AJC Launches Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism

Jul 06, 2015, 12:58 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, July 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. mayors across the country are joining an AJC initiative calling on their European counterparts to publicly address and take concrete actions against rising anti-Semitism.

"We call upon mayors, municipal leaders and other officials in Europe to join us in affirming that anti-Semitism is not compatible with fundamental democratic values," states the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement. The Mayors' statement 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 project comes on the heels of AJC's groundbreaking strategy conference, "A Defining Moment for Europe," held in Brussels. At the May gathering, attended by representatives of nearly all European Union countries, AJC released the Call to Action, a detailed plan for European governments to prioritize and fight the escalating problem.

"Anti-Semitism is a cancer that, left unchecked, will metastasize and threaten to destroy the democratic and pluralistic nature of Europe," said AJC Executive Director David Harris at the Brussels gathering.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, addressing the recent AJC Global Forum, said "AJC released a very thought-provoking 'Call to Action' on anti-Semitism that raises important recommendations that all of us can benefit from."

U.S. mayors who have signed on to the initiative include Bill De Blasio of New York, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Ed Murray of Seattle, Annise Parker of Houston, Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Tomás Pedro Regalado of Miami, Marty Walsh of Boston, and Setti Warren of Newton, MA.

New York Mayor de Blasio, addressing the AJC New York Region annual meeting last month, called for an "unmistakable and consistent" response to acts of anti-Semitism in Europe. Anti-Semitism "is the cancer that never went away," said de Blasio. "That cancer was not eradicated at the end of World War II."

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 American 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 U.S. communities to advance the values of respectful coexistence. And it calls on mayors and municipal leaders in Europe to add their names and to affirm that anti-Semitism is incompatible with fundamental democratic values.

Mayor Warren, along with AJC's Boston Regional Office, conceived the initiative.

AJC Regional Offices across the country are gathering mayoral signatures during the summer.


SOURCE American Jewish Committee