Texas Holocaust, Genocide, And Antisemitism Advisory Commission Publishes Study on Antisemitism in Texas
On November 1, 2022, the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission submitted a letter and its study on Antisemitism in Texas. The letter and link to view the full study are reprinted below with permission. Please note this post is a reprint and not affiliated with Shalom Austin.
As we submit this Study on Antisemitism to you in the closing months of 2022, Jews around Texas, the United States, and the world are — once again — dealing with a rising scourge of hate.
During the past few weeks, rapper Kanye West has targeted “Jewish media” and “Jewish Zionists” for alleged misdeeds and vowed to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” Many individuals, groups, and businesses quickly condemned him. But others were slow to distance themselves from the hate. And some have shown outright support by posting messages that “Kanye was right about the Jews” over freeways and football stadiums from California to Florida.
That particular controversy will probably be “yesterday’s news” when lawmakers review this Study on Antisemitism during the 2023 legislative session. But there will undoubtedly be new, equally hateful, and dangerous episodes of antisemitism in the headlines, perhaps even from Texas. This has been true for 2,000 years — and the trend has grown worse in the past few years.
In the past 18 months, Texans have watched in horror and fought back as a synagogue was set on fire, a rabbi and his congregants were held hostage during Shabbat services, and Jewish college students were targeted for their support for Israel.
You and your fellow state leaders identified and understood this dangerous escalation of antisemitism in the last legislative session when you reconstituted the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission as the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission (THGAAC).
That legislation built on your previous leadership in combatting hatred against Jews. Through a 2017 state law that you supported and signed, Texas was already leading the national fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement. And the Governor’s Office has distributed $9 million in federal security grants since 2019. This money has directly helped Jewish institutions harden their security infrastructures and protect themselves.
In establishing THGAAC last year, you charged our commission to “help identify and root out antisemitism and ensure that all Texans are able to exercise their religious freedom without fear.” You also mandated us to submit this Study on Antisemitism every two years.
It has been an honor for us to work with the other dedicated THGAAC commissioners and staff members these past few months to research and write this Study and to develop eight recommendations to raise awareness and fight hatred against Jews throughout Texas.
As you read the report and recommendations, you will see that the normalization of antisemitism in our communities draws on centuries-old tropes about Jewish greed, control, and influence, which have taken root across ideologies and sectors of society.
On the far left, critics of Israel hold the Jewish state to a different standard than all other nations in the world — and hold all Jewish people accountable for what they see as Israel’s flaws. On college campuses, in particular, these critics have nurtured an expectation that supporters of any progressive cause adopt an anti-Israel ideology that is rooted in antisemitism. They have made opposition to Israel and Jews a litmus test for activism.
Globally, radical Islamists who deny Israel’s very existence actively foment hatred of Jews. They make their case through age-old and deceitful tropes about Jewish power and lies. This fall, the president of Iran cast doubt on the Holocaust hours before he spoke at the United Nations.
And in Europe and North America, white supremacists and nationalists who say Jews are at the root of all of the world’s ills are more emboldened than ever, often feeling they have license from their leaders to voice their hate publicly. This manifests itself in rallies, hate crimes, and ugly anti- Jewish demonstrations and in belief systems like the Great Replacement Theory.
These trends have emerged at a moment when information — and misinformation — is easier than ever to share and when hate groups can quickly build audiences and allies online. As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently said, “I’m Jewish. I’ve dealt with antisemitism my entire life — and it’s only increased exponentially via social media.”
Sadly, we have even seen this antisemitism infiltrate the U.S. Congress, where some members have issued screeds about Jewish money, dual loyalties, and conspiracies and fought over a measure condemning antisemitism.
Under your leadership, the Texas Legislature has the opportunity to remain an example for the nation in coming together to recognize, understand, and fight antisemitism. We hope this Study of Antisemitism provides a guide for you to build on your long-standing commitment to educating Texans and rooting out this hatred.
THGAAC stands ready to support and advise you as you review this report and assess our recommendations. We are available as a resource to help you and your constituents better understand the scourge of antisemitism and fight back against the increased hatred that is targeting Texas’ Jewish communities.
Kenneth E. Goldberg, Joy Nathan,
Chair Executive Director
You can view the full study here:
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