Antisemitic incidents in Austin increase significantly amid Israel–Hamas war: report

A new report shows antisemitic incidents are up significantly. This comes after a spike in antisemitic incidents following the October 7 massacre in Israel, and the ongoing war in Gaza.

Anti-Defamation League Austin reported more than 60 percent of the antisemitic attacks last year happened after October 7.

"People are just feeling a lot of outrage and sometimes that outrage can turn into violence unfortunately," ADL Austin Regional Director Jackie Nirenberg said.


ADL Austin recorded more than 60 incidents of antisemitic assault, vandalism, and harassment last year. It's up more than 40 percent from the previous record set in 2021.

"Antisemitism is a very bad sign of what's happening in the community and the culture of the community," ATXKind Co-Founder Mariette Hummel said.

The Austin community experienced several incidents recently.

In September 2023, graffiti with white supremacy symbolism was found outside a University of Texas sorority house.

In February, Austin police arrested Bert James Baker for stabbing Zacharia Doar in the chest after a pro-Palestine rally at the state capitol.

"I get a terrible call saying. ‘Uncle, you have to turn back. Your son has been stabbed.’ The first thing came to my mind is, I'm going to lose my son," father of stabbing victim Nizar Doar said.

In March, UT Austin’s Texas Hillel organization reported someone graffitied their building and parking lot with vulgar antisemitic writing in broad daylight.

About two weeks later, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring colleges and universities to review their policies on free speech and establish punishments for antisemitic language following an increase in hateful acts on campuses across the state.

"It is disappointing and sad, and it shows there's a lot of work that needs to be done," Shalom Austin CEO Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus said.

Nirenberg said education is what is needed.

"It’s important that people interrupt that kind of language and rhetoric when they hear and see it and use it as an opportunity to teach folks about what it means to be Jewish and why that is offensive," Nirenberg said.

Nirenberg said not all attacks are reported, so there could be many more.