NYC Mayor Adams is presented with the award by CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa
NYC Mayor Adams is presented with the award by CAM CEO Sacha Roytman DratwaGeorgiou Babis

New York Mayor Eric Adams lamented the increase in the popularity of antisemitism on Thursday at the opening of the 2022 Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism (MSAA) being hosted by the City of Athens, Greece.

The summit is attended by over 50 mayors and municipal leaders from across the globe.

Using an analogy of a boiling pot for antisemitism, Mayor Adams said, “The temperature is increasing ever so slightly that we have allowed it to normalize in every part of our lives. We have become accustomed to it; it has become popular.”

“Social media is the flames that continue to fuel the hatred that you are seeing,” Mayor Adams continued. “Those who are perpetrating hate should not have five million followers on social media when those who stand up for what is right only have 100,000 followers. They have organized to a level that is so dangerous at this time.”

President of the Hellenic Republic of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou spoke about the tools needed to combat antisemitism.

“At a time when antisemitism is growing worldwide, it is our moral duty to turn memory daily into action, to cultivate historical knowledge, to reflect on the causes that gave birth to Nazism, racism, antisemitism, and all kinds of racial, religious, and social prejudices," President Sakellaropoulou said.

Mayor of Athens and Summit Chair Kostas Bakoyannis spoke about his city’s recent past connection to the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, and how it should be a stark warning to others around the world.

“This event is not just an act of reflection, but also a generator of transformative action. The engine of evil is picking up apace. The threat of intolerance, hate and antisemitism is just an election away,” Mayor Bakoyannis said. “Tolerance, empathy, and respect, begin at home. In our communities, our towns, and our cities. At the grassroots. Summits such as this provide a valuable opportunity to share and learn from each other’s experiences in building more tolerant and resilient societies.”

Participating mayors, deputy mayors, and municipal officials from cities around the world include representatives of New York City, Vienna, Paris, Dortmund, Malmo, Albuquerque, Richmond, Ft. Lauderdale, Dresden, Jackson, Mississippi, Graz, Thessaloniki, and Bialystok, among others.

The Mayor’s Summit Against Antisemitism was held in partnership with the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), Center for Jewish Impact (CJI), and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

“This conference is unprecedented and vital. It is unprecedented, because we have never had so many local and municipal leaders in one place, sharing best practices and learning from each other on how to fight Jew-hatred,” said CEO of CAM Sacha Roytman Dratwa. “Antisemitism is increasing all over the world, so it is vital that the authorities closest to the ground are on the frontlines of combating antisemitism and fostering greater coexistence and tolerance between peoples and communities.”

Roytman Dratwa also presented Mayor Adams with the CAM Civic Leadership Award for his dedicated commitment to fighting antisemitism and religious bigotry of all forms.

“Mayor Adams knows the Jewish community intimately because he’s been on the ground for years building ties with them. He understands security threats precisely because he served in the NYPD for over two decades, and the Jewish community is facing large security challenges,” Roytman Dratwa said. “That is why we recognize Mayor Adams as an ally and a protector.”

"Mayors and delegations who came for this important summit in Athens are our brothers and sisters in arms, seeing you all in this hall is testament that unity is a powerful antidote in our duly battle against antisemitism and hate speech,” said Robert Singer, Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact and Member of the CAM Board of Governors. “While I don’t delude myself that we will completely eradicate antisemitism in this lifetime, it is still our duty to fight with all our might. Local leaders are well positioned to be on the frontlines of combating antisemitism, they are irreplaceable assets in any strategy to fight this scourge."