Ironic Adopt-a Nazi fundraiser surpasses $150K goal

(JTA) — The Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really) fundraiser, a response to a far-right “free speech” rally that had been scheduled for San Francisco, reached its $150,000 goal and has upped it.

The campaign, by San Francisco attorney Cody Harris and the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, asks visitors to donate a small amount of money to the Southern Poverty Law Center by “sponsoring” each person who had been expected to attend the rally. Some 300 rally-goers had been expected.

The rally that had been scheduled for Saturday night was cancelled late Friday by its organizer: a right wing group known as Patriot Prayer led by Joey Gibson of Portland, Oregon.

“It doesn’t seem safe. A lot of people’s lives are going to be in danger,” Gibson said in a post on Facebook. He also said that “tons of extremists” had planned to show up at the rally and that the event had the potential to become “a riot.”

Gibson had announced a news conference Saturday in downtown San Francisco, but this was also cancelled as the group did not have a permit for the venue, a park, and police closed it.

Launched on Aug. 17 with an initial goal of $10,000, the campaign passed that target in 24 hours. The goal was changed to $100,000 and then to $125,000.

The link has been shared 17,000 times on Facebook.

As of Sunday morning, the GoFundMe campaign to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center had raised more than $155,000 and raised its goal to $165,000 by Monday.

When Harris heard about the San Francisco rally, he was shocked that a national issue stirred by the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, was coming to his doorstep. He created the GoFundMe page “Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)” to raise money for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a national organization fighting hate and extremism and tracking neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

Harris came up with the idea after hearing about a town in Germany that countered a neo-Nazi parade in 2014 with a fundraiser to benefit anti-extremist groups. He asked the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, where he is a board member, to take on the effort.

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