London Mayor Boris Johnson signs up to AJC antisemitism pledge
Following an invitation by the Board of Deputies, London Jewish Forum and the CST, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has signed up to the AJC’s ‘Mayors United Against Antisemitism’ initiative. Vice President Marie van der Zyl said: “We applaud Mayor Boris Johnson’s recognition of this worthy initiative. We are heartened by his determination to ensure that the Jewish community in London is able to continue to express itself in all its vibrancy and vitality within a secure environment.”
AJC Press Release:
January 25, 2016 – New York – London Mayor Boris Johnson has signed on to Mayors United Against Antisemitism, an AJC initiative calling on municipal leaders across Europe to publicly address and take concrete actions against rising antisemitism.
“However it manifests itself, antisemitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified,” said Mayor Johnson. “In London we have a large and visible Jewish population, which makes a massive contribution to our city’s success, and as mayor I take this issue very seriously.
“We are working closely with the Jewish community and the police to tackle the problem and it is important for mayors to stand shoulder to shoulder to condemn and challenge antisemitism, which, like all forms of religious or racial discrimination, has no place in our cities.”
Johnson is the first mayor in the United Kingdom to join the campaign of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organisation. Mayors United Against Antisemitism was launched in the United States in July, and expanded to Europe in the Autumn. To date, more than 30 European mayors and 309 mayors and municipal leaders from 47 states across the U.S. have signed the statement.
“Mayor Johnson’s leadership in unequivocally confronting the antisemitism scourge is admirable, and reinforces Britain’s democratic values,” said AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris. “Antisemitism is a cancer that, left unchecked, will metastasise and threaten to destroy the democratic and pluralistic nature of Europe, a portent that Mayor Johnson so clearly recognises.”
Harris thanked AJC’s British Jewish partners – the Board of Deputies, Community Security Trust and London Jewish Forum – for reaching out, together with AJC, to Mayor Johnson. “We look forward to other municipal leaders across the United Kingdom joining Mayors United Against Antisemitism,” Harris said.
To date, mayors in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania have signed on to the Mayors United Against Antisemitism statement.
The statement calls upon “mayors, municipal leaders and other officials in Europe to join us in affirming that antisemitism is not compatible with fundamental democratic values.” It emphasises that “in a world of global communications where antisemitic ideas can and do spread quickly, the impact of the rise of antisemitism in Europe does not stop at Europe’s borders.”
The Mayors United Against Antisemitism statement affirms a core set of principles, including the condemnation of anti-Jewish hatred in all forms; rejection of the notion that antisemitic acts may ever be justified by one’s view on the actions or existence of the State of Israel; a declaration that antisemitism and any prejudices due to religious differences are inconsistent with core democratic values; and the belief that the promotion of mutual understanding and respect among all citizens is essential to good governance and democratic life.
The statement pledges a commitment to working within and across European and American communities to advance the values of respectful coexistence, and to affirm that antisemitism is incompatible with fundamental democratic values.
The original AJC press release is available here.