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DEI Director – And BLM Board Member — Out at Exeter School District

After months of concerns from district parents about his connection to anti-Israel protests, Andres Mejia, the head of SAU 16’s Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice (DEIJ) Department, is resigning.

The news comes just days after an NHJournal report highlighting the six-figure salaries some DEI directors are receiving from public schools in the state.

However, the district says there is nothing to read into Mejia leaving his post this month, well before the end of the school year.

Mejia did not respond to a request for comment. But SAU 16 Superintendent Esther Asbell said he simply needed to start his new job.

“Andres was asked by his new employer to be available as soon as possible,” Asbell said.

His departure was first reported by Granite Grok.

Mejia, reportedly earning a $153,380 salary, has been a controversial figure since first being hired. He serves in the leadership of the Black Lives Matter Seacoast chapter, which has been helping organize anti-Israel protests for months.

Like many similar protests that claim to be pro-Palestinian, the group started agitating against Israel immediately after Hamas terrorists murdered 1,300 Israelis on Oct. 7. Chants of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free,” viewed by the Anti-Defamation League as a call for genocide, feature heavily at those demonstrations.

When at least one parent complained to Asbell about Mejia’s role in BLM during the anti-Israel protests, asking how he could defend students against bigotry when BLM was engaging in antisemitic rhetoric, Asbell defended Mejia.

“Upon review of (district policy) I do not believe our DEI-J director is in violation of the policy by holding a position as Vice Chair of Seacoast BLM,” Asbell wrote earlier this year.

It’s not the first time Mejia’s BLM association raised concern in the school community. Challenged by parents during a public meeting in 2021, Mejia refused to distance himself from the group.

“I am Black, and I can never separate myself from Black Lives Matter,” Mejia said. “My life matters.”

Since then, BLM Seacoast has publicly opposed having police officers in public schools, giving qualified immunity protection for police, and it supports having government monitoring of the personal social media accounts of police officers.

Though he’s not a classroom teacher, Mejia is also one of the lead plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit over the so-called “divisive concepts” law. The pending lawsuit was filed soon after the legislature passed an anti-discrimination law that banned teachers from “teaching that any one group is inherently inferior, superior, racist or oppressive.” The words “divisive concepts” appear nowhere in the actual statute, though the term is often used by progressives opposed to the law.

Ironically, Mejia is one of a handful of other DEI professionals whose role is to dictate what teachers are allowed to teach.

Asbell said SAU 16 is ready to hire another DEIJ director.

‘Pro-Hoe’ Activists and BLM Leaders Bring DEI to NH Public Schools

Rachael Blansett was hired in 2022 by the Oyster River School District in Durham, N.H., for a salary somewhere between $95,000 and $105,000.

Andres Mejia at SAU 16 in Exeter is getting paid a salary of more than $100,000.

But neither of them are educating students or maintaining schools. Instead, they’re both paid to make sure the teachers and staff are advancing the race-based cause of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in their local classrooms.

For the 2021-2022 school year, the New Hampshire Department of Education reported the average public school teacher salary was $62,695.

Driven by school committees and superintendents committed to the so-called “DEI movement,” some New Hampshire public schools are hiring professional DEI directors, some with little real classroom experience, to lecture teachers, staff, and students about equity.

Interestingly, they are frequently paid significantly more than most teachers.

DEI programs, sometimes known as DEIJ for those who include “Justice” in the acronym, became fashionable following the nationwide protests over George Floyd’s 2020 murder by police in Minneapolis. They are common on college campuses. The University of New Hampshire has its own DEI division with at least nine full-time positions and a seven-figure budget.

Blansett, who never worked as a regular classroom teacher before getting the Oyster River job, is responsible for “work(ing) with teachers, administrators, and students to integrate DEIJ throughout the district. (Blansett) will lead trainings for teachers, revise curriculums so they align with district values of equity and inclusion, and act as a resource for anyone in the Oyster River community to ask questions about DEIJ taught in a classroom,” according to the district.

When Blansett isn’t advocating for race and gender-based education in Durham schools, she’s providing “racial equity education” for the New Hampshire chapter of Black Lives Matter.

According to its website, “Black Lives Matter New Hampshire strives to bring education to the community by providing training on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within organizations, schools, and other local groups.” According to the biography linked to the page, Blansett’s “academic interests” include “challenging anti-Blackness and colonization ideology and theorizing/implementing accessible and liberatory practices.”

Rachael Blansett

And even before she came to New Hampshire, Blansett was speaking out for what she sees as racial justice. During a school board meeting in 2022, first reported by Granite Grok, it was revealed she recorded podcasts and posted comments on social media featuring messages like, “White people are not OK,” and “White people don’t wash their legs, and can’t dance.”

Blansett also raised eyebrows when photographed wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Pro Black, Pro Queer and Pro Hoe.”

When hired, she explained the controversial podcast was a collaboration with a friend and pledged to discontinue the project. She also claimed her comments about White people were not made with racist intentions.

At SAU 16 in Exeter, Mejia also has little classroom experience. Mejia did work as a Teach for America teacher for several months before becoming DEI director. And like Blansett, Mejia is directly involved with Black Lives Matter, serving as vice chair of the state chapter.

Confronted about his membership in an organization that has advocated race-based public policies, called for the defunding of the police, and has been rocked by financial scandals, Mejia said he would not quit BLM.

“I am Black, and I can never separate myself from Black Lives Matter,” he told concerned parents in 2021. “My life matters.”

SAU 16’s DEI statement makes clear part of Mejia’s job is to help students understand their personal role in upholding systemic racism and bigotry.

“Part of our educational mission is to awaken our students’ awareness of their power and privilege so that they may view the world through a lens of equity and help eliminate unjust systems and practices,” the district statement.

Peggy Massicotte, an SAU 16 parent, says the baked-in bigotry animating the district’s DEI program and Mejia’s BLM leadership shows the whole position ought to be scrapped.

“We have to look at the way we’re teaching this to kids,” Massicotte told NHJournal.

Massicotte also mentioned BLM’s role in recent pro-Palestinian protests in which antisemitic and genocidal slogans are chanted, like “There is only one solution/intifada revolution.”

“He’s the [BLM] vice chairman,” Massicotte noted.

Mejia and Blansett are both NH Listen Fellows at the University for New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy, as is Tina Phillbotte, the Manchester School District’s DEI Director, who is paid close to $120,000 a year.

UNH recently underwent a punishing round of layoffs and cuts to save $14 million in the budget. While the university’s art museum and journalism program, which has produced Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, were affected, there appear to be no cuts to the university’s DEI programs. UNH pays at least $1 million a year in salaries for the DEI program staffers.

Closing the art museum saves UNH about $1 million.

Extremists on the Left Emerging in Granite State Politics

A new force of anti-democratic extremists is taking to New Hampshire’s streets, calling for overthrowing the government while espousing antisemitic hate.

But it’s not far right, white supremacists like NSC-131. It’s the far left, anti-American Marxists in groups like the Party for Socialism and Liberation driving anti-Israel street demonstrations in Manchester and cheering violence against Jewish people.

There’s been no major violence associated with either political fringe in New Hampshire. But Thomas O’Connor, a former FBI agent who specialized in international and domestic terrorism cases, says the danger is greater now than it’s ever been as the state heads into a high-stakes presidential election year.

“The potential for violence in the 2024 election cycle is more than anything I’ve seen in my two-plus decades working on domestic violence extremism,” O’Connor told NHJournal.

On Saturday, vandals keyed the cars of dozens of Republicans attending the state GOP convention in Concord. On Monday, just 48 hours after Iran launched a massive missile and drone attack on Israel, dozens of pro-Palestine protesters gathered near the State House to denounce the Jewish state.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free,” they chanted, a phrase critics say calls for the destruction of the nation of Israel.

Left and right fringe groups have long existed on the American political landscape in an almost symbiotic relationship, O’Connor said. When a right wing fringe group appears to cause trouble, a left wing counterpart will show up, and vice versa. Think of Antifa showing up to counter a Proud Boys demonstration.

The increasing polarization of American politics, fueled by heavy social media use and turbo-charged by the disinformation deployed by America’s foreign adversaries, worries experts like O’Connor. Russia, North Korea, and Iran are all known to use social media to put out extremist content and conspiracy theories in an effort to weaken America by turning citizens against each other, he said.

“The majority of the country is somewhere in the middle, but the extremes are much larger than they were four or five years ago,” O’Connor said.

Though law enforcement needs to be careful to allow everyone to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest and speak out, authorities need to be aware of the potential for violence.

O’Connor’s view is bolstered by a 2021 study published by the Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law and Society. The study found that while the far right engages in more violence and more deadly violence than the far left, the far left proportionally commits more murders than the far right.

“The results indicate that the far right remains the greatest threat to public safety for the most severe form of violence, namely ideologically motivated homicide. However, some interesting nuances highlight areas in which the far left might create cause for concern. The far left has a larger proportion of homicides with multiple fatalities and a slightly higher rate of homicides targeting law enforcement, albeit at a frequency much lower than the far right. The far left might create cause for concern; the far left has a larger proportion of homicides with multiple fatalities and a slightly higher rate of homicides targeting law enforcement, albeit at a frequency much lower than the far right n addition, far left extremist violence has increased over the last five years, showing that there may be socio-political scenarios in which the far left’s threat to domestic security increases to levels much higher than its average over the last three decades,” the study found.

Many Granite Staters are familiar with NSC-131 and its white supremacist antics. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office filed a civil complaint against NSC-131 in February in the Merrimack Superior Court over the group’s alleged threats and harassment of a drag performer at Teatotaler’s Cafe in Concord.

But, the Marxists with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) are going largely unnoticed as they organize anti-Israel protests in Manchester and elsewhere. The PSL has operated in the state for years, and it’s taking a more prominent role since the Oct. 7 Hama atrocities in Israel. Days after more than 1,200 people were murdered by Hamas terrorists, members of PSL held a pro-Palestinian rally on Elm Street in Manchester. As they shouted genocidal slogans like “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” the PSL members simultaneously told NHJournal the murder and rape of Israeli civilians was justified and that it never happened.

“We stand with the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors,” PSL leader Joy Douglas said on Oct. 11. “The U.N. states clearly that those facing oppression, those who are facing apartheid and genocide, have every right to fight back.”

Douglas said that even though Hamas’ Operation Typhoon was justified, it also never happened. No civilians were murdered in their homes, terrorists took no hostages, no concert goers were gunned down.

“There’s no documented evidence that those people are dead,” Douglas said.

In the months since the Oct. 7 attack, PSL has become one of many anti-American Marxist groups targeting Israel in New Hampshire. The PSL is a radical Communist splinter group formed by former members of the World Workers Party in 2004. The PSL is dedicated to fomenting a socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism and the American government.

Eight people were arrested on March 22 in Merrimack at the Elbit Systems facility during a protest that included vandalism and destruction of property. As police responded to the scene, protestors revealed their anti-police and anti-capitalist views.

“Why are the police here defending the capitalists?” one protester was heard shouting at officers. “Why aren’t the police defending the people? Is it because the police are paid by the capitalists?”

It was the second major protest at the Merrimack Elbit facility. Four women are currently charged with felonies for their roles in the November protest that included setting off smoke bombs. Three of those suspects, Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, had their bail paid by James “Fergie” Chambers, a multi-millionaire Marxist who moved to New Hampshire in order to avoid taxes.

Chambers is involved in various anti-police and anti-Israel protest movements throughout the country. He recently told left-leaning Mother Jones magazine, “I think the most important thing for the prosperity of humanity is the destruction of the US.”

Chambers also called Russian President Vladimir Putin “one of the better statesmen of our century,” and he described Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack as “a moment of hope and inspiration for tens of millions of people,” according to Mother Jones.

Three Elbit Systems Vandalism Defendants Appear in Nashua Court

Two of the three protesters indicted in the anti-Israel vandalism at Elbit Systems in Merrimack last November signaled Thursday they won’t be cooperating with prosecutors. 

Left-wing activists Sophie Ross, Bridget Shergalis, and Calla Walsh were in Hillsborough Superior Court — South for arraignment on felony charges of riot, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, burglary, and conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence for their roles in the November protest.

United at their arrests, the three women took different paths in court. Walsh, 19, did not speak, did not approach the defense table, and attorney Jeffrey Odland with the Manchester law firm of Wadleigh, Starr & Peters waived the reading of her charges in open court. 

Walsh was surrounded in court by family members and friends, while Ross, 22, and Shergalis, 27, were mostly on their own.

Ross and Shergalis are being represented by activist attorney Kira Kelley with Minneapolis-based Climate Defense Project, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to “resistance efforts.”

“Kira (they/she) grew up in rural Vermont as a guest on unceded Abenaki lands, with a lot of strong opinions but minimal political analysis about social injustice,” according to the organization’s website.

 

Bridget Shergalis (right) and Sophie Ross with their attorney Kira Kelley (standing) in Hillsborough Superior court, February 29, 2024.

 

Kelley pushed back Thursday on an attempt by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office to prevent her from representing both clients in the same case. Prosecutors argued dual representation for the same crime creates a potential conflict of interest for the defense. 

But Kelley told Judge Tina Nadeau that prosecutors are more concerned with getting an edge on the defendants than protecting their constitutional rights to a vigorous defense. Dividing the two defendants would make it easier for the state to play them against each other, she argued.

“The main concern here, the state’s objective, is getting the co-defendants to testify against each other. My clients recognize it is in both of their best interests not to cooperate,” Kelley said.

But Judge Nadeau shared the state’s concern, especially given Ross and Shergalis are being advised to stay united by the same attorney. Not only does Kelley run the risk of being disciplined for violating ethical rules for her potential conflict of interest, but her dual representation could provide Ross and Shegalis an easy appeal on the grounds they had “ineffective assistance of counsel,” Nadeau said.

“I find it odd and curious that a lawyer would take the position you’re taking in this case. I want to be frank with you; I’m concerned,” Nadeau said.

Nadeau will appoint two attorneys for both Ross and Shergalis to impartially advise them about the case and determine if they wish to proceed with Kelley as their sole attorney.

Kelley is also representing two Dartmouth students charged with criminal trespass last October after they pitched a tent on campus and refused to leave. They were protesting Israel’s actions in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack.

All three defendants in the Elbit case are due back in court next month for a dispositional conference. The state has presented the three with plea agreements that could keep the cases from going to trial. Nadeau advised the women to seek an alternative to trial.

The case of a fourth suspect, Paige Blender, 32, is expected to end up in the Nashua court in the coming weeks. Belanger was arrested on a warrant last month, though she has yet to be indicted by a grand jury. Grand jury proceedings are secret, but Nadeau said in court she anticipates getting the case soon.

Walsh first came to prominence as a leader in the “MarkeyVerse,” a group of progressive teens who took to social media on behalf of Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey. 

She was also part of the Mapping Project, which published a map of Jewish businesses and people, including locations of Jewish daycares and schools. It has been denounced as antisemitic and dangerous. She was arrested last year during a protest at the Elbit Systems location in Cambridge, Mass., along with Ross.

Shergalis is a former child actress with credits on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows. 

Felony Indictments for Pro-Palestinian Activists in Merrimack Attack

Three women arrested during a violent protest at Israeli-owned Elbit Systems in Merrimack now face prison time.

Weeks after his office took over the case, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella announced felony indictments Friday against left-wing activists Sophie Ross, Bridget Shergalis, and Calla Walsh. 

A grand jury convened in Hillsborough Superior Court — South handed up charges against the three for riot, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, burglary, and conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence. Each charge carries a potential three-and-a-half to seven-year prison sentence.

Walsh, 19, is a progressive political star in Massachusetts who led the teen army that helped get Democrat U.S. Sen. Ed Markey elected. She’s also faced repeated charges of antisemitism.

Walsh is active in the anti-Israel “Boycott/Divest/Sanction (BDS) movement, which many critics say is antisemitic due to its sole focus on the Jewish State. More problematic is Walsh’s involvement in the so-called “Boston Mapping Project,” which created an interactive map identifying places where Jews tended to congregate as well as the locations of Jewish community organizations in Massachusetts. The map included locations of Jewish daycares and schools.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Mapping Project identifies Jewish communal groups as “‘Boston’s Zionist NGO circuit” and accused not only of “supporting the colonization of Palestine” but also of “violence worldwide.”

Walsh’s criminal record includes arrests for her stunts targeting Jewish and Israeli-owned businesses. Walsh was arrested last year at the Elbit Systems location in Cambridge, Mass., along with Ross, a 22-year-old woman from the Bay State.

Bridget Shergalis

Shergalis, 27, is a star of a different sort. The Connecticut resident is a former Disney Channel actress who has appeared in shows like “So Random” on Disney, “See Dad Run” on Nickelodeon, and “Criminal Minds” on CBS.

Police recently caught up with Paige Belanger, 32, of Alford, Mass. Belanger is now facing charges similar to the other three, like criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage, though a grand jury has not yet indicted her. 

Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis were arrested on the roof of the Elbit facility in Merrimack, armed with spray paint and incendiary devices. 

Police were called to the business on Daniel Webster Highway for reports of people blocking the entrance and smoke coming from the roof. According to a Merrimack Police Department press release, “Officers discovered the front of the building had been spray painted with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one of the main lobby doors had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device.” 

The three women reportedly lit flares and took them to the roof, where more damage was found.

“While we support the rights of protesters to peacefully express their views, what our workforce experienced in Merrimack, N.H. was violent behavior planned by protesters that resulted in several arrests made by local law enforcement,” Elbit America said in a statement. “We take the safety and well-being of our employees extremely seriously, and we will continue to work closely with local officials at all of our sites to ensure safety for all.”

The attack on Elbit’s Daniel Webster Highway location is part of a long-standing campaign by Palestine Action US. Elbit Systems of America’s parent company – Israel-based Elbit Systems – is the largest defense contractor for Israel. Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”

Communist multi-millionaire James “Fergie” Chambers paid the cash bail for Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis. Chambers himself takes part in Palestine Action US, though he denies any official role in the group. Chambers started a commune in rural western Massachusetts where Belanger reportedly lives. 

While New Hampshire Democrats have largely been silent on the Elbit story, Republicans have been highly critical of the vandalism. A week after the attack, a group of Republican lawmakers from the Merrimack area waved signs of support for the Elbit workers outside the facility. Among the sign wavers was GOP candidate for governor Kelly Ayotte.

“I am glad that the attorney general is pursuing criminal charges,” Ayotte told NHJournal after news of the indictments broke. “The vandalism, damage, and hate targeted at Elbit Systems was despicable and unacceptable. As governor, I will stand strongly against the antisemitism and hatred being pushed by the progressive left Hamas sympathizers.”

Chuck Morse, who’s also seeking the GOP nomination, commended Formella “for upholding our state’s core values of law and order.

“We must resist the acceptance of Democrat soft-on-crime policies that encourage criminal activity here in our Granite State. As a dedicated advocate for Israel, I deeply appreciate the ongoing support extended to our Jewish community in New Hampshire. As governor, I will continue to stand against antisemitic attacks,” Morse said.

Walsh, Ross, and Shergalis are all due in court next week.

Formella Takes Over Elbit Anti-Israel Vandalism Case

New Hampshire’s top cop is taking control of the case against anti-Israel protesters who targeted a Merrimack worksite, a sign of how important the case is to the state of New Hampshire and Gov. Chris Sununu’s administration.

State Attorney General John Formella told NHJournal he plans to make a tough case against the four pro-Palestinian demonstrators arrested for allegedly attacking the Israeli-owned Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack.

“We took these cases because of the important civil rights and public protection interests involved,” Formella said. “We will do everything we can to ensure that these cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that justice is served.”

Prosecutors with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office originally brought the charges against the suspects after they were arrested in November at the Elbit facility on Daniel Webster Highway.

Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, were all arrested Nov. 20 when their protest turned violent, according to police. The three were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage.

“Officers discovered the front of the building had been sprayed with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one main lobby door had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device,” Merrimack Police said in a statement following the incident.

Protesters also lit flares and took them to the roof, where more damage was later found.

A fourth suspect, Paige Belanger, 32, of Alford, Mass., was arrested last week.

The assault on the Merrimack facility was supported by the U.S. branch of Palestine Action, an anti-Israel organization that promotes antisemitic views. Six of its members were recently arrested when U.K. authorities foiled a plot targeting the London Stock Exchange.

Formella told NHJournal in December the Palestine Action organization could also face legal consequences for its role in the attack.

“Organizations and entities can be held responsible for the acts of their members. We saw that with NSC-131. We brought an action, not just against two members of NSC-131, but against the organization itself,” Formella said.

NSC-131 is a white supremacy group that hung a “Keep New England White” banner on a Portsmouth bridge last summer.

Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”

Multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers is identified as a founder of Palestinian Action USA. He has paid bail for the women charged in the case. Chambers claims he is not a leader in the group, but he does participate in protests. He frequently posts bail for activists in a range of protest movements like Palestinian Action, Stop Cop City, and others.

“I’ve never said no to a bail help ask,” Chambers previously told NHJournal via text.

Chambers did not respond to a request for comment on Formella taking over the prosecution of the Elbit case.

Hate Crimes Talk Worries Communist Millionaire Funding Anti-Israel Protests

A key figure in the New Hampshire anti-Israel protest movement, multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers, says the new focus on hate crimes by federal and state law enforcement has him worried.

He acknowledged the topic is controversial but doesn’t believe the response is proportional.

“Yeah, this insane backlash equating us with Nazis, charging our friends with insane stuff for what amounts to vandalism….who knows at this point?” Chambers, who lives in the Granite State, told NHJournal via text.

But that wasn’t the only thing Chambers has typed up as of late. For example, the avowed opponent of the nation of Israel posted on Facebook last month, “Make Zionists afraid.”

According to an article in The Free Press, he has also written, “We need to start making people who support Israel actually afraid to go out in public. We need to make all of white America afraid that everything they have stolen is going to be burned to the ground. That’s what makes them listen.”

It is rhetoric like that, along with an increase in anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric, that has New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella beefing up the state’s Civil Rights Unit with an additional attorney and more support staff. Formella announced the move after activists with Palestinian Action USA struck the Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack last month. The three women arrested for the vandalism attack were all promptly bailed out by Chambers.

Elbit Systems USA is an Israeli-owned company best known for its work in weapons and aviation. However, the Merrimack facility also does work for the company’s medical instrumentation division.

Formella and Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke have both said they are looking at the Palestinian Action USA protestors for possible Civil Rights Act violations. And the organization itself, which is partially funded by Chambers, could be held accountable as well. 

The possibility he and his comrades could be charged with antisemitic harassment due to their anti-Zionist activism upsets Chambers.

“[Of course] the hate crime rhetoric is concerning, but I think any attorney worth a darn will tell you that weapons companies are not a protected group, lol,” Chambers wrote NHJournal. “In the end, it behooves a ‘Free State’ to back off of this kind of grandstanding. I really don’t believe that the people of New Hampshire are especially committed to Zionism, even if political lobbyists are.”

Though Chambers has maintained the protests against Elbit are focused on stopping a weapons manufacturer, he has not been shy about saying Israel has no right to exist.

“Israel does not deserve to exist,” Chambers told LA Magazine. “It is a false state propped up by the West.”

Chambers is a member of the Cox family, worth about $34 billion, according to reports. Chambers essentially negotiated an early inheritance with the family trust, allowing him to walk away with a reported $250 million. 

The fact the Coxes still own the company outright makes them the eighth richest family in America, with a net worth of around $34 billion.

Chambers has been using his fortune to spread the Gospel of Marx, setting up a commune in Massachusetts, a “People’s” gym in New Hampshire’s Upper Valley, and engaging in protests across the country. He is even footing the bill when fellow activists get arrested.

“I support a ton of bail funds for protestors and folks facing state repression,” Chambers said.

Despite being self-identified as a founding member of Palestinian Action USA, Chambers denied he is, technically, a founder or bankrolling the group or that he has a real leadership role within Palestinian Action USA at all. Chambers is just another activist, albeit one with more cash.

“PAL Action is not now and never was an ‘org,’” Chambers wrote NHJournal. “It is a social media platform that shares news of direct actions people have taken against Elbit or other weapons companies. We’ve shared things in Cali, VA, TX, MA, NH, etc. If someone sends us [something], we share it. Bears zero connection to who did it.”

When it comes to Palestinian Action USA, Chambers is just another member of the organization that isn’t an organization, he said.

“I [definitely] participated in the Cambridge [Mass.] action, and I spray painted a McDonald’s in D.C. Other actions I have zero say about. Pal Action UK provides training to people. I was a founding organizer because I did the first action in Cambridge, and I’ve helped with media thereafter. There is no staff, no budget, nothing. As in, there’s nothing to finance.”

When Palestinian Action USA protesters Sophie Marika Ross, 22, of Housatonic, Mass.; Cala Mairead Walsh, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.; and Bridget Irene Shergalis, 27, of Dayville, Conn., were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage for the Merrimack vandalism attack, Chambers ponied up $50,000 to get the three women released. 

“After the fact, I’ve paid bail funds because I do that all over the place,” Chambers wrote. “I’m about to grant a bunch of legal support for Alabama prisoners; I’ve supported the ‘Cop City’ bail and legal funds; I’ve done tons of support for pipeline funds, including when I was at Standing Rock. I’ve never said no to a bail help ask, as is my right as a funded with the 1st amendment.” 

‘Cop City’ is the name progressives, Black Lives Matter members, and Antifa activists have given the Atlanta Police Foundation’s training facility, currently under construction and under protest. Antifa and others have repeatedly attacked the construction site, engaged in riots, and gotten arrested by the score in an attempt to stop the facility’s construction.

Despite numerous stories naming him as a founder and funder for Palestinian Action USA, Chambers said his checkbook support for arrested activists does not mean he’s “bankrolling” the group, which, again, isn’t a group.

“So to say I ‘bankroll Pal Action’ is crazy. There’s literally nothing to bankroll. It’s a network of independent affinity groups, and the social media accounts have shared stuff, while Pal Action UK remains the founders and leaders,” Chambers wrote.

Despite his Marxist, distributiionist politics, Chambers said he moved to New Hampshire last year in part due to the Granite State’s low tax burden. He has plans for the properties he bought in Lebanon, though they are still being worked out.

“I’m not sure exactly what we’ll do with NH at the moment,” Chambers wrote. “We have an office space in Lebanon that was tentatively going to be a free gym and a place to do media and research work, and to offer free office space to local groups who might be in need.”

Law Enforcement Responds After Synagogue Bomb Threats

Days after five New Hampshire synagogues were victims in a nationwide bomb threat stunt, local law enforcement leaders delivered a message to would-be criminals.

“If you threaten people, if you commit crimes, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This isn’t a game, this isn’t a joke,” said United States Attorney Jane Young. “People want to be able to worship their Creator in peace.”

Young, along with New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Timothy DeMann, New Hampshire State Police Colonel Mark Hall, and Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg, spoke Tuesday at the Manchester Police Department about how they are fighting back against rising hate and, particularly, antisemitism in the Granite State.

“There is no greater priority for us than protecting the people of this state,” Formella said.

Threats targeting the New Hampshire synagogues were part of a nationwide effort to call in bomb threats at synagogues and Jewish spaces throughout the weekend. According to DeMann, the threats were not credible. The point seemed to be causing alarm among the Jewish communities.

Jews are not the only targets. There have been threats targeting a broad spectrum of people, particularly people of faith, like New Hampshire’s minority Muslim community. There is also national intelligence pointing to potential threats at upcoming holiday gatherings, especially religious services, DeMann said.

“It’s a heightened threat environment,” DeMann said. 

DeMann and Formella cited the current war in Israel as one factor behind the recent surge in antisemitism. While there are known threats to Arabs and Muslims living in the United States, Formella said antisemitism is the driving force in recent weeks.

Police and FBI agents have been working with synagogues throughout the state to ensure congregants are safe. Hall said State Troopers are working with synagogues to make sure security plans are in place, and to make sure police are visible during worship times. One synagogue told him parents with children won’t come if there isn’t a police officer on duty.

Police are reaching out to Jewish communities and other minority groups to make sure they know they can call for assistance. Aldenberg said people are frightened and need to know they can rely on the police.

“We have to recognize and be aware of the fear and concern the community feels,” Aldenberg said.

Aldeberg interrupted his comments during the press conference in order to respond to a text from a Manchester rabbi.

Young is adding a civil rights prosecutor to the United States Attorney’s Office as part of the response. It is the first time New Hampshire’s federal prosecutor has had a dedicated civil rights attorney. It comes as Formella is adding three staffers to the state’s civil rights unit. 

“We are really putting our money where our mouth is,” Formella said.

The bomb threats come in the wake of an attack on the Merrimack facility of Israeli-owned Elbit Systems USA, in which antisemitic protesters with the group Palestine Action US blocked access to the building, broke windows, and took flares onto the roof. Three people, all from out of state, were arrested and face charges of criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage.

Hate crime reports in New Hampshire have exploded in the last five years, going from 40 to 186 and counting for 2023. Formella wants people in the Live Free or Die state to be free to worship, love, and simply be — without fear of harassment or violence. 

There is also worry that events like the weekend bomb threat hoax may not be a hoax next time. That is part of the reason Formella and the others are trying to get out in front of the trend of hate-inspired crime.

“We’re not going to wait,” Formella said. “We want to be proactive.”

Hate crime victims should not hesitate to contact local police, the FBI, or the state’s Civil Rights Unit, Formella said.

NH AG Files Civil Complaint Against Neo-Nazi Group

New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella is making good on his promise to target hate groups, announcing a new civil complaint against a notorious gang of New England Neo-Nazis.

The move comes as the state is also considering hate crimes charges against the three people who conducted an antisemitic, pro-Palestinian attack on an Israeli-owned business in Merrimack.

Christopher Hood, founder of NSC-131, and 19 NSC-131 members are accused of violating New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination law for allegedly trying to stop a drag queen story hour event at Concord’s Teatotaller Cafe this summer.

The identity of the other 19 men is not known. They are listed as John Does in the complaint.

Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke heads up the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Unit and said Wednesday that NSC-131’s actions at Teatotaller crossed the line from protest to discriminatory harassment.

“This isn’t a protest where a person, or a couple of people, are standing out on a sidewalk with a sign saying, ‘I don’t agree with what’s going on here,’” Locke said.

According to the complaint, “Hood and the other men stood outside the café and, for over an hour, faced into the café shouting homophobic slurs and phrases, loudly chanting and saluting in a fashion reminiscent of Nazi Germany. The complaint alleges that the men, led by Hood, banged on the café’s glass windows, and made intimidating gestures and comments directed at the performer and those in the café.”

Hood and his NSC-131 followers posted videos and photos of the incident on the group’s social media. Hood and his gang are behind dozens of sometimes violent demonstrations targeting racial minorities and members of the LGBTQ community throughout New England.

Despite the intimidating actions, NSC-131 did not stop the drag event at Teatotaller, according to drag performer Juicy Garland. Garland posted on social media soon after the event, saying the show continued.

“The cafe (and community) there is FANTASTIC, and racist outsiders came in to make it miserable,” Garland wrote on Twitter. “We prevailed and had a great time with the families anyway.”

Amid a surge of antisemitic words and actions in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel, Formella announced plans last month to step up enforcement against hate groups in the state, adding another attorney and additional staff to the Civil Rights Unit.

According to Formella, the Civil Rights Unit has seen a 465 percent increase in complaints and referrals over the last five years, from 40 to 186. He attributed the rise to various factors, including the increased racial and ethnic diversity, an increase in divisive political rhetoric, and “a rise in tension and conflict around the world.”

Last month, three women were arrested at the Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack after vandalizing the building, breaking windows, and setting off smoke bombs. Members of Palestine Action USA — Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22 — were charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage for the incident.

Locke said his unit is working with Merrimack Police and the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office. More charges in the case are possible, including hate crime charges.

“Any and all charges that can be brought will be bought,” Locke said.

When Formella announced the increase in resources in the Civil Rights Unit, which was made at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NHJournal asked if the state’s hate crimes laws gave his office the authority to prosecute Palestine Action USA for any role it may have had in the Elbit attack.

“The answer is yes,” Formella said. “Organizations and entities can be held responsible for the acts of their members.”

Palestine Action USA is being bankrolled by multi-millionaire Communist James “Fergie” Chambers.

At the University of New Hampshire, Locke’s team is in contact with the Durham campus police department as several antisemitic incidents are currently under investigation. However, one incident in which students and faculty called for Jewish genocide is not being investigated.

UNH granted the Pro-Palestinian group Answer Coalition permission to hold a rally on Nov. 9, the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass.

Locke said the UNH Police Department has not asked for his assistance in that matter.

Locke is still trying to secure a win against NSC-131 for a July 2022 incident in which the group hung a banner with the message “Keep New England White” off a Route 1 overpass in Portsmouth. After the case was dismissed in court on free speech grounds, the Attorney General’s Office filed an appeal with the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Locke said Wednesday he expects NSC-131 to raise the First Amendment in its defense, and he and his team are prepared to make their case.

“We expect the First Amendment is going to be an issue raised, and we certainly expect it to be raised,” Locke said.

Hood and his gang are facing a civil rights case in Massachusetts after the Bay State brought a case last week. The gang allegedly targeted LGBTQ events and immigrants.

Experts who monitor hate groups, like Kristopher Goldsmith’s Task Force Butler, said NSC-131 ought to be treated like a violent, terrorist gang by authorities. The group’s demonstrations feature assaults and escalating violent behavior, Goldsmith has said.

Hood, whose last address was in Newburyport, Mass., started NSC-131 after he was kicked out of the white supremacist group, Patriot Front. He also has reported ties to violent hate groups like The Base.

The Teatotaller case is first being filed with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights, and Locke said he is asking the commission to refer the complaint to the Superior Court for civil prosecution. He said he hopes the process will be done in the next 20 to 30 days.

Anti-Israel Activists Arrested in Merrimack Tied to Mass. Dems, Disney Channel

One of the three women charged in Monday’s antisemitic vandalism at Elbit Systems in Merrimack is a former teen celebrity who has been the subject of fawning press coverage for years. Another appeared on several Disney Channel TV shows.

Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, are all charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage after they were arrested Monday on the roof of the Elbit facility in Merrimack armed with spray paint and incendiary devices. Walsh and Ross were issued $20,000 cash bail due to previous arrests. Shergalis was given $5,000 bail.

Their stunt at Elbit’s Daniel Webster Highway location is part of a long-standing campaign by Palestine Action US. Elbit Systems of America’s parent company – Israel-based Elbit Systems – is the largest defense contractor for Israel. Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”

Walsh may just be 19 years old, but she has an extensive history of Democratic activism and support for Palestinian violence toward Israel.

Walsh is active in the anti-Israel “Boycott/Divest/Sanction (BDS) movement, which many critics say is antisemitic due to its sole focus on the Jewish State. More problematic is Walsh’s involvement in the so-called “Boston Mapping Project,” which created an interactive map identifying places where Jews tended to congregate as well as the locations of Jewish community organizations in Massachusetts. The map included locations of Jewish daycares and schools.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Mapping Project identifies Jewish communal groups as “‘Boston’s Zionist NGO circuit” and accused not only of “supporting the colonization of Palestine” but also of “violence worldwide.”

The New York Times has described Walsh as “representative of an influential new force in Democratic politics,

Calla Walsh

activists who cut their teeth on the presidential campaigns of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.”

But U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) was no fan of her work on the Mapping Project.

“This is just chilling to me. It is tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections, and political string-pulling,” Auchincloss, who is Jewish, told the news site Jewish Insider at the time. “To name names and keep lists, which has a very sinister history in Judaism, in terms of how we are targeted, is very irresponsible. [The group] needs to take this down and apologize.”

Walsh is also the founder of Students for Markey, the army of young people who knocked on doors and worked the phones to get progressive Sen. Ed Markey past Joe Kennedy III in the 2020 Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary. Walsh became a semi-celebrity for her Markey activism.

“I just support whoever is the most progressive in the race … I definitely do tend to support the person who’s challenging the incumbent, but Ed, I think, is a special case just because he’s led on so many issues that matter to young people,” Walsh told Dig Boston at the time.

Walsh is credited for being a leader in the “Markeyverse,” the online army of hundreds of teens who used their social media accounts to campaign for the Massachusetts progressive.

Markey’s office did not respond to a request for comment, nor did representatives for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with whom Walsh campaigned.

Walsh never hid her feelings about Israel and her support for Palestinian violence while she was working on the campaigns of prominent Massachusetts Democrats.

“There is no ‘peaceful solution’ under military occupation. One can’t claim to want to see Palestine liberated if one doesn’t support Palestinians’ actually means of liberation,” Walsh tweeted last year.

Bridget Shergalis

Shergalis had been a working actress with television roles in teen shows like “So Random” on Disney, “See Dad Run” on Nickelodeon, and “Criminal Minds” on CBS. Her social media appears politics-free, and it isn’t clear when she became involved in the anti-Israel BDS movement.

Representatives with A3 Artists Agency in Los Angeles, which represents Shergalis, did not respond to a request for comment.

Ross, unlike Walsh and Shergalis, has a low profile and appears to not have public social media accounts. 

Both Walsh and Ross were ordered held on $20,000 bail Tuesday. The pair had recently been arrested at an Elbit protest in Cambridge, Mass., and were out on bail when they were arrested Monday. Shergalis’ bail is set at $5,000.

Police were called to the Elbit facility around 8 a.m. Monday for reports of people blocking the entrance and smoke coming from the roof. According to a Merrimack Police Department press release, “Officers discovered the front of the building had been spray painted with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one of the main lobby doors had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device.” 

The three women reportedly lit “incendiary devices” and took them to the roof, where more damage was found.