Plan includes appointing liaisons to local Jewish communities and adopting and implementing the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.
Representatives from over 50 municipalities from across the US came together last week to commit to a ten-step municipal action plan to help define and address Antisemitism in their cities.
The historic commitment was made at the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM)’s 2023 North American Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, called as Jew-hatred is rising across the continent to record levels, in order to address best practices and action steps for how cities can lead the fight against Antisemitism.
Some of the steps mayors committed to include appointing a coordinator responsible for liaising with the local Jewish community, adopting and implementing the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for Antisemitism, devising an education plan to train municipal employees on how to respond to modern-day Antisemitism and to work with educational institutions to protect Jewish students and faculty.
“Combatting antisemitism is deeply personal work that requires proximity,” said Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, Assistant to the President, Senior Advisor to the President, and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. “Mayors know their communities and who they are, they have a convening authority that allows them to put certain structures in place such as local listening and educational sessions and to use data to drive policy changes.”
During the summit, mayors and representatives heard firsthand from three Israeli families directly impacted by the October 7 Hamas attacks, including Natalia Cassarotti, whose son, Keshet (21), was killed on October 7th by Hamas, and her daughter Shemesh, Diego Engelbert, whose sister Karina, her husband, and their two children are currently being held by Hamas and Maayan Sigal Koren, whose mother and four other family members are being held by Hamas.
Each family stressed the importance of the representatives sharing their loved ones’ stories with their respective communities to make it clear that rising Antisemitism requires action.
“Hamas tore apart my family,” said Maayan Sigal Koren. “I am afraid for my mother that she will lose her faith in humanity. I have two young boys, and they ask me about their grandmother. ‘Mommy, if grandma is in Gaza, why can’t we go get her?’ I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story. Please share my story; please help me bring my family home.”
Participants also heard from speakers including Van Jones, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and NBA all-star Alonzo Mourning about their commitment to standing with the Jewish community and the importance of allyship. Mayors and representatives also participated in panels on topics including implementing national strategies locally to combat Antisemitism in North America and bridging the divide through sportsmanship. Each panel stressed the power of fighting Antisemitism on the local level.
“In times like these, it is essential for leaders to come together, to stand united against prejudice, and to reaffirm our commitment to the principles of democracy, tolerance, and inclusion,” said Dean Trantalis, Mayor of Fort Lauderdale and chair of the summit. “It is within our cities, on the streets of our communities, that we can make a tangible difference in the fight against the world’s oldest forms of hatred.”
Other notable participants in the summit included Justin Bibb, Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio; Edward A. Caban, New York Police Department Commissioner; Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade County; Frank Scott Jr., Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas; Brett Smiley, Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island; Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond, Virginia; and Francis X. Suarez, Mayor of Miami, Florida.
“Mayors have a unique ability to confront antisemitism at the local level, where it is most directly felt,” said Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement. “At a time when antisemitism is at an all-time high following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, we are proud of these leaders for joining us to make the commitment that Antisemitism has no place in their cities.”
Source: Arutz 7