Simon Wiesenthal Center Urges President Obama to Convene Summit on Anti-Semitism

Thirteen Diverse New York Elected Leaders Invoke the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. to Inspire a New Coalition Against History’s Oldest Hate

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, unveiled the Center’s 2015 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents. “Last year was a disastrous year. We are confronting an unprecedented and toxic combination of terrorist threats, an online sub-culture of hate and theologically and ideologically fueled anti-Semitism. … To defeat anti-Semitism, we need to build new coalitions. Today’s remarkable turnout representing the full diversity of the great City of New York, is an important step in the right direction, but we need to do more… we call on President Obama to convene a summit on anti-Semitism in the coming months.”

Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the New York City Council Jewish Caucus and the chairman of the event, said, “with an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents around New York City and across the globe, it is more important than ever to denounce such hate and build coalitions based on compassion and mutual understanding. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (“Center”) shines a light on anti-Semitic acts around the world in order to raise awareness about hate-fueled attacks against Jews with their annual list of “Top Ten Worst Global Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents."

“As we hit upon the dawn of Dr. King’s birthday, we remember he taught us that if good men and women fail to speak out, then hatred will never be defeated,” said Assembly Member Walter Mosely (D-Brooklyn). “Dr. King wasn’t just about a dream, but about acts and solidarity.”

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Top Ten are but the tip of the iceberg, but they reveal that the mega-events start with hate at home and on the streets. If we’re not careful they can turn into the new normal,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Queens).

Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn) spoke emotionally “… as a son of Holocaust survivors, I was raised to respect every human being, whatever their race, nationality, religion or creed. Today’s event is a reminder of the need for New Yorkers to work together and speak out against all hate crimes.”

Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn) denounced the so-called BDS movement that lobbies for the boycott of the Jewish State: “I remember visiting the pediatric ward of a hospital in Israel, in which a Haitian child who survived the earthquake, but suffered from a disease that couldn’t be treated in Haiti was recovering. Lying alongside him were Jewish, Arab and other youngsters from around the world. That is the true face of Israel, which I will always cherish and seek to protect.”

“Echoing sentiments expressed by every speaker, an attack against a Jewish person is an attack against all of us,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Brooklyn Council Delegation. “The NYPD informed me that Jews are the number one victims of hate crimes in New York City. We will continue to march with other groups so that no one: no Jew, Christian or Muslim has to be afraid.”

Council Member Barry Grodenchik (D-Queens) referred to the historic fact that “my district, which includes Flushing, Queens, was the community that first invited persecuted minorities to settle in what was then the New World. Now in 2016, we are again confronted with that same persecution.”

State Assembly Member David I. Weprin (D-Queens) said: “Seventy years after the Holocaust, it’s hard to believe these incidents are happening. Hate crimes are also targeting other minorities in my district who’ve come from as far away as South Asia.”

Council Member Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan) spoke of the unique solidarity and friendship that Holocaust survivors who reached safe haven in Shanghai during World War II have established with elderly Chinese immigrants who are now residents in New York.

Among the other attendees at the press conference were Council Member Andrew Cohen, Council Member Daniel Garodnick, Council Member David Greenfield, Mark Weitzman, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Governmental Affairs and Michael Cohen, the Eastern Director of the Wiesenthal Center.

[PHOTO 1]: (l-r) Council Member Rory I. Lancman, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Assembly Member Walter Mosely, Council Member Barry Grodenchik, Council Member Andrew Cohen, Mark Weitzman, Council Member Mark Levine, Council Member Chaim Deutsch, Michael Cohen

[PHOTO 2]: (l-r) Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Assembly Member Walter Mosely,Mark Weitzman, Council Member Mark Levine

[PHOTO 3]: (l-r) Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Assembly Member David I. Weprin, speaking at the podium Council Member Mathieu Eugene, behind him Assembly Member Walter Mosely, Mark Weitzman, Council Member Mark Levine

[PHOTO 4]: (l-r) Assembly Member David I. Weprin, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Assembly Member Walter Mosely, Council Member Margaret Chin, Mark Weitzman, Council Member Mark Levine, Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Michael Cohen

[PHOTO 5]: (l-r) Council Member David Greenfield, Council Member Daniel Garodnick, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Council Member Rory I. Lancman, Assembly Member Walter Mosely, Council Member Mark Levine, Mark Weitzman, Council Member Chaim Deutsch, Council Member Andrew Cohen, Council Member Mark Treyger, Michael Cohen

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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).