Mayor Denis Coderre, Jewish leaders team up to fight anti-Semitism
The brutal attacks on Charlie Hebdo and then on the kosher market in France last February compelled Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre to take action.
Following his Living Together Summit earlier this month when 22 mayors from cities around the world converged on this city to talk about keeping cities safe, a round table on anti-Semitism was born.
“Anti-Semitism exists [and] we have to denounce it, we have to talk against it,” he said.
Montreal has not been spared – there have been attacks and troubling hate crimes perpetrated here.
Serge Dahan, the president of B'nai Brith France, says we can and should learn from one another, sooner rather than later.
“In France, we've gone from graffiti to murder,” he said.
The House of Commons in Ottawa recently voted unanimously in favour of a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, and it specifically mentioned the role that municipalities play in curbing the problem.
“They have the most direct with people, they're engaged in the whole civil society,” said Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.
The mayor suggested a new hate crimes division could be created within Montreal’s police department and emphasized better integration of newcomers and stemming the tide of hate speech on social media.
Coderre and others echoed the words of the prime minister of France, who said anti-Israel rhetoric sometimes incites anti-Semitism.
“Unfortunately the hatred of Israel becomes an excuse for the victimization of Jews,” said Luciano Del Negro of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
Cotler commended Coderre for taking on the responsibility of tackling this issue, pointing out it’s not just Jews who have the duty to prevent hatred.
“The combating of anti-Semitism is something we do in the name of all of us for the larger purpose of pursuing justice,” he said.