A Republican congressional candidate was caught on video complimenting an anti-Semitic sign while attending a rally in California last year.
Video obtained by Law&Crime shows the GOP’s standard-bearer for California’s 43rd congressional district, Omar Navarro, marching alongside various anti-Muslim protesters in San Bernardino on June 10, 2017.
In the video, Navarro is approached by a masked man holding a sign reading, “DA GOYIM KNOW.” As Navarro and the masked man pass one another, Navarro smiles, gestures, and says, “Nice sign.” After complimenting the anti-Semitic message, Navarro holds his smile and then chuckles.
The phrase on the sign–seemingly endorsed by Navarro–is a well-known anti-Semitic trope that researchers have traced to alt-right meme culture. Similar signs have appeared at rallies for President Donald Trump in the past. The Forward notes:
The slogan comes from an “alt-right” online meme. “Goyim” is a pejorative term for non-Jews. The second phrase of the meme is often “Shut It Down,” a reference to how internet users in the “alt-right” imagine controlling, conspiratorial Jews hope to silence critics.
The masked man wielding the anti-Semitic sign also appears to be wearing the insignia of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), a small, neo-Nazi fight club whose membership travels across the country in search of left-wing protesters in order to engage in overt acts of political violence.
Multiple members of the group have been arrested by law enforcement in recent days and a previously fugitive member of the organization surrendered to authorities over the weekend.
Public interest news outlet ProPublica notes that several members of RAM traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia for the deadly “Unite the Right” rallies which ultimately claimed the life of socialist Heather Heyer. Some of the RAM members who attended those original rallies are currently facing federal felony charges over their alleged violence against anti-racists and other socialists there.
Right-Wing Watch’s Jared Holt provided some insight into the ideology promoted by RAM.
“They are hugely anti-Semitic,” he told Law&Crime.”RAM is a white supremacist group primarily based in Southern California that places a strong emphasis on physical fitness to prepare for what they believe to be an inevitable race war.”
Law&Crime also repeatedly reached out to Navarro’s office–by both phone and email–for comment on the video in which he expresses a favorable opinion of the anti-Semitic sign. No response was forthcoming at the time of publication.
The Navarro footage was not widely shared until Monday afternoon–though Navarro’s presence at the “March Against Sharia” was live-streamed by the candidate himself and was once favorably reported on by conservative movement media. To date, however, Navarro’s apparent endorsement of the anti-Semitic message on the sign in question has not been covered by local or national media.
Renewed interest in Navarro’s apparent connections with the far-right appears to be keyed toward current events.
On Saturday, 11 Jewish worshipers–mostly elders and pillars of their community–were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The suspect in custody is apparent white nationalist and white supremacist Robert Bowers. Saturday’s attack has been called the largest anti-Semitic pogrom in American history.
On Sunday, Navarro shared a picture of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) embracing Louis Farrakhan, saying Waters “associates with known/virulent Jew haters. She calls for violence. Maxine divides us just like Farrakhan.”
“I want to bring us together and help us all earn the American Dream,” he continued. “END THE HATE.”
A billboard message “Paid for by Omar Navarro for Congress” also garnered some recent attention on social media.
“Help me KICK Self-Serving Maxine Waters OUT OF OFFICE!” it said.
[image via screengrab; video used with permission via Project Exile]
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