While Jews in Israel and around the world are preparing to celebrate the upcoming 69th year of the rebirth of the State of Israel, folks in the southern American town of Pikesville, Kentucky were faced with a new intercultural challenge Saturday.
More than 150 neo-Nazis and white supremacists — many bearing arms — piled into the small town to face down self-described “anti- fascist” demonstrators, a sprinkling of armed militia and a few others.
There was no violence, according to media accounts.
But the residents of the small town of Pikesville — population approximately seven thousand strong — seemed a little confused. Local military veteran Nathan Sesco told The Guardian that he was angry the protest might make his town look like a “hate town.”
The protest only lasted two hours and was noisy but described as “peaceful” under a hot sun, with both groups separated by police barriers and a large number of polite but firm state police officers.
According to the very British newspaper, the neo-Nazis were “more than an hour late to their own rally.”
Moreover, the anti-fascists — who have been equally extremist during protests on the western coast, “arrived early, leaving them to shout at a mostly empty and fenced off plaza, in which there were only a handful of neo-Confederates from the League of the South….”
Most of the demonstrators were apparently from out of town, and because Kentucky permits open carry of firearms, many protesters showed up armed.
Apparently Pikesville was chosen at least in part because Pike Count is more than 98 percent white, and one of the neo-Nazis added they were there to “support working class white families in Appalachia.”
Some milita members said they were disgusted by what was going on and intended to guard the town while hoping to prevent property damage as well.
The entire “showdown” reportedly ended like a music festival, with some horn honking, group portraits and things being hung out of car windows as people happily drove off into the sunset feeling as if they had won first prize. According to The Guardian, the police also came in for some well-deserved appreciation, with a round of applause and someone yelling, “Blue lives matter!” Reporters were kicked out at 8 pm as the music started to kick in for the weekend.
Sometimes vicious protesters go real bad. Sometimes it’s possible to twist them a little sideways. It is likely that it depends on who’s doing the twisting — and, of course, the number of Jews in town, probably.