Wednesday, June 25, 2008
National Socialist Movement Protest At St. Louis Jewish Film Festival Reported By JewishLight.com; 15 NSM Cadre Present
JewishLight.com reports that while 400 people attended the opening day of the St. Louis Jewish Film Festival at Plaza Frontenac on Sunday June 22nd, a group of protesters stood on the sidewalks in front of the shopping mall holding anti-Semitic signs and pickets and a flag bearing a swastika, according to police and eyewitnesses. "Around 15 members of the National Socialist Movement were holding signs with anti-Semitic slogans and chanting," said Frontenac Police Chief Thomas Berman.
Berman said Frontenac and Ladue police were on hand to watch the protesters and monitor the inside and outside of the mall during the Jewish Film Festival event. The protesters remained on public property, and no arrests were made.
Zelda Sparks, cultural arts director of the Jewish Community Center, the sponsor of the film festival, said the film festival's opening went on without incident, and said many people attending the event were unaware of the demonstrators, who stood along Lindbergh, just south of Clayton Road.
Lois Horwitz said she saw the demonstrators as she left the film festival, driving toward Lindbergh from Plaza Frontenac's parking garage. Horwitz said her first thought was that the demonstrators were from the MUNY, doing promotions for The Producers, a satire whose plot presents a parodic musical about Nazi Germany. When she realized the demonstration was not a parody, she said she was shocked.
"I went to Clayton High School. I never saw any anti-Semitism in my life," Horwitz said. "To actually be in Frontenac and Ladue and see what you see in news reels, is unnerving. It was really shocking". Oy, vey!
The National Socialist Movement published an after-action report of their participation, and it does not differ significantly from the description of events put forth by the Jewish media. Initially, an unknown person tried to derail the NSM's participation by calling in a false report that a "group of Nazis" were screaming racial slurs. Police quickly responded and ascertained that the report was false. After reminding the NSM cadre about the rules of engagement on how to keep their rally legal, the chief was on his way. NSM cadre noted the professionalism of the police response.
According to the NSM report, it was going kind of slow with about a 50/50 reaction between positive and negative responses. That's when the fun began! Slowly a group of counter-protesters started to form up across the street, consisting mainly of the usual communists, liberals, jews, and a few homosexuals. People started coming out of the stores and restaurants to get a peek at all the commotion: cameras, cell phones, video recorders, people slowing down almost causing a traffic jam until the cops started yelling at them to keep moving. Note that once again, it was the anti-racists who committed a breach of the peace and got into trouble.
The activists also report that one man approached them complimented them on their testicular fortitude to take it to the streets. Later on, at a local filling station, they were greeted by two more people in the parking lot and store who asked questions and proffered support. The conclusion: Maybe there is a sliver of hope in the mostly liberal race-mixing St. Louis area after all. NSM cadre came in from St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, MO.