Houston

Swastikas in the mail: Houston’s Dr. Peter Hotez reports anti-Semitic, anti-vaccine harassment

He tweeted that he has also received phone calls and been stalked. He’s previously spoken about the link between COVID-19 disinformation and a rise in anti-Semitic hate. 

AP Photo / Justin Rex
Dr. Peter Hotez finds his seat before first lady Jill Biden speaks about pediatric COVID-19 vaccines in Texas Children’s Hospital Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Houston.

Houston-based doctor Peter Hotez is well known as a proponent of pandemic precautions.

He's also Jewish. This week, he tweeted out a photo of images he received in the mail — two swastikas, one overlaid onto a mask and another constructed with syringes.

Hotez wasn't available for an interview. He tweeted that he has also received phone calls and been stalked. He's previously spoken about the link between COVID-19 disinformation and a rise in anti-Semitic hate.

The Anti-Defamation League published survey results this month showing that anti-Semitic attitudes have spiked sharply in the United States over the past three years.

Researchers asked more than 4,000 respondents about a range of anti-Semitic tropes, like the idea that Jewish people hold too much economic power or are not "warm and friendly."

The number of people holding at least six or more anti-Semitic beliefs nearly doubled from 11% before the pandemic to 20% in 2022. More than three quarters of respondents believed in at least one anti-Semitic trope.

Mark Toubin is ADL's Southwest Regional Director.

"It’d be bad enough if it was just people’s attitudes, but we know that that’s just the beginning." he said. "Because those attitudes ultimately reach out to people engaging in violent acts."

Anti-Semitic incidents can be reported to the ADL through the group's submission portal.

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Dominic Anthony Walsh

Education & Families Reporter

Dominic Anthony Walsh covers education & families for Houston Public Media's enterprise team. His work examines the institutions and policies affecting millions of students and families across Texas, with a focus on Houston — home to the largest school district in the state. He comes to the Bayou City after...

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