Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse speaks often and proudly to her roots. The child of Holocaust survivors and Jewish immigrants, Bosse is no stranger to antisemitism and the harmful effects of hate speech. After a recent litany of antisemitic incidents, including the words of Kanye West, anti-Jewish signs and flyers, Bosse has been raising the alarm.
Speaking out against hate is important to the mayor. She has also led protests against Iran’s morality police, who were responsible for the September murder of Masha Amini.
“I am always out there speaking out against hate, and I think it’s all our responsibility as human beings,” she said. “We are one human race, and we have that humanity to understand … when we see hatred, when we hear hatred, that we counteract it in every way possible, because that’s the only way that we can ensure – not only for us, but for generations to come – that we don’t destroy each other, that we only thrive.”
Bosse appeared on the Dec. 6 episode of “Dr. Phil” as part of a panel speaking out against the wave of antisemitic incidents.
“As a child of a Holocaust survivor myself … my mother survived the death camp, Auschwitz,” Bosse said on the program. “And because of her religion, millions of people were exterminated and nobody spoke out. And even though Kanye and others are spewing hatred and are saying this is free speech, this is the First Amendment … this is how it starts, because it becomes hate speech, and what we have to do is exactly what you are doing here. This is humanity. We are fighting for the soul of humanity here. So, this is important. People need to see that this is not just about Judaism in this instance, it’s antisemitism. Anyone can be next.”
Bosse was impressed with the respect “Dr. Phil” paid to the issue.
“I thought the show was done very respectfully, and with the dignity that the topics deserved. And I felt that it really educated the viewership on how … this hatred really knows no bounds,” she said.
Bosse also spoke to the reach the television show has.
“I received so many emails, and apparently the city also got calls from all over,” she said. “My first one came from somebody in Canada. [She] sent me an email and said that she had watched it, and apparently she was a child of a Holocaust survivor, as well. And then I got emails from Boston, from Chicago, from Minnesota, all over the United States.”
Additionally, Bosse joined an international mayoral summit in Athens, Greece, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, in which mayors from around the world banded together, partnering with the Combat Antisemitism Movement, to engage in ideas on how to fight antisemitism.
“I stood side by side with mayors from Poland, Vienna, and Austria and Sweden and Germany and Romania. [We were in a place where] so much of World War II happened. To be on the soil in Europe, standing beside the leadership of the cities where so much of this hatred and mass genocide happened was very, very, very powerful to me,” she said.
During the event, the mayors were invited to participate in the annual holiday lighting ceremony in Athens. Bosse stood with the international coalition against antisemitism on a stage in front of thousands of people. In a nod to the importance of the voice Beverly Hills has around the world, the mayor noted that when she was announced, the city received the largest cheer from the audience.
“That was very powerful, as well, to see how thrilled that the people in Athens felt that Beverly Hills was there,” she said.
In meeting with other mayors, Bosse noted ways she learned that other cities have been able to stop antisemitic violence.
“We had the mayor of New York there, Eric Adams, who has a tremendously huge Jewish population,” she said. “[He] shared that it was social media, actually, that helped help them stop a mass killing that was going to happen. Their intelligence saw [on] social media there was somebody who had threatened to shoot up a synagogue, and [they] went in and found that this person did have the guns and the ammunition, [and] that was indeed the intention there.”
Speaking to next steps in fighting hate against Jewish people, the mayor highlighted the need for more municipalities around the world to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism as well as a larger discussion around the difference between free speech and hate speech.
“For me, it’s a very, very fine line because we see that hate speech has led to violence, we see it back in history, and we see it now in front of us,” she said.
Bosse stated her intentions to stay in the fight.
“Anytime somebody is oppressed – no matter what religion they are, whatever skin color they have, whatever sexual preference they have – we are one. We are connected to them,” she said. “And we have the responsibility and the duty to be their voice and to be the voice of the voiceless who are no longer here because of hate. We all have to. And I will always do it, and I will go anywhere, anytime to do that. And I have no fear to do it. It only gives me strength.”
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