Neo-Nazis carrying flags with swastikas and the SS symbol gathered outside the Turning Point USA summit at the Tampa Convention Center over the weekend in what the Florida Holocaust Museum calls “an indefensible act of hatred.”
Museum chair, Mike Ingel, released a statement saying, “This isn’t about politics or religion. It’s about humanity.”
Calling for the strong condemnation of anti-Semitism, Ingel said “This should matter to everyone.”
Tampa was founded on diversity and inclusion and I’ll be dammed if Nazis and Proud Boys waltz through our City and spew such repulsive speech. Words have power and we will NOT accept this in our backyard. All of us must stand up and make clear that we reject this bigoted display. https://t.co/2Zqdawslzl
— Janet Cruz (@SenJanetCruz) July 23, 2022
“Openly and proudly displaying genocidal symbols is a direct threat to the Jewish community,” Ingel added.
On Saturday, day two of the Turning Point USA summit, around 100 progressive activists marched from nearby Lykes Gaslight Square Park to the Convention Center to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade, shouting “racist, sexist, anti-gay, Ron DeSantis go away, according to Creative Loafing.
Encountering right-wing counter-protesters, Creative Loafing Photographer Dave Decker captured photos of flags reading “DeSantis Country,” waving alongside swastika flags.
The Goyim Defense League – identified by the Anti-Defamation League as an extremist terrorist organization – distributed flyers outside the summit that read “every single aspect of abortion is Jewish.”
The ADL reported that the Goyim Defense League was responsible for at least 74 antisemitic propaganda events in 2021, and defines the group’s ideology thusly:
“GDL maintains that the Holocaust is a Jewish lie, and accounts of the Holocaust are merely propaganda or lies generated by Jews for their own benefit. Similarly, the GDL says that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York”
Turning Point spokesperson Andrew Kolvet denied knowing who the neo-fascist groups were, or why they were there. Kolvet told Creative Loafing that “They have nothing to do with TPUSA, our event, or our students.” He added, “Turning Point 100% condemns these ideologies in the strongest of terms.”
Yet, speakers at the Turning Point event — including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — have spouted anti-Semitic rhetoric and pushed anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.
Democratic candidate for Florida governor, Rep. Charlie Crist, condemned the neo-Nazi demonstration as “reprehensible.” The Florida Holocaust Museum is in his district.
Crist said in a statement:
“The reprehensible anti-Semitic hate and neo-Nazi demonstrations on display this weekend have no place anywhere in our state. Over the last year, Florida has seen a rise in anti-Semitic hate — anti-Semitic flyers left at hundreds of Florida homes, neo-nazi demonstrations in Orlando, and now neo-nazi flags waving outside a prominent Republican convention.”
Current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the opening night speaker at the TPUSA summit, has been noticeably – but not surprisingly – quiet.
You can watch the video below.
Original reporting Divya Kumar and Emily L. Mahoney at The Tampa Bay Times
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick