New York and Washington, DC – American Jewish Committee (AJC) and The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced today that more than 525 mayors across the United States have joined their joint national effort to combat antisemitism. The two organizations, which have partnered on other projects, are calling on mayors across the country to sign a statement declaring that antisemitism is incompatible with fundamental democratic values. A full list of mayors can be found at www.ajc.org/mayors.
“Antisemitism is a growing societal menace, it comes from multiple sources, and mayors are uniquely positioned to lead their cities in taking concerted steps to fight it,” said AJC CEO David Harris.
“In a world of global communications, where antisemitic ideas spread rapidly, a concerted and principled response is required to raise awareness, to educate, and to ensure decency prevails. As Mayors and municipal leaders, we have a unique responsibility to speak out against the growing menace of antisemitism,” states the Mayors United Against Antisemitism statement.
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors has always called on mayors to speak out against hate crimes wherever and whenever they occur – in our nation and in our own cities. By signing this statement, more than 525 mayors registered their opposition to the dramatic increase in antisemitism we have experienced in our country and pledged to work together to reverse it,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, president of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.
In 2019 the Conference of Mayors adopted policy condemning the disturbing increasing trend of violence towards individuals and institutions based on faith. That resolution specifically condemned “antisemitic acts and statements as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”
The AJC-USCM initiative comes as incidents of antisemitism, some of them violent, continue to rise across the United States, confirmed in FBI reports and AJC public opinion surveys. American Jews, who make up less than 2% of the American population, were the victims of 60.2% of anti-religious hate crimes, according to the FBI 2019 Hate Crimes Statistics report.
AJC’s 2020 State of Antisemitism in America report found that 88% of Jews considered antisemitism a problem today in the U.S., 35% had personally been victims of antisemitism over the past five years and 31% had taken measures to conceal their Jewishness in public. Moreover, the AJC report revealed that nearly half of all Americans said they had either never heard the term “antisemitism” (21%) or are familiar with the word but not sure what it means (25%).
By signing the Mayors United Against Antisemitism statement, mayors across the nation:
- Condemn antisemitism in all its forms, including hatred and prejudice directed toward Jews, stereotypes or conspiracy theories about Jews, Holocaust denial or distortion, and anti-Israel animus, which crosses a line to target Jews or deny the Jewish state’s right to exist;
- Support national, state, and local government efforts directed at eradicating antisemitism and preventing extremist indoctrination and recruitment; and support expanded education programs, including Holocaust programs, to counter intolerance and discrimination;
- Reject the notion that opinions about the policies, actions, or existence of the State of Israel can ever justify or excuse antisemitic acts;
- Recognize the ever-present need to be vigilant about efforts to prevent and report acts of antisemitism and other hate crimes; and
- Affirm that a climate of mutual understanding and respect among all citizens is the bedrock of pluralistic communities.
“Through our 24 regional offices across the U.S., we’ve worked closely over decades with mayors and other municipal leaders on many issues of shared concern,” said Harris. In January 2019, The U.S. Conference of Mayors and AJC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further enhance U.S.-Israel ties at the municipal level across the country.
For more information, contact Melanie Maron Pell, AJC Chief Field Operations Officer, at email@example.com. She is AJC’s principal liaison to USCM.