Human Rights Network, Faith Leaders Urge Support for Jewish Community
Anti-Semitic Fliers Dropped in Helena
The Montana Human Rights Network wants to let Helenans know that the Jewish community has been targeted by an anti-Semitic literature drop earlier this week in neighborhoods near the Montana Capitol.
“Traditionally targeted communities don’t know where folks stand if they don’t speak up,” said Network Co-Director Rachel Carroll Rivas. “When this kind of literature is dropped in communities, the purpose is to spread anti-Semitism and target the local Jewish community. In response, we need to support our Jewish friends and neighbors and condemn these efforts to divide our communities.”
The Network noted that the literature distributed in Helena earlier this week is similar to anti-Semitic missives dropped earlier this year in Missoula. In both cases, the literature appears to be printed from a home computer on letter-sized paper with large margins around the content. The Missoula literature also frequently invoked Israel in an attempt to mask the anti-Semitic purpose of the pieces.
“White nationalists and anti-Semites understand that using blatant language and symbols to spread their hatred immediately turns the vast majority of people off,” says Rivas. “That’s why they try to tap into ongoing controversies, such as the debate over American foreign policy. The people dropping this kind of literature don’t want a meaningful discussion. Their message isn’t about policy. It’s about intimidation, community division, and extermination.”
Rabbi Laurie Franklin of Missoula’s Har Shalom echoed these thoughts in the following statement regarding the anti-Semitic literature drop in Helena:
“In the week before the Jewish New Year, it is unfortunate to see an attempt to intimidate our Jewish Montanans and sow bias with anonymous leaflets attacking Israel. Let’s not be fooled: this is not a dialogue about policy; these are tactics to divide us from each other and sow fear. All of us should reject this action as cowardly and destructive to community. Let’s affirm the right of all Montanans to live in safety and in an environment of mutual acceptance and appreciation.”
Rabbi Franklin also noted that Missoula recently held a celebratory festival called “Missoula Together” that resulted from community concern over the similar leafletting that happened in Missoula.
“We will continue to resist bias, intimidation, and anti-Semitism with positive affirmation,” stated Rabbi Franklin.
The Montana Human Rights Network has an online form where community members can report incidents of harassment and intimidation, including anti-Semitic and racist literature drops. The form can be accessed at: https://mhrn.org/reportingform.