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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State Jewish community remains strong after anti-Semitic flyers


Anti-Semitic flyers were found on campus at Alkek Library on March 2, 2017. Star File Photo

In March 2017, Texas State’s Jewish community woke up to white supremacist and anti-Semitic propaganda plastered on campus. In the aftermath of the flyer’s rally against the community, they face isolation and negligence.
The Swastika-laden flyers, taped to the columns outside of the Alkek Library, stated, “White man, are you sick and tired of the Jews destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy? Join us in the struggle for global white supremacy (…)”
It wasn’t the first white supremacist messaging found on campus, as Patriot Front and other white supremacist organizations have circulated anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-immigration and anti-liberal agenda flyers since the November 2016 election of President Donald Trump. As recently as October 2018, white supremacist propaganda has been found on campus.
The March 2017 incident, however, marked the first affront to the Jewish community at Texas State. Katie Cohn, consumer affairs senior, said although she knew anti-Semitism existed, it was shocking to face it on campus.
“It doesn’t necessarily surprise me that that’s an attitude that people have,” Cohn said. “The posters were surprising because that was a very big expression written on paper in black and white.”
University President Denise Trauth did not immediately publicly respond to the March incident but did meet with Keely Freund, political science junior, and other members from Jewish Bobcats, an on-campus organization for Jewish students, after white supremacists posted a white nationalist banner over Alkek Library stating “America is a white nation.”
“We did talk to Trauth after the big banner incident on Alkek, and it was kind of disappointing because her response was like, ‘These are people probably not at school. They came here. There’s not much we can do about it,’” Freund said.
Trauth’s lack of action mirrors a larger history of silence by the Texas State community, including on-campus student organizations. Talya Morris, political science senior, said though she feels like most Jewish students identify as politically left-leaning, there isn’t much support from political peers, leaving the group in a state of limbo.
“What are people doing? Nothing,” Morris said. “You don’t feel like anyone has your side. The flyers were put up by the alt-right, but you can’t really turn to liberals. Who is really saying that anti-Semitism is alive other than Jews?”
According to 2013 Brandeis University data, it is estimated there are 7,600 Jewish people in Travis and Hays county combined. Because of the small Jewish population in the area, most Jewish students believe their demographic is more or less forgotten by their peers and community.
“The number of times I’ve had people say, ‘Wow, I’ve never met a Jewish person before,’ and you’d think they’d discovered a unicorn,” Morris said. “(The) follow up is, ‘You don’t look Jewish.’ I usually go off: ‘By Hitler’s standards? Eugenics? What am I not meeting?’”
Morris isn’t alone in feeling ostracized. Cohn said students’ reaction to the anti-Semitic fliers was perhaps unintentionally hurtful to those who were personally targeted.
“I don’t think the majority of people on this campus inherently agreed with those attitudes or anti-Semitic opinions or beliefs, but it’s kind of sad to see people walking by looking at it kind of as like a spectacle,” Cohn said. “They didn’t take it down and I don’t know why that is.”
Cohn said only Jewish students voice their concerns when anti-Semitic incidents occur. She encourages other students to defend their Jewish peers as well.
“We’re always welcoming other people to step up and say something,” Cohn said. “I think sometimes people are like, ‘That’s not my place.’ But more than likely, we’re going to appreciate the effort.”
Students interested in joining Jewish Bobcats can sign up for a community email through the website.

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  • Rabbi Ari Weingarten hosts Coffee and Kabbal Oct. 10 at the UAC Cafe. Photo by Hannah Wisterman

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