NEW YORK, May 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- London Mayor Sadiq Khan has signed on to Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism, an AJC initiative calling on municipal leaders across Europe and the U.S. to publicly address and take concrete actions against rising anti-Semitism.
"I am proud to sign the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism pledge, and I will encourage other Mayors across the country and Europe to do the same, in order to help send the message far and wide that anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified," said Khan.
"Sadly, for many Londoners, anti-Semitism is a very present problem," Khan said. "As a British Muslim, I am no stranger to discrimination and prejudice. That's why, as Mayor for all Londoners, I am determined to fight racism in all its forms and will make challenging hate crime a priority."
Khan, elected May 6, joins more than 180 mayors from 30 European countries and more than 300 U.S. mayors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who have signed to date.
AJC CEO David Harris enthusiastically welcomed Mayor Khan's signature and announcement.
"Mayor Kahn's support for this initiative is special for three reasons," said Harris. "First, as Mayor, he has demonstrated continuity in opposition to all forms of anti-Semitism, as his predecessor Boris Johnson was also a signatory. Second, with all the recent concerns expressed about currents within Britain's Labour Party regarding anti-Semitism, this is a particularly welcome and important development, since he is such a prominent member of the Labour Party.
"And third, Sadiq Khan is the first mayor of the Muslim faith of a major Western capital. Thus, his signature sends a very powerful message not only to the London Jewish community, but well beyond, about potential friendship, support and cooperation."
Harris thanked AJC's British Jewish partners – the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Community Security Trust, and London Jewish Forum – for reaching out, together with AJC, to Mayor Khan.
"Anti-Semitism is one of the greatest challenges facing Jews in London and across the country," said Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. "Just weeks into the job, Sadiq Khan has signed up to AJC's campaign against anti-Semitism. Taken together with his attendance at the Yom HaShoah Holocaust commemoration event, this sets a very positive tone that we hope will be replicated throughout his mayoralty."
AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, launched the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism campaign last July, and expanded it to Europe in the fall.
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.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee