Tampa Bay Sees Rise In Anti-Semitism – Tampa Bay Now

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local Jewish organizations are responding after a group of Neo-Nazis rallied around the Tampa Convention Center this weekend.

The group held signs with swastikas and other anti-semitic messages.

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Several organization leaders say seeing Nazi flags in the Tampa Bay Area is unacceptable and the key to overcoming this hate is through education.

“My grandparents were Holocaust survivors, so to say it’s personal is probably an incredible understatement. Seeing a swastika in Tampa Bay is a direct gut-punch,” said Florida Holocaust Museum Chairman, Michael Igel.

“My grandfather fought in the second world war. He marched across Europe, and fought with the America’s against the Nazis. That’s supposed to be the past, not the present,” said Rabbi Philip Weintraub with Congregation B’nai Israel.

Anti-semitic signs surrounded the Tampa Convention Center on Saturday with images of swastikas and Neo-Nazi symbols.

“It’s visceral for really any Jew and any civilized person. I think it’s particularly painful when members of your family were slaughtered by the people who represent that symbol,” said Igel.

The rally happened as a convention of young conservative activists met inside the center.

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“It was a harsh experience for everybody. I think some people experienced it worse than others,” said Harrison Lundy with the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee.

“Antisemitism incidents, both nationally, and in Florida, have been rising very significantly in the last few years,” said Dr. Douglas Weiland with the Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Just last week, families in Manatee County found anti-semitic flyers in their driveways. Now Jewish groups are trying to spread this message.

“No one should be hating anyone. There’s no need for hate,” said Rabbi Weintraub.

They’re promoting unity and education.

“Support the Jewish community. I can’t be the only jewish person who exists in Tampa Bay,” said Lundy.

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“Contact the museum, come visit, seek our resources. If you’re a parent, tell your student’s teachers that you want our resources in your schools. These are life lessons we teach,” said Igel.

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