Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena elected last May, a memebr of the left-wing party Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now), joins 'Mayors against anti-Semitism.'.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena is the first Spanish mayor to join mayors in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in signing on to the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement.in the movement dubbed “Mayors against anti-Semitism” initiated by the AJC (American Jewish Committee), in reaction to the recent worldwide increase in anti-Semitism – especially in Europe.
This worrying tendency has been strongly condemned by US President Barak Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, as well as by institutions such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has demanded that measures be taken to combat it, said a spokeswoman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain.
The initiative, she said, “highlights the anti-democratic and dangerous nature of racial hatred,” warning that anti-Semitism is “not only an attack against Jews, but also an aggression against the values of a democratic and pluralistic society.”
The Madrid Municipality promised to condemn hatred against Jews in all its manifestations and to broaden educational programs, among them Holocaust studies, in order to create an increased awareness of acts and attitudes of intolerance and discrimination.
“Anti-Semitism is unacceptable,” declared Carmena on March 7.
Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism was launched in the United States last July, and expanded to Europe in the fall. To date, 56 European mayors from 16 countries, representing over 40 million people, and 309 mayors and municipal leaders from 47 states across the U.S., representing over 80 million people, have signed the statement.
“Mayor Carmena’s commitment to safeguarding Madrid’s Jewish community, and to being a vanguard against anti-Semitism and a proponent of democratic values, is deeply appreciated,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs, who attended the signing ceremony in Madrid, together with an AJC delegation composed of lay and staff leaders.
Siegel Vann thanked the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, an AJC partner, for being in close contact with the mayor and her staff.
The Federation, which represents the Jews of Spain, expressed its profound gratitude to Carmena at a time when police security for its religious and educational institutions has increased, and Jews have been singled out unfavorably in the media and other places.
One example was the February 25 boycotting and heckling of Ben-Gurion Univeristy of the Negev Prof. Haim Eshach who arrived to speak at the Autonoma University in Madrid on “Technology and Science in the nursery” on the last day of Israel Apartheid Week, which was held at the university. The dean of Psychology, Nacho Montero, took the issue up with the European Parliament, as well as apologizing to Eshach and Psychology professors Margarita Limon and Mikel Asensio, who had invited him. Montero sent a group email to the institution’s students and professors, telling them that such behavior was far beyond “the limits of freedom of expression.”
Last month the BDS movement failed to stop Israeli singer Idan Raichel from performing at the Madrid concert hall Sala Caracol on March 3.