In response to the increase in global hatred and anti-Semitism, this evening the chair of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, Haim Bibas, together with Gabriel Groisman, Mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida, U.S. and Uwe Becker, Mayor of Frankfort-am-Main, Federal Republic of Germany, declared the establishment of an international coalition of mayors for the struggle against hatred, anti-Semitism and the BDS movement.

This is an exceptional declaration, in the framework of which mayors in Israel and around the world commit to take global responsibility for addressing the issue of anti-Semitism.

Mayors unite against anti-Semitism
Mayors unite against anti-Semitism

The mayors committed to a number of actions:

1. Holding an annual meeting, each year in a different location, in order to further its goals.

2. Taking concrete steps, each mayor in his jurisdiction, to raise awareness about this issue in formal and informal education systems and to encourage the reporting of violent incidents.

3. Considering the possibility of passing relevant legislation on the issue.

4. Investigating ways to unite against the rise of fanaticism and extremism around the world.

"We unequivocally condemn all forms of hatred, prejudice and contempt that have permeated our society. 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, which was signed this evening by many mayors. The declaration of the establishment of the international coalition took place as part of the local authorities' conference on innovation, MUNI-EXPO 2019, which is a meeting place of mayors from Israel and abroad. Prominent mayors who participated in the declaration include the mayor of Frankfurt, who this month began a campaign against anti-Semitism, and the mayor of Pittsburgh, where the massacre at the local synagogue took place. Additional prominent mayors from capitals around the world: Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay; Belgrade, the capital of Serbia; Kiev, the capital of Ukraine; Taipei, the capital of Taiwan; Tirana, the capital of Albania; Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, and more.

"What connects us is not our religion or nationality, but the fact that we have zero tolerance for hatred and violence, and it is our duty to end the intentional violence against our residents, and work to improve their lives regardless of their religion or nationality, said Haim Bibas, chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel and the Mayor of Modi`in-Maccabim-Reut.

Mayor Gabriel Groisman, of Bal Harbour, Florida, USA, is a national leader in the fight against antisemitism and the antisemitic BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) movement, who famously wrote and passed the first municipal anti-BDS ordinance, and the first codification of a unified definition of antisemitism in the United States. Mayor Groisman stated, “Given the meteoric rise of hatred and antisemitism around the world, everyone must play a role in this important fight. As mayors, we share a bond and a goal of making the lives of our residents better on all fronts. 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.”

Mayor Ewe Becker of Frankfurt, Germany, who has made a name for himself around the world for standing up against hate and extremism, stated: “This common initiative of international mayors against the antisemitism and the BDS movement is a strong signal of solidarity with the State of Israel and a clear message against antisemitism and those, who try to spread hate against Jews in the world. I am glad to start this initiative together with Haim Bibas, the Chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel and Mayor of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and Gabriel Groisman, the Mayor of Bal Harbour, who is a strong voice for Jewish life in the world