The Anti-Defamation League is bracing for a New Jersey gathering by a virulent neo-Nazi organization.
The National Socialist Party is planning an April 15 membership meeting followed by a public rally on the steps of the State House in Trenton, according to Etzion Neuer, NJ director of the Anti-Defamation League.
A report on the planned conference and the organizers’ search for a venue first appeared in the Cliffview Pilot.
Neuer calls the idea “deeply troubling.”
“The National Socialist Movement is virulently anti-Semitic and racist, and it is most notable because of the members’ dress,’” he told NJJN Jan. 30. “The prospect of swastika-clad Nazis on the steps of our State Capitol is stomach-turning.”
Based on past performance, he expects them to display swastikas and to wear uniforms similar to those worn by adherents of the American Nazi Party in the 1960s era.
“That these racist bigots will be gathering in New Jersey is incredibly unfortunate,” Neuer said.
Citing ADL research, Neuer said he expects them to focus on illegal immigration “and play off people’s fears of the ‘browning of America.’ One can find thoughtful opponents to American immigration policy, but the National Socialist Movement has to be taken for what it is — a group of racist bigots — and we have to dismiss their ideology outright.”
In addition to keeping an eye on the NSM, Neuer said, the ADL “was also quite wary about some of the anti-racist groups” who monitor and counter-demonstrate when the NSM holds rallies.
“In the past, it was the racists who have been well-behaved, whereas the anti-racists and counter-demonstrators have been unruly,” he said.
He was unwilling to speculate on the amount of people who might participate in the Trenton event.
“We do not provide numbers on these groups, but at recent rallies NSM has held in Washington, DC, and Las Vegas they have had probably no more than 75 or 80 supporters at any one gathering,” Neuer told NJJN.
According to its website, the NSM was founded in 1974, but since 2006, “has grown considerably in membership and influence, with dozens of chapters across the country.”
Neuer said it was important to remember “that these groups, as reprehensible as they are, have the right to protest.”
“But I am a firm believer that education is a big part of any discussion of extremism. People need to understand what the issues are and that this group attempts to be provocative, and counter-protects are usually not effective in a case like this. If people wish to fight the National Socialist Movement they should support groups that encourage diversity and seek to educate people of different faiths and backgrounds.”
No one from the National Socialist Movement was available for comment.