“White Right: Meeting the Enemy” includes interviews with a Detroit-based neo-Nazi group.

Featured photo by Corrie Colf

NEXTGen Detroit, the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC) and Repair the World Detroit brought the young adult Jewish community together for a screening and facilitated discussion of “White Right: Meeting the Enemy” on Thursday, Feb. 20.

Around 20 people came out to Playground Detroit for the screening of the Emmy-winning documentary first released in 2017. The filmmaker, Deeyah Khan, took viewers on a journey inside the minds of U.S. Neo-Nazis and white nationalists. While filming her interviews, she also accompanied the National Socialist Movement (NSM), one of the country’s largest neo-Nazi groups, at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA.

One of the men Khan interviewed was Jeff Schoep, the former leader of the NSM, who is based in Detroit. Khan traveled to the city and followed Schoep through a tour of some of the abandoned and worn-down parts of the city. Schoep explained to Khan that Detroit provided a great opportunity for the hate group’s recruiting because of the economic issues plaguing the city.

“White Right: Meeting the Enemy” Fuuse Films via Wikimedia Commons

Khan interviewed other Neo-Nazis, including Richard Spencer, but also spoke with men who were once very active in these organizations but had since left and had changed their way of thinking.

After the documentary ended, two members from Repair the World Detroit broke down the definitions of white supremacy, white nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Attendees then broke up into three small groups of about 6 people to be led in discussions by members of NEXTGen Detroit, JCRC/AJC and Repair the World Detroit. Discussions included topics of initial reactions to the movie, how Khan handled her interviews with these men and what the Jewish community can do to help combat this hate.

Abby Rubin, co-chair of the NEXTGen Social Action Committee, was impressed with the turnout of the event and was happy to see that their peers were interested in coming out and diving into such a difficult topic.

“We are very ready to figure out what our next steps can be to begin to fight white nationalism as young adults in the Jewish community,” Rubin told the Jewish News. “I think we have a lot of ideas and hope to continue to bring outreach and education to our community as a whole.”

Correction: Jeff Schoep is the former leader of the National Socialist Movement (NSM). At the time of the filming of White Right: Meeting the Enemy, Schoep was indeed the leader of the NSM, however, since March of 2019 he has been actively speaking out against racism, white supremacy and white nationalism.