In response to the increase in global anti-Semitism, an international coalition of prominent mayors has formed to combat racism and counter efforts by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to single out the Jewish State for discrimination (German link).
The launch of the new initiative was announced on Wednesday in Tel Aviv by the chair of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, Haim Bibas, together with Gabriel Groisman, Mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida, and Uwe Becker, Mayor of Frankfurt-am-Main.
“This coalition is a powerful statement against hate and hateful movements such as BDS, and will be an important tool for mayors around the world to share ideas and resources in fighting hate of all forms, antisemitism included,” the Florida mayor said in a press release.
“The key message is that we unequivocally condemn all forms of hatred and anti-Semitism that poison our coexistence. The city of Frankfurt am Main in particular has a great Jewish tradition. In many ways, it owes its present role and importance as a city of culture, science and commerce to the work of large Jewish families. It is therefore all the more the task and duty of the city to take action against any anti-Semitism,” emphasized Becker.
After intense discussions with mayors from Argentina, Spain, Israel, and the United States, the coalition announced plans to convene an annual meeting to facilitate a permanent and open dialogue between mayors around the world who have set themselves the goal to eliminate hatred, anti-Semitism, and confront efforts by the BDS movement. In addition, they pledged to take concrete steps to raise awareness, counter the growth of hatred and fanaticism at the local level, and encourage other mayors to join the coalition.
“We, the leaders of municipalities from around the world, understand that we cannot refrain from taking responsibility and taking part in the global efforts to take action against these phenomena,” they wrote in the declaration.
“We have a common challenge that we need to solve. It is important to promote social cohesion and to prevent exclusion. Unfortunately, however, we also see in our country that around 74 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, anti-Semitism increases and increasingly poisons the social climate,” Becker noted.
“For this reason, we call on all levels of government to take measures that counteract the worldwide increase in hatred and anti-Semitism. Communal cooperation across national borders is particularly important here because organizations like the anti-Semitic BDS movement do not stop at national borders.”
Various BDS activists have previously gone on record opposing the two state solution and affirming that the movement seeks Israel’s destruction, with BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti saying in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance” and leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil writing in 2012 that, “Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
[Photo: David Yaari / YouTube ]