LUBBOCK, Texas – On Wednesday, President Joe Biden condemned the Oct. 7 assault on Israel by Hamas, calling it a campaign of pure cruelty against the Jewish people.
“I would argue it’s the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust,” Biden said.
In the midst of celebrating Jewish holidays over the weekend, Israelis would be surprised by terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas militants invading the state, firing rockets and missiles, taking hostages and killing innocent civilians in their path.
“This is a massacre,” said Stacy Cushing, regional director for the Texoma office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “There have been kidnappings, there’s been raping. It’s devastating. It’s terrifying.”
As of Wednesday, 2,200 people are dead as a result of the Israel-Hamas war that continues to impact people from all over. Leaders, like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), have vowed to support Israel.
“There’s weeping throughout Israel, but also all across Texas because of the horrific attack on Israel, which must be called what it is,” Abbott said. “It’s an act of war to which Israel has the right of self defense for which there is no expiration date.”
The ADL said antisemitic incidents have surged across the country since the conflict began.
“When there’s an attack on Israel, we see antisemitism rise in America unfortunately,” Cushing said.
On Monday, Abbott put $4 million toward enhanced security at Jewish and Israel-related organizations in Texas. His office also called on the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to work alongside local and federal agencies to identify potential threats.
“Even though it wasn’t here in our backyard, a lot of times, it can spur people on here,” said Sgt. Johnny Bures with DPS in Lubbock. “They may see something like that and say maybe this is the time for me to act, this is a time for me to try and do something. That’s why we really want people to just be vigilant, and if you see something suspicious, say something.”
Cushing said in 2022, Texas 211 antisemitic incidents, which ranks fifth highest in the nation. ADL data reveals two antisemitic incidents for Lubbock in 2023.
“We all need to report incidents as we see them,” Cushing said. “We all need to understand that this isn’t just something that’s happening abroad. It’s happening right here at home.”
Bures said there currently aren’t any known threats in the state, but he encouraged people to report any questionable activity to local or state law enforcement, or on iWatchTexas. Tips can be reported via the website, the free iOS or Android mobile app or by calling 844-643-2251. All reports are confidential.
“Better to be safe than sorry,” Bures said.
To honor the innocent lives lost in the war, Abbott ordered flags to be half-staff throughout Texas through Saturday.