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B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International denounces the overt bigotry and use of Nazi tropes by Richard Spencer, a man often described as the leader of the self-proscribed “alt-right” movement.
At a rally in Washington, D.C., Spencer delivered a speech in which he implied that Jews have infiltrated the media. Spencer punctuated his speech with the phrase “Hail victory!,” which is a literal translation of the Nazi chant “Sieg Heil!,” as some in the audience responded with Nazi salutes.
Spencer preaches a crude form of ethnic nationalism, based on his vision of “a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans.” He has bolstered his xenophobic message by calling for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” and labeling America “a white country.”
This comes at a time when the Southern Poverty Law Center has tallied more than 700 hate-based incidents in the past two weeks. Such hateful acts have targeted Jews, Muslims, African-Americans, immigrants, women and the LGBT community. At least 60 of the incidents have featured Nazi swastikas.
B’nai B’rith calls on leaders of both political parties to publicly and unequivocally condemn violence and ethnic hatred. We also reiterate our ongoing concern about the appropriation of Nazi imagery, as it leads to the mainstreaming of such symbols and messages, with often pernicious results. The normalization of hate speech is a direct threat to our democracy and the preeminent ideals of tolerance and diversity on which this nation was founded.