On July 6th, AJC announced the launch of "Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism." Through this AJC initiative, U.S. mayors sign a statement pledging to advance respectful coexistence in their own communities, call upon their European counterparts to sign on to affirm that anti-Semitism is incompatible with fundamental democratic values, publicly address anti-Semitism in their communities and take action against this mounting crisis.
This initiative was conceived and initiated by AJC’s Boston office in cooperation with Mayor Setti Warren of Newton, Massachusetts who sought a mechanism to mobilize and engage U.S. mayors on this issue. This effort is both timely and critical as this is a defining moment for both the global Jewish community and for all who cherish free, democratic societies. Anti-Semitism has long been democracy’s canary in the coal mine. While the Jewish community is the intended target, we all know that this kind of vitriol and violence knows no boundaries and quickly engulfs other vulnerable minorities here in the United States and around the world. It is a virus that not only attacks Jews, but the institutions that safeguard all free people. As French Prime Minister Manual Valls said about his own country, “History has taught us that the awakening of anti-Semitism is the symptom of a crisis for democracy and of a crisis for the Republic. That is why we must respond with force.”
In the early Fall, AJC will publish and publicize the statement and full list of signatories and will share the document with legislators, diplomats, and European government officials. AJC volunteers around the country are working throughout the summer to obtain mayoral signatures and have been very successful. So far, over 140 mayors and municipal leaders, representing more than 50 million people, have signed the statement.
To date, 12 mayors in New Jersey, representing nearly a half a million residents, have signed the statement. Many of those mayors have also posed for photos, as Livingston Mayor, Michael Silverman did below, as a testament of their participation. I am privileged to be working with a wide variety of dedicated AJC volunteers throughout our state to solicit more mayoral signatures. If you are interested in joining us in this initiative as we press to increase the number of New Jersey mayoral signatures during August, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will coordinate with you. You can MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Pictured below from left: John Rosen, AJC NJ Area Director; Patricia Sebold, Freeholder, Essex County, NJ; Michael Silverman, Mayor, Livingston, NJ; Arthur Dubroff, Co-Chair, AJC NJ Legislative Advocacy Committee.
On Tuesday, June 30, our AJC New Jersey Diplomatic Outreach delegation had the privilege of meeting with Permanent Representative to the United Nations from The Republic of Panama, Ambassador Laura E. Flores, Ms. Dayanara Salazar, Chief of Staff, and Ms. Maria Teresa Petrocelli, Attaché at the AJC headquarters in New York City.
Over lunch, Ambassador Flores spoke extensively and encouragingly about the Jewish community in Panama, and her view that we live in a borderless world where problems do not stay in the region in which they were created. Her perspective therefore is very much of being a world citizen. In that context, the Ambassador was very receptive to our concerns about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iranian nuclear program, and anti-Semitism. A substantial focus of our conversation was responding to the Ambassador's questions on how we felt Panama could best facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Our message was unequivocal that a true and lasting peace must come from direct negotiations between the parties, and not declared unilaterally or imposed by world bodies like the United Nations.
AJC New Jersey looks forward to building and deepening our relationship, and as such, pledged to be a resource for information on the important issues on which the Ambassador recognized AJC is uniquely knowledgeable.