November, Spencer spoke at a white supremacist event in Washington, D.C., celebrating President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in which he called out “Hail Trump!” and was greeted by Nazi salutes.

The Daily Stormer published a blog 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.

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.”

“All I have asked for is an apology and a vow to stop harassing Richard Spencer’s mother in the future,” Anglin wrote Thursday, saying that his request has been refused by human rights activist Tanya Gersh and the Love Lives Here organization. Gersh is a local real estate agent.

“This is absolutely insane, and shows the mentality of Jews,” Anglin said of the lack of an apology.

“And they will rue the day, as they see two hundred skinhead Alt-Right Nazis marching with a guy from Hamas carrying machine guns through the center of their town!”

There are about 100 known Jewish households in Whitefish and nearby Kalispell, part of the Flathead Valley.

Montana lawmakers and faith leaders have issued statements in support of the Whitefish community.

Whitefish has a population of about 6,000 full-time residents and is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort.

What to do when anti-Semitic bullies come to town


Imagine you live in a rural community and a neo-Nazi website puts your name, picture, pictures of your children, phone numbers, address, email and social media information on its website, encouraging white supremacists to “TAKE ACTION” and “Hit Em Up?”

The “Daily Stormer” website, which mimics the Nazi paper Der Sturmer’s swastikas, caricatures of Jews, and pictures of Hitler, did just that a few weeks ago, targeting Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana.

How frightened would you be?

Imagine you then received calls, emails, texts and tweets, saying that justice would be served by hanging “filthy jews” from “the nearest lamp post.” Or being told to “Go choke on a shotgun and die . . . You would all be of greater worth to society as human fertilizer than as citizens.”

Criticized, Daily Stormer’s head Andrew Anglin doubled down. He said his group is “continuing our barrage against the criminal Jews of Whitefish [Montana]. . . . We are planning an armed protest in Whitefish . . . we can easily march through the center of town carrying high-powered rifles.”

Why the focus on Whitefish? The human rights groups, in which some local Jews are active, have raised concerns about white supremacist Richard Spencer, whose own white supremacist organization – the National Policy Institute – is based out of his mother’s home there. You may recall Spencer as the white supremacist who convened a conference after Donald Trump’s election, where chants of “Hail Trump” were heard, and Nazi salutes given.

After the threats were reported, and the local and statewide human rights groups — Love Lives Here and the Montana Human Rights Network – defended the targeted Jews, the Stormer expanded its attacks and threatened these groups too.

What is the responsibility of the rest of us, to stop this antisemitic bullying?

History is instructive.

In 1992 a white supremacist group in Billings, Montana threw a brick through the bedroom window of a Jewish boy, who had displayed a picture of a menorah. The local human rights community, joined by the police chief, called on everyone to show the haters that their intimidation backfired. The Billings newspaper printed a page with a menorah, encouraging residents to put it up on their windows. When I asked the police chief how he could persuade people to put their families at risk by doing so, he said the more people who displayed the

menorahs, the lower the risk to any individual family, and the more likely the hate group would back down, given the strong community reaction.

A few years later a Montana white supremacist group called the Freemen threatened public officials who rejected the group’s assertions that, as white men, they were “sovereign citizens,” exempt from laws (like paying taxes and having a driver’s license). Like the situation facing Jews in Whitefish today, children of public officials were threatened. Local Judge Martha Bethel, a target of death threats, sometimes sent her kids out of town. When they were home they heeded law enforcement’s advice about which rooms of their house were the safest to sleep in – to survive a barrage of bullets.

No one should have to live this way.

Now, neo-Nazis want to march through town, with “high-powered rifles.” Anglin says he will be “busing in skinheads from the Bay Area” for this event, possibly during the second week of January. While he says he wants no violence, according to the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, his assertion shouldn’t be believed. The groups with which Anglin appears closest have been involved in violent episodes (in some cases, mixing it up with anti- racist extremists who had tried to stop the racists from holding rallies). On June 27, 2016 Anglin wrote an article entitled “Battle of Sacramento: The First Major Battle of the Race War Ended in a Decisive Victory for Whites.” He wrote, “This war has only just begun. Many more battles lie ahead. Go to the gym, train in martial arts, train to use weapons. The future depends on each one you preparing for what’s coming.”

The likelihood, given the empowerment many white supremacist groups feel from Donald Trump’s election, is that racist and antisemitic thuggery will escalate. Whether that occurs depends not just on the people in Whitefish, but what the rest of us do.

Based on years of experience and successful strategies from other communities, the Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation is encouraging human rights supporters everywhere to make lemonade out of lemons. The “Project Lemonade” approach exacts a cost for hatred: if the white supremacists march, they’ll be raising money for things they detest.

Here’s how it works. People promise to donate money to this special fund, tied how many minutes the white supremacists march. The money raised would be used locally for increased security for Jews and Jewish institutions, new programs to promote human rights and defeat

hatred, educational events about the danger of white supremacy, and community and police training on how best to handle a hate incident. The Montana Human Rights Network is well- established organization that is ready to take these pledges and distribute any donations, to help the community and stop the white supremacists.

Our hope is that no money will have to be collected; that the announcement of the pledges – and the realization that if the white supremacists march they’ll be raising funds for purposes they abhor – will be enough to stop them. The more people who sign up to donate to this cause,

the less likely the good people of Whitefish will continue being threatened by antisemitic bullies, and the less likely Anglin’s group, or others like it, will harass people in other towns.

Justus Rosenberg – the president of the small Foundation I direct – is the last surviving member of the group that rescued artists and intellectuals from the Nazis in 1940-41. 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.

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. Antisemitic bullies can be stopped, but it is up to us all to stop them.


Kenneth S. Stern is the Executive Director of the Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation.

Montana inmate sues for kosher food


An inmate in Montana Women’s Prison is suing the state corrections office and prison officials for not providing her with kosher food.

Shelley Tischler claimed in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Billings, Mont., that she is Jewish and eats kosher food. She claims that prison officials are denying her kosher food, and that fellow inmates and prison staff are directing slurs about her Jewish faith at her, according to The Billings Gazette.

Tischler is accusing the state corrections office, as well as a prison warden and deputy wardens, of having “knowingly, willfully and maliciously withheld basic religious accommodations.”

Tischler acknowledged in the complaint that at times she has been able to purchase her own kosher food for Jewish holidays. Prison officials also have offered to prepare kosher-style meals, which Tischler has said is not acceptable.

Tischler was sentenced in 2005 to 20 years in prison for negligent homicide. She has served some of her sentence at the Montana State Hospital.

She is asking for an injunction requiring that she and other Jewish inmates be provided with kosher food, at least on holy days and more frequently, if requested. She is also seeking a jury trial and punitive damages.

Theater: A little ‘Fiddler’ on the Montana prairie


“Fiddler On the Roof” opened on Broadway more than 40 years ago this month. The show, with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein, was instantly popular, won numerous Tony Awards and has been successfully revived numerous times, but for me and members of my high school production, it was our introduction to a world beyond our small Western town.

I grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana. When I started high school, we moved to “town,” specifically, Billings, an overgrown cow town on the banks of the Yellowstone River that boasted two small colleges, an oil refinery, stockyards that competed with the refinery for foul smells, and a handful of Jewish families. Some were well-known to me — Harold “Shorty” Alterowitz, who coached college sports, was originally from Brooklyn and was said to have fought in Israel’s War of Independence. He once told my mother that he moved to Montana to get away from all the other Jews. The Rosenbergs were a couple who looked curiously alike — deep olive skin, large expressive eyes and slicked-down wavy hair. They ran a barbecue place called the Pig Pen, down by the stockyards. After they moved away, someone heard that they were really cousins from Chicago, and “Negroes” to boot, who’d run away to get married and start over. That they picked “Rosenberg” as their new identity was a testament to their naiveté; that no one remarked on it was a testament to the lingering code of the Old West: Don’t ask too many questions. And then there was Dr. Al Small and his two sons, Andy and Paul. As a 17-year-old girl, I was too wrapped up in my own self-involvement to notice any one else.

Back in the 1970s, calling yourself a “Christian” wasn’t the doctrinaire statement of personal salvation and faith that it is today. Billings had a number of well-attended churches, and unless you were a Mormon, people didn’t pay much attention to which one you went to or didn’t go to. Roman Catholics were usually Irish or Italian with lots of kids who ate fish sticks on Fridays; Episcopalians belonged to the Book of the Month Club and the Yellowstone Country Club; the rest of the Protestants kept any spiritual enthusiasms to themselves. My own parents never thought twice about anyone’s religion, probably as they had none of their own. I sporadically went to Sunday school at First Presbyterian to flip my hair in the direction of the minister’s cute son.

On the other hand, people regularly talked about “Jewing someone down” when they bought cattle, cars or just about anything else. My father didn’t use that term — he always cautiously said “Negro,” too. He’d been stationed in the Aleutians during the Korean War, and he never forgot Ben Fine, the New York doctor who got him through a near-fatal case of pleurisy. For the rest of the town, Jews were known to be very good at making money, to have killed Jesus and to live in New York and Hollywood, where they ran the newspapers and made all the movies.

My high school was a large yellow-brick edifice built under Title IX, and boasted a state championship basketball team, a respectable number of National Merit Scholars and a tyrant of a music director, Russell Creaser. Mr. Creaser not only managed to terrify his students into performing in a variety of musical ensembles including an a capella choir, he also bullied the administration into funding a lavish musical production every year. When I was a senior, after the triumphs of “Most Happy Fella” and “The Pajama Game,” he chose “Fiddler on the Roof.”

The story of a small rural town grappling with rebellious young folk, changing times and an external enemy was easily grasped by the cast, crew and faculty. Even Billings had been touched by the upheavals of the Vietnam War, youth culture and — as the local paper regularly editorialized — the Russians had long had us squarely in their bomb sights.

Mr. Creaser liked musicals with large casts, and with about 1,000 kids in school “Fiddler” was a good pick. We had singers, we had dancers, we had cows, we had carpenters — what we didn’t have was anyone who knew about Judaism. No one in the senior class was Jewish. One kid in the whole school was Jewish, and he couldn’t sing.

Enter Dr. Small. Billings had a synagogue — Congregation Beth Aaron — but ecumenical community outreach wasn’t a priority. Rabbi Horowitz wasn’t a particularly glad-handing kind of guy, and the ingrained anti-Semitism of the preceding decades had taught most synagogue regulars to avoid drawing attention to themselves.

Dr. Small had moved to Billings in the early 1950s and taught literature at the same college my mom taught political science. He was a barrel-chested man with curly dark hair, and as an “eligible widower” was considered very attractive by most women. He never lacked for baked goods. Somehow, he was recruited to teach the cast how to be Jewish. I spoke to him recently, and he recalled the first meeting: “Kosher — the kids knew pickles were kosher, and that was about it.”

He added “You all were ignorant, but an ignorance born of innocence. I could work with that.”

His older son, Andy, had already graduated but told me that his father was glad of the chance to teach the cowboys and cheerleaders about the joys of Yiddish. Raised in New York, Dr. Small was the red-diaper baby of union activists who shunned most traditions and practices. He’d been wandering in the wilderness of the Far West since leaving the Army, so enlightening the sons and daughters of the goyim about Shabbos and schnorrers was a mitzvah. He had the cast practice out loud, savoring the Yiddishisms in the script. And he started every class with jokes of the “priest and a rabbi go into a bar” variety.

Through the weeks of rehearsal, Dr. Small managed to work easily alongside the cantankerous Mr. Creaser — gently pointing out small points of stagecraft or suggesting inspired bits of schtick. Under his scholarly suit jacket beat the heart of a vaudevillian. He patiently worked with our Tevye and Yente, teaching the language of sighs and shrugs. He danced all the parts for the wedding scene, explaining why the men and women danced apart. He explained why Chava’s marriage to a Christian was so devastating for Tevye. He encouraged us all to ask him anything about Judaism — no question was too elementary — even the ones that today would be considered insensitive or even boorish.

Kids Page


Josh Fields, 8, of Thousand Oaks, won the “My Amazing Summer” essay contest.

He wins a gift certificate to the store of his choice.

I went to Yellowstone National Park two days after school ended. It took two days to drive all the way to Yellowstone. We drove through beautiful scenery in five states that I had never been to before, including Idaho and Montana.

In Yellowstone, I saw bison, moose, elk, a bear, trumpeter swans and baby bald eagles. I saw geysers, mud pots and hot springs. I became a junior ranger, which made me very proud. I saw the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Lower Falls, Mystic Falls, the Prismatic Springs and Excelsior Geyser. I also went to Virginia City, which is an old gold mining town. I had a tour of the town and I went gold mining.

After I got home I went to an acting camp called Kids Acting Out West, and we did “Cinderella.” I was a bodyguard. I made lots of friends at the camp. This is the process of what I went through: First, I had auditions. After that I got assigned my part. I practiced and played with my part. We had two successful shows. All in all, I had a great summer!