Amongst the hundreds of Friday afternoon protestors opposing the extension of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order were two with anti-Semitic ones: one sign read, “Heil, Pritzker” with a large swastika next to it, and another read, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” the German phrase for “Work Makes You Free,” which appeared over the entrance to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.
These signs were all the more ominous seeing as Pritzker is Jewish.
Considering the far-right’s interest in white supremacy and nationalism — and President Donald Trump’s tacit approval of both — it’s not really surprising to see far-right protestors embracing Nazi slogans and symbols. Nor is it surprising to hear that yesterday’s protestors outside of the state’s capitol building in Springfield largely disregarded facial masks and social distancing guidelines meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.
That’s all the more troubling when you realize that Illinois is the fourth U.S. state with the highest number of coronavirus cases (56,055) and deaths (2,457). The state had its highest number of new cases (3,137) on Friday, the same day the protest occurred.
Jackie Fletcher, the woman holding the swastika sign, told her local NBC news affiliate that she had “Re-Open Illinois” written on the other side of her sign because “some people get touchy about swastikas.”
“I’m here to protest the loss of our rights,” she continued. “We’re protesting for our First Amendment and other things. Our speech isn’t really being prohibited, but our freedom is. We’re unable to leave the house and have to wear a mask.”
Yes, you know those Nazis and their love of facial masks and making people stay at home for public health reasons: apples to apples.
The Nazi signs are just the latest escalation in right-wing anti-quarantine protests. On Thursday, armed Michigan right-wing extremists carrying firearms took over the Michigan Statehouse in an armed occupation that largely lacked face masks and social distancing as well.
There are many reasons to want to re-open state businesses despite the pandemic. Democratic and Republican governors alike have begun gradual re-openings of their states to stop the epidemic’s ongoing economic devastation. But the protestors are overwhelmingly white, and the Nazi symbols and firearms carry violent overtones meant to warn any “outsiders” who oppose their desire to “go back to normal” as quickly as possible, even if it kills us.
— Election dot Org (@DotElection) May 2, 2020
This is disgusting.
“Arbeit macht frei” (Work will set you free) is the Nazi slogan that appeared over Auschwitz & other concentration camps.
JB Pritzker is Illinois’ Jewish Governor.
It’s not about freedom.
It’s about bigotry. Defying public health. Antisemitism. Terror. https://t.co/6tM3KXTIl2
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) May 2, 2020
This sign is targeting Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is Jewish. They're not even hiding it. pic.twitter.com/ML1SEquOgu
— Yes, You're Racist (@YesYoureRacist) May 2, 2020
This was one of the signs at the “Re-open Illinois” event today. She assured those that she was not a Nazi, and stated, “I have Jewish friends.” Thank you for representing yourself and your “movement” for what it is. pic.twitter.com/CcIX2SVu6s
— Dennis Kosuth, RN (@Dennis_Kosuth) May 1, 2020
Even if this person was trying to make the point that she thought Pritzker was being a Nazi(?), it doesn’t make sense since she’s the one who wants people to be able to work (to death)
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) May 1, 2020
Seen at the “re-open” protest in Illinois today.
Governor Pritzker is Jewish. pic.twitter.com/I9TCrMApXi
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) May 1, 2020
A few Things about these Illinois Nazi signs, which attack Governor Pritzker for trying to save lives:
#1 This moron is comparing A Jewish American to Hitler
#2 Putting a Swatzika on any sign is incredibly offensive to Jews
#3 Notice how these idiots are always near Trump flags pic.twitter.com/ltVtEkCQsL
— Ms. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) May 2, 2020
J.B. Pritzker may not be the best governor but this is fucking DISGUSTING. Comparing a Jewish man to Hitler is about ten thousand steps past too far. Fuck this woman. Fuck anyone who supports this. Springfield, I’m disappointed to be from here. pic.twitter.com/Kum2Qh9CUx
— samantha (@samantha_macke_) May 2, 2020
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QAnon Congresswoman Talks with White Supremacist to Praise Her & Jan. 6 Coup Attempt
Georgia Republican House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a woman who thinks a “Jewish space laser” stared this summer’s wildfires on the West Coast and that all school shootings are fake, recently sat for an interview with Katie Hopkins, a far-right, Islamophobic white supremacist who has compared migrants to “cockroaches” and “feral humans” (the former of which was used by Nazis and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide) and also supported the “Defend Europe” campaign which has proclaimed the continent as a white one.
In the interview, which reportedly took place on January 7, the day after Trump’s supporters held an attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of the November 2020 national elections, had Hopkins telling Greene, “On behalf of so many of us who look to this place for hope and look to Trump for hope, you are that. And what you did was so brave and made a difference to so many people and so I personally wanted to say thank you for being that person.”
In response, Greene says, “Thank you, thank you Katie. Thank you so much. That’s so nice,” Greene says in response. “Yeah, it was a hard thing we did yesterday, but I wouldn’t do anything else. I wouldn’t do anything else. I would love to trade you for some of our right people here who have no appreciation for our country. And I’m grateful, truly grateful.”
While it’s unclear what exactly Greene is referring to when she said “it was a hard thing we did yesterday,” it could either mean voting against certifying President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 elections or it could mean the attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol.
This video has been shared a lot but it needs to be noted she is being interviewed by Katie Hopkins, a notorious bigot and hatemonger who is loved by white supremacists. Trump praised and supported both women many times. This is the Republican Party. This is it. https://t.co/2YoyHGCjFX
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) January 30, 2021
Not sure why folks like @WajahatAli and many others have to keep saying this for everyone to understand. These are not the exceptions, they are the rule for the Republicans. When you take out Never Trumpers you are left with a party captive to white nationalists and bigots. https://t.co/kZAOKAhYBz
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) January 30, 2021
Greene is currently facing calls to resign because of her embrace of far-right conspiracy theories, including the repeatedly debunked theory that an unprecedented national conspiracy of widespread voter fraud somehow “stole” the election from former President Donald Trump.
She also believes that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were an inside job, has advocated for the murder of former President Barack Obama and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and thinks that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once sliced off a child’s face and wore it before drinking the child’s blood.
Republicans recently placed Greene on the House Committee on Education and Labor. They have remained silent about Greene’s past social media behavior and her recent interview with a white supremacist.
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Says “Everyone” Is to Blame for Capitol Riots
While Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has previously said that he thinks former President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for the January 6 coup attempt in which his supporters ransacked the Capitol to overturn the election that he and Republicans baselessly claimed was stolen, McCarthy added in a Thursday interview, “I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility [for the coup attempt.]”
McCarthy then said that anti-Trump Democrats, rude social media users, unprepared law enforcement authorities were all responsible too, even though Trump literally told his followers on the morning of January 6 to march to the Capitol and fight to stop legislators from approving the election victory of now-President Joe Biden.
“I think this is what we have to get to the bottom of, and when you start talking about who has responsibilities,” McCarthy said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more questions, a lot more answers we have to have in the coming future.”
It’s especially telling that his Senate counterpart, now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has directly blamed Trump for the riots.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said Wednesday. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
After months of making baseless claims that a national conspiracy of widespread voter fraud stole the election from him, a claim laughed out of courts 60 times over for lack of evidence by judges that Trump himself appointed, Trump held a “Stop the Steal” rally on the morning of January 6 in which he said, that he won the election “by a landslide” and encouraged his followers to “stop the steal” by going to the Capitol. If people don’t “fight like hell,” Trump said, “you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
GOP Rep Andy Harris Tried to Bring a Concealed Gun Into the Capitol House Chamber
Republican Representative Andy Harris of Maryland was recently prevented from entering the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol after a metal detector indicated that he had a concealed gun on him while trying to enter, something that is forbidden by security rules.
A spokesperson for Harris said, “As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland handgun permit and the congressman always complies with the house metal detectors and wanding. The congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.”
However, it’s remarkable that Harris tried it at all, as Democratic legislators say that they have felt increasingly unsafe around their Republican colleagues in the day following the Republican-led January 6 coup attempt in which insurrectionists stormed the Capitol in hopes of killing those who refused to give former President Donald Trump an undeserved second term.
About 139 House Republicans and 8 Senate Republicans voted on January 6 against certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory. While some have admitted off-the-record that they only voted that way in fear of being targeted for violence by Trump’s supporters, one Republican in particular, Congresswoman and QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, has previously suggested that she herself would personally gun down the progressive female House members of color known as “the Squad.”
The House had metal detectors installed following the January 6 coup attempt, but Republicans began walking past them and ignoring guards stationed at them. In response, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said any politicians who do such things will be fined $5,000 or more.
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