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Religious leaders, Republicans denounce Idaho Freedom Foundation ties to alt-right figure

Dave Reilly watches a 2022 press conference for the North Idaho Republicans. Idaho leaders and lawmakers have denounced the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s decision to contract with Reilly, who has repeatedly been accused of antisemitic and white supremacist affiliations. | Duane Rasmussen
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — More than two dozen Idaho religious leaders and state lawmakers have signed on to an open letter decrying a prominent conservative organization’s affiliation with a man accused of white supremacist and antisemitic sentiments.
Idaho Leaders United, a group created by local business leaders and residents to speak out against extremism, last month denounced the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s hiring of Dave Reilly, a former talk radio host who has faced accusations of being an antisemite or white supremacist, which he’s repeatedly denied.
Idaho Leaders United on Thursday said 33 prominent Idahoans joined the organization to renew calls to oust Reilly. The group said Reilly, who has been active in conservative politics since moving to North Idaho several years ago, has “promoted violence and hate” in the state.
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According to a story published in 2021 by the Daily Beast, Reilly has made — and since deleted — antisemitic posts on Twitter, including comments like “Judaism is the religion of anti-Christ” and “all Jews are dangerous.” He participated in the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was identified in court filings as the person who suggested attendees carry torches there. He has called LGBTQ+ people “perverts” and urged them out of Idaho communities. Reilly was also Kootenai County Republicans’ pick to take the county Democrats’ party chair position as part of a plan to “take over” the opposing party.
“We cannot stand idly by while an organization of influence unites itself with an individual who has a track record of promoting hate speech and violence,” said Amos Rothstein, former executive director of the Idaho GOP and member of Idaho Leaders United. “It is crucial that Idahoans demand a higher standard and actively work towards fostering an environment of respect and understanding.”
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Religious leaders who signed onto the news release include Rabbi Dan Fink, of Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel; Pete Schroeder and Duane Anders, of Cathedral of the Rockies; Father John Worster, of St. Mary’s Catholic Church; and Reshma Kamal, of the Islamic Center of Boise. The statement also drew bipartisan support from state lawmakers and political candidates. Democrats from around the state signed on, and Republicans included Sen. Geoff Schroeder, of Mountain Home; Rep. Julie Yamamoto, of Caldwell; Sen. Treg Bernt, of Meridian; Sen. Mark Harris, of Soda Springs; and candidates Jeff Agenbroad, Laurie Lickley and Alex Caval.
Members of Idaho Leaders United in the release said they hope the criticism will prompt the Idaho Freedom Foundation to sever its ties with Reilly, particularly as the organization transitions to new leadership under former state legislator Ron Nate, who took over the helm from longtime leader Wayne Hoffman earlier this week. Nate told the Idaho Statesman in a text message Thursday afternoon that the Freedom Foundation “doesn’t provide responses to media requests.”
Reilly did not respond to a request for comment sent to his Freedom Foundation email address.
The post Religious leaders, Republicans denounce Idaho Freedom Foundation ties to alt-right figure appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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