SAN ANTONIO — Leaders from the San Antonio Jewish community are speaking out after the recent string of anti-Semitic events, including the protest across the street from the Barshop Jewish Community Center.
“As a Jewish person, it’s highly offensive. To the core, it’s some of the most offensive tropes that I have seen in a very long time,” said Winslow Swart.
Swart was moderating a Holocaust remembrance panel discussion when a handful of protestors across the street from the Barshop Jewish Community Center of San Antonio began shouting and displaying hate-filled rhetoric.
“The focus of the topic (panel discussion) was just not to remember those who were lost, but the human cost of discrimination,” Swart said.
Mark Toubin, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, characterized the protest as “disgusting,” but not uncommon, since such events have been amplified in recent years.
“Unfortunately, it’s increased significantly just in the last two or three years. In San Antonio alone, there’ve been a number of instances of leafletting,” Toubin said.
In 2020, the ADL recorded 2,024 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, the third-largest year on since the organization started tracking the events in 1979.
Toubin stressed there are numerous efforts underway to address the growing issue of anti-Semitism.
“Whether those are working with legislators in Washington, or the state, or whether it’s confronting the hate that’s proliferated online,” Toubin said.
But the fight against extremism is one not fought alone.
“Over and over when these events have occurred, when there was the swastikas and the 'n' word sprayed around my synagogue in my neighborhood, everyone came to our aid. It’s upon us to educate everyone that we should confront discrimination in all of its forms, not only anti-Semitism but when anybody’s being disparaged,” Swart said.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg released a statement denouncing the hate, saying in part, "We must stand with our Jewish neighbors and reject the hatred and ignorance that endangers the spirit of our entire city. San Antonio will not tolerate these heinous acts and will never give a platform to white nationalists."
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