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US mayors urge European counterparts to condemn anti-Semitism

Leaders of NY, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Boston back American Jewish Committee initiative

Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti in Europe (CC BY-SA Beny Shlevich/Flickr)
Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti in Europe (CC BY-SA Beny Shlevich/Flickr)

WASHINGTON — Mayors from several major US cities have signed on to an initiative calling on American mayors to ask their European counterparts to condemn anti-Semitism.

The Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism initiative, which was launched by the American Jewish Committee in May at its conference in Brussels, also urges the mayors to work to stop the recent increase in anti-Semitic acts.

Among those who have signed on are the mayors from New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and Boston.

The initiative’s statement calls for the condemnation of all anti-Jewish hatred and states that anti-Semitism is not justified by the actions or existence of Israel.

“Anti-Semitism is not only an attack on Jews but an assault on the core values of any democratic and pluralistic society,” the statement says. “In a world of global communications where anti-Semitic ideas can and do spread rapidly, the impact of the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe does not stop at Europe’s borders. When the fundamental values of democracy are challenged, a concerted and principled response is required.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in an address last month to the annual meeting of the AJC’s New York Region called for an “unmistakable and consistent” response to acts of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Anti-Semitism “is the cancer that never went away,” de Blasio said. “That cancer was not eradicated at the end of World War II.”

The AJC’s executive director, David Harris, also used a cancer metaphor to describe the phenomenon.

“Anti-Semitism is a cancer that, left unchecked, will metastasize and threaten to destroy the democratic and pluralistic nature of Europe,” he said.

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