Investigation is underway into downtown Dallas antisemitic grafitti in abandoned garage

Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas CSI director to meet with Dallas mayor this week

By Leah Vann

The ADL recorded the largest number of antisemitic incidents in 2019 since 1979 and the trend is only continuing in North Texas. 

The latest incident in Dallas concerns a large swastika painted on top of an abandoned City of Dallas parking garage, visible from atop Reunion Tower and found Oct. 23. Additional swastikas found inside the garage also followed with the words, “Rise up! We are everywhere!” 

“This isn’t just graffiti, it’s a disgusting display of hate and intimidation,” said Dallas City Council member Cara Mendelsohn. “It breaks my heart to see it in Dallas, where we welcome people of all races and religions. With the two-year anniversary of the Tree of Life shooting, where 11 Jews were murdered in America just for being Jewish, it is a reminder that we have a lot of work to do to educate people about our common humanity and accepting differences.”

Cheryl Drazin, ADL Central Division vice president, said the North Texas-Oklahoma region has seen an uptick in incidents for the past several years. “So while we are deeply disappointed, I can’t say we were surprised.”

The incident is still under investigation, but Drazin is heartened by law enforcement and city leadership’s immediate and strong response to the crime. 

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum released a statement Friday, Oct. 30, saying that while they are pleased with the city’s response, the issue reflects a much wider phenomenon reminiscent of rhetoric from 1940 Nazi Germany sweeping the United States. 

“…This is not simply our mayor’s problem, it is something which we as citizens of the city of Dallas, the state of Texas, and the incredible country in which we live must all stand up against,” the statement read. 

“When I see people promoting a Nazi emblem, I wonder if they realize the evil and hatred behind that sign,” Mendelsohn said. “I wonder if they recognize the incredible sacrifice of our heroic U.S. soldiers to free the world of the Nazi death machine, and I wonder if they can even comprehend how many people were murdered and families torn apart by the evil actions of the Nazis and those that supported them. To promote Nazi symbols is to  to continue the evil and disrespect the memory of both the victims of the Holocaust and brave soldiers who fought in World War II.”

The graffiti was originally reported to the city manager’s office and forwarded to law enforcement. The FBI quickly got involved and reached out to Bill Humphrey, director of the Community Security Initiative at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, to alert members of the Jewish community and ADL. 

There are currently no established leads on the case. 

Humphrey said that, his morning started early Tuesday with phone calls and follow-ups. , “Just just getting updates to other security directors such as myself that oversee different entities, corporations, businesses and schools in the Dallas area. It’s boots-on-the-ground work in Dallas on a regular basis ,” he said.

Humphrey added that he would also be working on the evening of the election with the Fusion Center of Dallas to alert the Jewish community of any suspicious activities in real time. He advises anyone who sees something unusual or finds a lead on the graffiti to call 9-1-1, but also says the CSI is also open to taking direct calls to the office 24/7 if anyone feels unsafe. 

“The CSI just this week requested and received a meeting with the mayor’s office to discuss the city’s response to the swastikas that were painted and, moving forward, that the city takes a hard stance on any kind of antisemitic activity,” Humphrey said. 

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