Neo-Nazis Rally in Orlando

NSM members demonstrating in Orlando, Florida, January 29, 2022

NSM members demonstrating in Orlando, Florida, January 29, 2022

Content Warning: antisemitism and hate crimes. The following content may be triggering to some audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

An event occurring the past month has sparked controversy among the Florida community. A rally organized by neo-Nazis in Orlando, which correlated with Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, spread over many days.
On Saturday, Jan. 29, a group of neo-Nazis was recorded with swastika flags near an Orlando shopping mall. They chanted “Heil Hilter” and “White Power” as well as other antisemitic insults to the passerby (Levin). Neo-Nazi flags were waved and they held signs that read, “Jews aren’t White,” “It’s okay to be ANTI-SEMITIC,” and “14/88 WHITE UNITY DEFEND OUR HOMELAND” (ADL). “14/88” is a reference to the 14-word slogan — “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” “88” stands for “Heil Hitler” (H being the 8th letter of the alphabet). The numbers endorse white supremacy and its beliefs. In a statement, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said it received a call at about 12:15 p.m. on Saturday that demonstrators gathered near Alafaya Trail and Waterford Lakes Parkway were yelling profanities and slurs at passing cars (Weiner et. al.). When a driver, David Newstat, got out of his car to confront them, members of the group–Burt Colucci, Joshas Terrell, and Jason Brown–assaulted him (Mahadevan). All of this was videotaped and shared over the internet. “I’m literally Jewish and I got attacked, assaulted, pepper-sprayed – you name it – spit on, called disgusting slurs, just because of my religion,” David Newstat told Fox35 Orlando.

This group is known to be representing the National Socialist Movement, an American Nazi group, as the largest flag they carried advertised the National Socialist Movement, including their website and phone number. The National Socialist Movement is one of the oldest white supremacist groups in the U.S. According to their 25-point manifesto, they advocate for various policies including transforming the U.S. into a “white” ethnostate in which only those with European ancestry can be citizens and reforming the economic system and U.S. society to excise the “Jewish-materialistic spirit” (Starr). Colucci, who is the leader of the National Socialist Movement, and Terrell were arrested with charges of battery with hate crime enhancement and Brown was charged with grand theft (Mahadevan). reported that the shopping center rally was livestreamed on the American Nazi Party’s website. The demonstrators were recorded saying, “The Jew is the devil,” “Jews rape children and drink their blood,” and “Jews brought slaves here.”

On Sunday, Jan. 30, another demonstration occurred on the I-4 overpass, a highway between Orlando and Walt Disney World. A banner was hung over the rail on the overpass saying “Vax the Jews” and another one was filled with swastikas. There was a third banner in which the slogan “Let’s Go Brandon” was misspelled as “Let’s Go Branon,” also surrounded by swastikas.

Both demonstrations included around 20 people, including individuals from Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and Washington (ADL), and were shut down by authorities (Levin). Footage of both rallies were viral on Twitter by Monday.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refused to condemn the neo-Nazi protests. DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted, “Do we even know they’re Nazis?” On Monday, DeSantis did condemn the demonstrators, however, he largely deflected blame to Democrats (Yang). During the mid-afternoon press conference in Wellington, DeSantis blamed Democrats over what he said was an attempt to “smear” his record with Florida’s Jewish community and said the demonstrators, whom he called “malcontents” and other obscenities, would be held accountable for blocking Orlando roads (Ocasio). In Pushaw’s now-deleted tweet, she suggested that the 20 demonstrators who were wearing Nazi symbols and shouting antisemitic slurs could be political opponents of DeSantis trying to frame the governor in a bad light (Dixon).

These events have marred Holocaust Remembrance Day for the Jewish community across the United States. The rallies by Neo-Nazis in Florida have disrupted the Florida community and Ron DeSantis refusal to fully condemn them has been concerning to the entire Jewish community.

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were Democratic operatives. Flipboard.
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Mahadevan, T. C. (2022, June 2). 3 Florida Men Claiming to Be Neo-Nazis Arrested and
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