Preventing Violent Extremism
Addressing antisemitism through education
Antisemitism is a security issue for Jewish communities and individuals in regions across the world and the driving force of a range of violent extremist ideologies. Like all forms of intolerance and discrimination, antisemitism has a profound impact on the whole of society, undermining democratic values and human rights. In recent years, the changing geopolitical climate and media environment have led to a situation where open antisemitism is no longer confined to extremist circles and has become increasingly mainstreamed.
Addressing antisemitism through education is therefore both an immediate security imperative and a long-term educational investment to promote human rights and global citizenship.
During the UNESCO High-Level event “The power of education to prevent racism and discrimination: the case of antisemitism”, at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary General of the United Nations recognized the important role of education in preventing antisemitism and identified four priorities:
- First, “to recognize antisemitism as a problem to be addressed internationally”;
- Second, “to develop education programmes that address antisemitism in a framework of human rights and global citizenship”;
- Third, “to build the capacity of educational systems to address antisemitism, conspiracy theories and all other forms of hate speech” ;
- Fourth, an increased investment in social cohesion.
In line with these priorities, UNESCO collaborates with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to identify gaps and promote effective practices, key policies and pedagogies to address antisemitism through and in education.
Guidance for policymakers
UNESCO and the OSCE have jointly developed a policy guide, entitled Addressing anti-Semitism through Education – Guidelines for Policymakers, which was first presented to the 28 Ministers of Education meeting at the Council of the European Union on 22 May 2018 and was launched on 4 June 2018 at UNESCO Headquarters. The policy guide suggests concrete ways to address antisemitism through education, within a human rights framework. It also provides policymakers with tools and guidance to ensure that education systems build the resilience of young people to antisemitic ideas and ideologies and all forms of intolerance and discrimination.
For more information, get an overview of the policy guide’s main recommendations via this leaflet or access the full publication. The policy guide is also available in French, German, Arabic, Russian and Hungarian.
Training for policymakers
Building on the these guidelines, UNESCO and OSCE, with the support of the World Jewish Congress, is organizing a series of international capacity-building workshops for policymakers. A first workshop took place from 21-22 May 2019 in Warsaw, Poland, followed by a second workshop from 10-11 July 2019 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The workshops were attended by policymakers and education specialists from 41 countries, representing all UNESCO regions.
- Testimony Speaks: Countering Antisemitism
USC Shoah Foundation’s Countering Antisemitism Through Testimony Program integrates contemporary personal stories of witnesses to antisemitism into outreach, education and research programs to help counter antisemitism today. Newly recorded testimonies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States are being used to engage audiences to develop their understanding of antisemitism as a dangerous form of hate and one of several facets of hatred that threaten all of humanity. In 2013, USC named Executive Director Stephen Smith the UNESCO Chair in Genocide Education.