Standing before hundreds of mayors from Europe, Israel and the United States, Mayor Gabriel Groisman of Bal Harbour, Florida, was joined by Mayor Uwe Becker of Frankfurt, Germany and Mayor Haim Bibas of Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut, Israel, in announcing the launch of Global Mayors Coalition Against Hate, Anti-semitism and BDS.
The new alliance was announced in Tel Aviv Wednesday evening at the Muni-Expo 2019, the annual international municipal conference. Hosted by the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, Mayors Bibas, Becker and Groisman, along with mayors from Argentina, Spain, Israel, and the United States, determined in a private meeting “the need to have a unified and strong approach to put an end to hate, discrimination, anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitic movements such as BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement].”
According to a press release provided by Mayor Groisman’s office, “the coalition was the brainchild of Mayors Groisman, Becker and Bibas after various discussions about how to combat the rise of bigotry at the municipal level. Importantly, the initiative is not affiliated with any outside organization, but is instead simply an initiative by mayors, for mayors.”
“Given the meteoric rise of hatred and anti-Semitism 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,” explained Groisman. “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, anti-Semitism included.”
Groisman has been a national — and now international — leader in combating anti-Semitism. In December 2017, Bal Harbour, Florida became the first municipality in the U.S. to implement an ordinance that provides law enforcement with a definition of anti-Semitism, enabling them to investigate such incidents as hate crimes.
In 2015, the Bal Harbour Village Council passed an ordinance “prohibiting the Village from entering into agreements with businesses that boycott a person or entity based in or doing business with an Open Trade Jurisdiction such as Israel and requiring businesses to pledge not to engage in such a boycott during agreements with the Village.” As of the start of 2018, approximately 35 cities have followed Bal Harbour’s lead and passed legislation prohibiting the municipality from doing business with or investing in entities that boycott the Jewish state.
If Groisman has a European equal, it is Mayor Becker of Frankfurt, Germany. Becker has earned a reputation as the mayor who stands up against hate and extremism.
“This common initiative of international mayors against the anti-Semitism and the BDS movement is a strong signal of solidarity with the State of Israel and a clear message against anti-Semitism and those who try to spread hate against Jews in the world,” Becker stated. “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 Gabe Groisman, the mayor of Bal Harbour, who is a strong voice for Jewish life in the world.”