Wiesenthal Centre Breakthrough: Two Israeli Mayors Gain Membership in the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR)

"Of the sixteen Steering Committee members, 14 voted for, 2 abstained"

Liège, Belgium, 27 April 2018

The UNESCO-affiliated network of 150 European municipalities, ECCAR (European Coalition of Cities Against Racism), founded in 2004, at its annual Assembly in Liège, Belgium, today admitted its first two Israeli members. Of those present and voting members of the Steering Committee, 14 approved and two abstained.

(L-R) Shimon Samuels, Ruth Wasserman-Lande, Moti Dotan, Benedetto Zacchiroli, Naem Shibli and Graciela Vaserman-Samuels

ECCAR President, Benedetto Zacchiroli, was invited by Ruth Wasserman-Lande, Deputy Director General and Head of International Affairs of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, to attend the MUNIWORLD fair last February in Tel Aviv - attended by 100 Israeli and 150 Mayors worldwide.

Wiesenthal Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, with the support of the Snider Foundation, reached out to 12 Israeli municipalities in pursuing candidates for the European network. Those most interested were Mayors Moti Dotan of the Lower Galilee Regional Council and Naem Shibli of the Bedouin Galilee town of Shibli-Um Ghanem.

Wasserman, Dotan and Shibli each gave spirited descriptions of their municipal difficulties, movingly emphasizing their Jewish-Arab harmony as citizens of Israel.

Dr. Graciela Vaserman-Samuels, Advisor to the Director-General, and Linda Tinio-Le Douarin, Programme Specialist, represented UNESCO at the meeting.

This year’s General Assembly was devoted to racism in football. Samuels highlighted the Centre’s 11-Point Programme endorsed by the 35 members of the Organization of American States (OAS), the 23 legislatures of the PARLATINO (Latin American Paliament) and, last October, the 90 municipalities of Coalicion LAC (the Latin American and Caribbean counterpart of ECCAR).

Presentation of the "11 Points for Combatting Racism in Football" programme

Samuels also spoke of his work with UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) at the 2012 Cup in Poland and FIFA (the International Federation of Football Associations) to protest Palestinian football teams, tournaments and stadiums named after terrorists, “thus poisoning the minds of young people with Jew-hatred, destroying the hopes for peace.”

European Project Manager, Alex Uberti, distributed to the Mayors the Centre’s “Multifaith Calendar 2018” in both English and French.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33 609 770 158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).