Five Positive Stories From the Global Fight Against Antisemitism in February 2023
The Combat Antisemitism Movement publishes a regular feature highlighting “good news” in the fight against the world’s oldest hatred.
Here are five such stories from February 2023:
The United Arab Emirates inaugurated the Abrahamic Family House, a religious complex containing a synagogue, a mosque, and a church, in the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi.
The UAE’s President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed credited the opening of the first purpose-built synagogue in the UAE to the country’s history of diversity.
“The UAE has a proud history of people from diverse communities working together to create new possibilities,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter. “As the [Abrahamic Family House] in Abu Dhabi is inaugurated, we remain committed to harnessing the power of mutual respect, understanding and diversity to achieve shared progress.”
Following the shootings of two Jewish men near synagogues in Los Angeles, California, city leaders and community members came together for a town hall meeting to address the issue of rising antisemitic hatred.
Around 400 people attended the meeting, which was held in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, where the attacks occurred. It was organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
“Today we’re not just here to stand in solidarity against last week’s shootings,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “We’re here locked arms against all forms of hate, bigotry, and discrimination, because antisemitism goes against the values of our city and goes against our humanity.”
I joined Angelenos in Pico-Robertson tonight for a town hall to hear directly from the Jewish community in the wake of recent shootings.
Let it be clear: Los Angeles will always stand in solidarity against anti-Semitism and hate. pic.twitter.com/D0zxpDdXBJ
— Mayor Karen Bass (@MayorOfLA) February 21, 2023
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill making the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism the state’s official definition of anti-Jewish bias and discrimination.
This made Arkansas the 31st state to adopt or endorse the definition, according to the CAM Antisemitism Research Center.
Germany held a ceremony to celebrate the first German-Jewish sites to be given UNESCO’s World Heritage designation.
The sites in the upper part of the Rhine River Valley are known as the origin point of Ashkenazi culture and where the Yiddish language first began to develop over 1,000 years ago. They were recognized by UNESCO, the United Nations’ education and cultural body, in July 2021, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed Germany’s celebration of the designation.
UNESCO recognized the Speyer Jewry-Court, a synagogue and yeshiva complex in the city of Speyer; the Worms Synagogue Compound; the Old Jewish Cemetery of Worms, the oldest known in-situ Jewish cemetery in Europe; and the Old Jewish Cemetery of Mainz.
“The unique community canters and cemeteries have had a lasting impact on the material Ashkenazic culture and are directly and tangibly associated with the creative achievements of the early Ashkenazic scholars,” UNESCO’s listing explains.
The Barcelona City Council approved a resolution calling for the “urgent and immediate” restoration the “twin city” agreement with Tel Aviv that was unilaterally severed earlier in February by Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who accused the State of Israel of practicing “apartheid” against the Palestinians.
The non-binding measure rejecting Colau’s move was supported by the Socialists’ Party of Catalonia (PSC), a member of the mayor’s governing coalition, as well as the opposition Together for Catalonia (JxCat), Citizens – Party of the Citizenry (Cs), Barcelona for Change (Valents), and People’s Party of Catalonia (PPC).
Colau’s own Barcelona en Comú (BeC), as well as the opposition Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), voted against the measure.
Despite its passage, the resolution was largely symbolic in nature, and the prospects for the ultimate restoration of “twin city” ties with Tel Aviv appear to depend on the results of the upcoming Barcelona municipal elections in May, in which Colau is seeking a third term in office.