Texas Governor Names Members of State Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission

The flag of Texas flies outside the State Capitol building in Austin.

January 10, 2022

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced five appointments last week to the state’s newly-created Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission.

According to its mandate, the commission — established by a bipartisan bill signed by Governor Abbott this past June — will “conduct a study on antisemitism in the state, provide assistance to schools, and meet with appropriate representatives of public and private organizations to provide information in addition to various education duties around the state.”

The appointees are: Jeffrey Beck of Dallas, chairman of the Board of United Texas Bank, Quantum Holdings, and Beck Ventures; Kenneth “Kenny” Goldberg of Dallas, retired founder of Gold Metal Recyclers; Lucy Taus Katz of Austin, a Holocaust survivor and vice president of customer service and sales for Katz Builders, Inc.; Providence Umugwaneza of San Antonio, a Rwanda Genocide survivor and founder of the Kabeho Neza Initiative; and Rabbi Ilan Emanuel of Congregation Beth Israel in Corpus Christi.

“I’m honored to be part of it, and I think it’s a recognition of the unfortunate reality that this is an important thing that we have to tackle, that we have to fight, that we have to educate more people about, and I’m happy that the governor and the state have recognized that importance,” Rabbi Emanuel told KIII 3 News.

With the same legislation that established the commission last year, Texas became the first U.S. state to officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

Addressing the Central America Forum for Israel — hosted by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and Center for Jewish Impact, in partnership with the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala, the Guatemala-Israel Friendship League, and the Jewish Community of Guatemala — in July, Governor Abbott said, “With the disturbing rise in antisemitism, we all have a responsibility to combat hateful rhetoric and violence in our communities. That’s why I signed a law that creates the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission. This commission will help to root out antisemitism in Texas, and make our communities safer.”

“This is just one important step Texas is taking to support Israel and the Jewish community,” he added.