Waco, TX (FOX 44) — The Israel-Hamas War has led to an increased risk of anti-Semitic hate crimes here in the U.S.
The FBI has noted a recent spike in reports, and its latest data shows how hate crimes and anti-Jewish incidents rose by 37 percent in 2022.
There were 11,634 reported incidents, the highest number ever recorded since the agency started tracking it nearly three decades ago.
Since last week the Anti-Defamation League Austin chapter says they’ve received a number of anti-Semitic incidents across Central Texas and is keeping track to make sure they don’t grow into bigger problems.
“We are seeing a rise in harassment of individuals both at schools and frankly, there have been a few that have been reported of people just out and about doing their regular daily business,” said Jackie Nirenberg.
Nirenberg is the regional director of the Austin Anti-Defamation League chapter.
Nirenberg says in recent years Central Texas has had a slight increase in anti-Semitism.
“In 2021, we had an arson at the Temple Beth Israel in Austin. That sanctuary still not usable so we’ve been lucky so far that there’s nothing like that happening right now,” said Nirenberg.
Another situation in Texas happened January of 2022 with the Colleyville synagogue hostage crisis.
Nirenberg says these acts of hate are a part of a historical narrative to make the Jewish community a scapegoat.
“We are in a pattern of anti-Semitism from the extreme extremist groups, white nationalists, and white supremacists. Now with the events that have unfolded in Israel, we’re feeling it on the progressive side as well with the issues being so emotionally charged,” said Nirenberg.
Nirenberg says radicals are exploiting the international conflict to promote chaos.
To become an ally of the Jewish and Palestinian communities, Nirenberg suggests reaching out and starting the conversation.
“There’s no right way to do it, but the reach out is the beginning of ally ship, the questions, the curiosity. That’s how you begin this coalition and that we should all be building against hatred and extremism,” said Nirenberg.
Curious to know if local law enforcement has received reports of anti-Semitism, Waco PD gave us a statement saying they can’t directly speak on the matter.
On the same note, Waco PD did share how they’re constantly monitoring events and their impacts on our community and safety.
We asked Texas DPS the same question and was given a similar statement to what Waco PD shared.
Texas DPS shared they will continue to adjust its operations as needed to maintain public order and contain potential threats.
The department remains committed to protecting the people and properties of Texas.