Austin leaders denounce string of antisemitic actions
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin leaders gathered Monday to demonstrate solidarity with the city’s Jewish community after a string of antisemitic incidents over the past two weeks.
The nonprofit Interfaith Action of Central Texas organized the Monday demonstration after a fire around 9 p.m. Sunday caused $25,000 in damage to the main entrance of Congregation Beth Israel’s synagogue. Fire investigators believe the blaze was deliberately set. No injuries or arrests have been reported.
Austin Fire Capt. Brandon Jennings said they received tips about who committed the arson. Investigators are also reviewing security video of the incident, he said.
Also, on Oct. 23, about a dozen people unfurled an antisemitic banner from an overpass on the heavily traveled North MoPac Boulevard and displayed similar posters in the East Sixth Street entertainment area, according to Anti-Defamation League-Austin.
On Oct. 22, Anderson High School’s buildings were vandalized with swastikas, homophobic slogans and racist slurs.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler joined representatives of the city’s other elected leaders to denounce such activity.
“When we see acts of hate, they’re jarring. They’re hurtful, and they are scary. But they are not surprising,” Adler said. “Because there are people who do hateful and horrible, wrongful things.”
He added: “The danger is that hate spreads.” Which, he said, made it essential for the wider community to declare, “That is not us.”