Religions and Spirituality

Somers Resolves to Stamp Out Anti-Semitism

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SOMERS, N.Y. - The town of Somers has joined the growing list of communities nationwide to approve a resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

The resolution, titled “Mayors United to Fight Anti-Semitism,” was unanimously approved by the Town Board on July 14. A campaign was launched in July 2015 by the AJC (American Jewish Committee), which called on mayors and municipal leaders in the United States to sign a statement to publicly address and take action against anti-Semitism in their communities.

To date, more than 350 municipal leaders from all 50 states representing nearly 86 million people have signed on, along with nearly 200 European municipal leaders from 31 countries representing more than 70 million people.

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Shirley Kesselman of Tamar Hadassah said she brought the resolution to the Somers Town Board’s attention after seeing ads paid for by the AJC in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The ads listed the New York communities that had passed the resolutions.

“We didn’t see Somers,” Keselman said. “So we thought that Somers should be listed and wrote a letter to the Town Board saying we’d like to meet with the supervisor. They said it would be no problem at all. We were thrilled that it passed. It makes people aware that our municipal leaders are aware of the rising tide of anti-Semitism throughout the world and they’ve united to fight anti-Semitism.”

The resolution states that municipal leaders have a “responsibility to speak out against the growing menace of anti-Semitism,” and listed several requirements:

  • Condemn anti-Jewish hatred in all its forms;
  • Reject the notion that anti-Semitic acts, while sometimes carried out in the name of a political cause, may ever be justified or excused by one’s opinions about the actions or existence of the State of Israel;
  • Declare that prejudices against Jews or others due to differences in religious faith are inconsistent with our core values;
  • Support government efforts directed at eradicating anti-Semitism and preventing extremist indoctrination and recruitment; and support expanded education programs, including Holocaust programs, that increase awareness and counter intolerance and discrimination;
  • Recognize the ever-present need to be vigilant about efforts to prevent and reports acts of anti-Semitism and other hate crimes; and
  • Believe that communities that promote a climate of mutual understanding and respect among all citizens are essential to good governance and democratic life.

“I applaud the effort, and any type of discrimination is abhorrent,” Supervisor Rick Morrissey said at the July 14 meeting. “I’m sure the board all feels the same way.”

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