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Austin City Council approves anti-hate resolution after recent acts of anti-Semitism

The resolution condemns racism and calls for the city manager to work on ways to improve Austin's response to hate.

AUSTIN, Texas — After recent acts of anti-Semitism and hate around the city, the Austin City Council on Thursday approved a resolution condemning racism and asking the city manager to find ways to improve Austin's response to hate.

Last month, an anti-Semitic group was seen draping banners over an overpass on MoPac Expressway multiple times. No charges or arrests were filed in these incidents.

Then, on Sunday, Oct. 31, a local synagogue was set on fire. Police are currently seeking a suspect in that arson investigation.

Additionally, offensive words and symbols were painted across student parking spots at Anderson High School on Oct. 22. Austin ISD's superintendent called the graffiti "anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic."

The council approved the resolution, Item 64, during Thursday's meeting. It was sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler and council members Alison Alter, Vanessa Fuentes, Mackenzie Kelly and Kathie Tovo. 

Alter released the following statement on Wednesday:

"Over the weekend, someone intentionally set a fire at Congregation Beth Israel in District 10. My family and I belong to Congregation Beth Israel and are disturbed by the increasing levels of anti-Semitic hate here in Austin. I have spoken with temple and city leadership, the ADL, AFD Chief Baker, and the Fire Marshal and understand that the AFD arson unit is working with the FBI, APD, and other regional law enforcement agencies to identify and apprehend the suspect(s). Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the fire department responded in a matter of minutes, mitigating the structural damage. 

“Coming on the heels of the events that took place in October, many people have requested guidance on how best to respond. I encourage folks to utilize and share the resources offered by the Anti-Defamation League available at www.adl.org.

“Additionally, at this week’s Council meeting, I am sponsoring a resolution (Item #64) condemning anti-Semitism, racism, and hate and calling on the City Manager to work to improve the City’s response to acts of hate. I also have asked for a briefing on the City’s current protocols and legal options for responding to incidents like these. I look forward to unanimous support from my Council colleagues. It is critical that as a city we join in a united front against hate and make clear that these acts do not represent our community values.”


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