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Antisemitic acts were already on the rise in Kansas City. How does the war in Israel affect that?

A woman wearing glasses sits inside a radio studio talking at a microphone.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Gavriela Geller, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau and the American Jewish Committee based in Overland Park, talks about antisemitism on KCUR's Up To Date.

Gavriela Geller of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau told KCUR's Up To Date in September talk about a recent rise in antisemitic acts in Kansas City and the country. Since the war between Hamas and Israel began this month, Geller believes antisemitism is "absolutely" spiking even more.

The rate of antisemitic incidents in the United States has hit record highs in recent years — and the war between Hamas and Israel is expected to make it even worse.

Gavriela Geller, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau in Kansas City, told KCUR's Up To Date in Septemberthat recent incidents of antisemitism showed the need for better education around the metro.

Now, she says antisemitism usually spikes during times of anxiety and unrest.

"We particularly see spikes in antisemitic incidents happen during conflict regarding Israel and in the Middle East," Geller explained. "And so, that's exactly what we're seeing again now. But, levels that we have not experienced."

Corrected: October 17, 2023 at 4:38 PM CDT
Correction: During the original live broadcast of this segment, Geller suggested a recent Kansas City protest in support of Palestine was a "pro-Hamas" rally. KCUR's reporting on the event found that the rally's organizers did not express support for Hamas and, in fact, set ground rules that calls for violence would not be tolerated. Read more about that eventhere.
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