NYC mayor to attend antisemitism summit in Greece amid near-daily hate crimes

Conference this week will convene municipal leaders from 23 countries to share solutions for Jew-hatred; comes after New York authorities thwarted attempt to shoot up synagogue

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

New York City mayor Eric Adams speaking during a news conference after the arrest of two suspects for an attempted attack on a synagogue, in New York, November 21, 2022.  (NYC Office of the Mayor via AP)
New York City mayor Eric Adams speaking during a news conference after the arrest of two suspects for an attempted attack on a synagogue, in New York, November 21, 2022. (NYC Office of the Mayor via AP)

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams will attend an antisemitism conference alongside dozens of other municipal leaders in Athens, Greece, on Wednesday, amid near-daily antisemitic incidents in the city and shortly after an attempted synagogue shooting there.

The 2022 Mayor Summit Against Antisemitism will convene leaders from 53 cities in 23 countries, according to the Combat Antisemitism Movement, an international advocacy group that is hosting the summit with the city of Athens and its mayor, Kostas Bakoyannis.

“We see an insidious spread of antisemitism, so there is a need to fight this scourge at the local level as well as to see how these trends are global, and learn best practices from each other towards combating them,” Bakoyannis said.

The conference will gather the mayors “to share their challenges and solutions to counter hatred, bigotry, and antisemitism within their cities,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement said.

The European cities of Vienna, Paris, Malmo, Dortmund, Dresden and Thessaloniki will have representatives at the gathering. From the US, leaders from Albuquerque, Virginia’s Richmond, and Jackson in Mississippi will attend.

The first Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism was held online last year. This week’s event will be the first in-person conference of its kind, the Combat Antisemitism movement said.

Police stationed outside a synagogue after threats to the Jewish community, in New York City, November 4, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Earlier this month, authorities in New York arrested two men after one of them threatened to “shoot up a synagogue.” Police seized an illegal pistol with a 30-round magazine, a large hunting knife and a Nazi armband from the suspects.

“As the mayor of the largest Jewish community in the United States, it is my sacred duty to protect Jewish New Yorkers and this entire community from antisemitism and bigotry,” Adams said after the attack was thwarted, adding that it was “not an idle threat.”

New York has increased police presence at synagogues at least through Hanukkah following the attempted attack.

Earlier this month in neighboring New Jersey, all synagogues in the state were put on alert after a threat from an Islamic extremist.

A pro-Palestinian activist last week pleaded guilty to a series of attacks on Jews in a rare federal hate crimes case.

Jews are targeted in hate crimes more than any group in New York City in both absolute and per capita terms, with reported attacks occurring on a regular basis, including 20 last month, according to the NYPD. The incidents range from assaults to verbal harassment, antisemitic graffiti and property damage.

The NYPD has confirmed 195 anti-Jewish hate crimes between the start of the year and September 30, representing an incident every 33 hours on average.

The rise in hate crimes in New York corresponds with nationwide trends. The Anti-Defamation League recorded 2,717 antisemitic incidents across the country last year, a 34% increase from the previous year, and the highest since it began tracking in 1979. Some of the increase is due to different and improved reporting methods.

Adams and other New York leaders, including Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Tish James, have close ties to New York’s Jewish communities and have worked to address antisemitism.

Hochul last week signed legislation aimed at combating hate and bias crimes. The bills will require mandatory hate crime prevention training for individuals convicted of such crimes, as well as establish a statewide campaign around inclusion, tolerance and diversity.

“No young Jewish boy should ever have to look over his shoulder as he’s walking to a yeshiva,” Hochul said.

After visiting Greece for the antisemitism summit, Adams will travel to Doha, Qatar, as it hosts the soccer World Cup.

He will meet with government leaders and security officials during the trip to prepare for New York and New Jersey hosting the games in 2026, his office said. Those games will be jointly hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico.

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