Poland's mayors say 'no' to racism
The mayors of several cities across Poland have signed a joint statement declaring a "zero tolerance" policy towards racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.
The representatives from Warsaw, Poznań, Gdańsk and Bialystok attended a conference at the American Jewish Committee called "No to Hatred: Cities Facing Ethnic and Religious Prejudice", held at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw.
The dignitaries took part in a discussion panel on anti-Semitic and racist incidents they encountered in their cities, and the ways in which they had tried to combat these phenomena.
The conference was launched by Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, who said that incidents of aggression stemming from nationalism, ethnicity and religion had started to occur more often.
"One of our duties is to oppose this type of hatred. The coming years will be a time of trial for many people. You have to react," said Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
Agnieszka Markiewicz, director of AJC Central Europe, stressed that there could be no acceptance of anti-Semitism.
"It is necessary to take action at various levels. What happens locally determines whether we live in a friendly space."
She, however, praised the efforts made by the mayors of Poland's major cities to combat anti-Semitism and racism and their attempts to build tolerance and respect among their residents.
Among the hundreds of participants were Israel's ambassador to Poland Anna Azari, Polish parliamentarians and Warsaw municipal officials, foreign diplomats, mayors from all over Poland and representatives of Poland’s Jewish community.