Global Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism to be held March 16

Uwe Becker: "It’s up to us to fight against this toxic spirit that is poisoning the ground on which our societies are built upon."

Info for the first-ever Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism (photo credit: COMBAT ANTISEMITISM MOVEMENT)
Info for the first-ever Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism
(photo credit: COMBAT ANTISEMITISM MOVEMENT)
 “Seventy-six years after the liberation of Auschwitz,” says Uwe Becker, Mayor of Frankfurt am Main, “we have seen a dramatic rise in antisemitism all around the world, in Europe, and here in Germany. It takes place in the cities, towns, and councils, all around the world, from the far right to intellectual antisemitism, to the hatred against the State of Israel. It’s up to us to fight against this toxic spirit that is poisoning the ground on which our societies are built upon.”
Recent statistics bear out Becker’s remarks. In Germany alone, in 2020, authorities recorded 2,275 incidents of antisemitism, through January 2021. In the United Kingdom, the number of antisemitic incidents doubled between 2013 and 2014 and peaked in 2019 at 1,805. In the United States, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded 2,107 antisemitic incidents in 2019, a 12% increase from the total number in 2018 and the highest number on record since the ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.
Three major antisemitic attacks occurred in the United States in 2019. On April 27, on the last day of Passover, a white supremacist fired a semi-automatic rifle inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, killing one and wounding three. On December 10, two individuals attacked a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey, killing three, and on December 28, the seventh night of Hanukkah, an individual armed with a machete entered a Jewish home in Monsey, NY, where a Hanukkah party was taking place, and stabbed the guests, wounding five, and killing one. 
While advocacy and policy geared toward combating antisemitism often occur solely at a national or international level, the three attacks described above illustrate how antisemitic acts occur principally in local communities. Municipal leaders must organize resources such as law enforcement, education, and community cohesion projects to counter antisemitism. Sacha Dratwa-Roytman, executive director of Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM), the US-based global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations that spans religions and faiths, says, “At a time when antisemitism is on the rise worldwide, it is critical that we find solutions where they are most needed – at the local level, where its effects are primarily felt and where it must be confronted head-on.” 
Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, notes, “In far too many cities around the world, vandalized Jewish cemeteries, offensive graffiti, and attacks on Jewish houses of worship have become far too common. Moreover, because contemporary forms of antisemitism come from across the ideological spectrum, there is no single answer to the problem. For this reason, it is so important for municipal leaders from across the globe to come together to collaborate and adopt best practices to defeat antisemitism.”  
Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens. (Photo credit: City of Athens)Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens. (Photo credit: City of Athens)
To that end, CAM has organized the first-ever Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism, an online conference that will be broadcast on March 16, 2021, on Zoom, Youtube, and Facebook. The conference will bring together mayors from numerous cities worldwide, including Athens, Bal Harbour, Brussels, Bologna, Frankfurt am Main, Newark, Palermo, Poway, Riga, Toronto, and Vienna, among many others. 
Practical solutions to combat antisemitism will be discussed, including sessions on education and the IHRA working definition of antisemitism; legislation, security, and law enforcement; overcoming trauma; and interfaith and cross-communal relations.  Added Dratwa-Roytman, “This groundbreaking summit will bring together mayors and other municipal officials from across the globe to create new channels of collaboration and brainstorm innovative ideas on how to turn the tide of hate on the streets of their cities.”
Key speakers at the conference will include Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, Brussels Mayor Philippe Close, Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj, Bologna Mayor Virginio Merola, Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, and Mayor of Bal Harbour Gabriel Groisman. 
William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, where 11 Jews were killed in the Tree of Life Synagogue Massacre in October 2018, adds, “Tragically, my city of Pittsburgh has witnessed the appalling consequences of antisemitic hatred. Those who lost their lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue will never be forgotten. Moreover, the very best way in which we can honor their memory is by making sure that we understand how best to tackle and defeat those who seek to intimidate and harm the Jewish communities and residents of our cities.”
William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh. (Photo credit: pittsburghpa.gov)William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh. (Photo credit: pittsburghpa.gov)
The 2021 Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism will open a dialogue between city heads to provide them with the tools to combat hate. Advance registration for the conference is required. Click here to register for the Global Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism.