Outrage over neo-Nazi march at Wisconsin State Capitol

Diversity Funding (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Diversity Funding (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A neo-Nazi march outside of the Wisconsin State Capitol on Saturday has sparked widespread outrage across the state and the country amid an alarming rise in antisemitism.

The Madison Police Department said that the group consisted of around 20 people carrying Nazi flags. Authorities added that the demonstrators did not seem to have any weapons.

Social media videos of the protest captured marchers — all men — carrying flags emblazoned with swastikas, doing the Nazi salute, and chanting, “there will be blood.” Every demonstrator wore red shirts that said “Blood Tribe” on the back.

Wisconsin Gov Tony Evers wrote a statement on Saturday condemning the demonstration: “To see neo-Nazis marching in our streets and neighborhoods and in the shadow of our State Capitol building spreading their disturbing, hateful messages is truly revolting.”

He continued, “Let us be clear: neo-Nazis, antisemitism, and white supremacy have no home in Wisconsin. We will not accept or normalize this rhetoric and hate.” He called those ideologies “repulsive and disgusting,” and denounced “their presence in our state in the strongest terms possible.”

Wisconsin Democratic Sen Tammy Baldwin wrote, “This has no place in Wisconsin.” She added, “At a time when we are seeing disturbing spikes in antisemitism, it is more important than ever to denounce this hate in no uncertain terms.”

“Hate has no home here,” Democratic Rep Mark Pocan, who represents Madison, said, “These despicable extremists do not speak for the people of Madison, Wisconsin, or the United States. I strongly condemn this blatant showcase of antisemitism. Our community stands resolute against such bigotry.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described the “Blood Tribe” as an all-male group — they don’t allow female members — of “hardcore” white supremacists.

“The presence of neo-Nazis outside a synagogue and in front of Wisconsin’s state capitol today is deplorable,” the ADL Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg said in a statement. He called on city, state, and university leaders to “act aggressively to develop comprehensive strategies to combat antisemitism and extremism in Wisconsin and on university campuses across the state.”

The demonstration comes after a marked rise in antisemitism exhibited across the country since the 7 October attacks in the Middle East. ​​The ADL recorded an increase in antisemitic incidents compared to last year. From 7 October through 23 October of this year, the ADL documented 312 antisemitic incidents; in the same time period last year, the ADL documented 64 antisemitic incidents.