American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced today the launch of a 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.
“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. “By launching this joint effort on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we recall the darkest period of genocide against the Jewish people, and the constant need for vigilance to guard against any and all forms of antisemitism.”
“In the last few years we have seen a significant increase in hate crimes directed at individuals and institutions based on faith, with the biggest increase among these incidents having been those directed at Jews,” said Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “We have always called on mayors to speak out against hate crimes when they occur, and the statement we are inviting mayors to sign today provides a way for them to register their opposition to the dramatic increase in antisemitism we have experienced in our country and work together to reverse it.”
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%).
In 2015, U.S. mayors from all 50 states issued a call to action to combat antisemitism in Europe. That AJC initiative also included mayors from across Europe. A two-page AJC ad in The Wall Street Journal, in June 2016, listed the 508 U.S. and European mayors and municipal leaders who pledged to combat the rise of antisemitism by signing the Mayors United Against Antisemitism initiative.
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.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee