NEW YORK, Jan. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- London Mayor Boris Johnson has signed on to Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism, an AJC (American Jewish Committee) initiative calling on municipal leaders across Europe to publicly address and take concrete actions against rising anti-Semitism.
"However it manifests itself, anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified," said Mayor Johnson. "In London we have a large and visible Jewish population, which makes a massive contribution to our city's success, and as mayor I take this issue very seriously.
"We are working closely with the Jewish community and the police to tackle the problem and it is important for mayors to stand shoulder to shoulder to condemn and challenge anti-Semitism, which, like all forms of religious or racial discrimination, has no place in our cities."
Johnson is the first mayor in the United Kingdom to join the campaign of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization. Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism was launched in the United States in July, and expanded to Europe in the fall. To date, more than 30 European mayors and 309 mayors and municipal leaders from 47 states across the U.S. have signed the statement.
"Mayor Johnson's leadership in unequivocally confronting the anti-Semitism scourge is admirable, and reinforces Britain's democratic values," said AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris. "Anti-Semitism is a cancer that, left unchecked, will metastasize and threaten to destroy the democratic and pluralistic nature of Europe, a portent that Mayor Johnson so clearly recognizes."
Harris thanked AJC's British Jewish partners – the Board of Deputies, Community Security Trust and London Jewish Forum – for reaching out, together with AJC, to Mayor Johnson. "We look forward to other municipal leaders across the United Kingdom joining Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism," Harris said.
To date, mayors in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania have signed on to the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement.
The statement calls upon "mayors, municipal leaders and other officials in Europe to join us in affirming that anti-Semitism is not compatible with fundamental democratic values." It emphasizes that "in a world of global communications where anti-Semitic ideas can and do spread quickly, the impact of the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe does not stop at Europe's borders."
The Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement affirms a core set of principles, including the condemnation of anti-Jewish hatred in all forms; rejection of the notion that anti-Semitic acts may ever be justified by one's view on the actions or existence of the State of Israel; a declaration that anti-Semitism and any prejudices due to religious differences are inconsistent with core democratic values; and the belief that the promotion of mutual understanding and respect among all citizens is essential to good governance and democratic life.
The statement pledges a commitment to working within and across European and American communities to advance the values of respectful coexistence, and to affirm that anti-Semitism is incompatible with fundamental democratic values.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee