Present changes in the geopolitical  context and technological advances have allowed antisemitism to go beyond extremist groups. Concerned with this new landscape UNESCO, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) set up the project  Turning Words into Action to Address Anti-Semitism to identify the elements used by extremists to justify antisemitism as an attempt to develop strategies to tackle them with education.


                         According to UNESCO, the best way to prevent attacks and discrimination is educating society to effectively tackle this problem. With this project, UNESCO is providing educators with tools to challenge antisemitism and it is also providing training to policymakers through the document Addressing antisemitism through Education – Guidelines for Policymakers. The guide that was released this year is full of suggestions of approaches and guidelines to foster youth resistance to intolerance and discrimination.


                        This guide offers some recommendations on how to address antisemitism in schools, especially with respect to the study of Holocaust, which has been denied by many extremist groups.  At the same time, the guide also seeks to help policymakers’ approach against antisemitism, encouraging them to develop legislation that highlights the role played by education on this matter. The document also underscores the importance of social cohesion, especially among schools, Jewish communities and diverse groups.


                       In the Jewish community, synagogues, schools and cemeteries have been suffering attacks and depredations. With this project, UNESCO wants to state clear that education can neutralise narratives that have been inciting hate towards Jews, and that in partnership with schools, policymakers will be able to create a network of tolerance and equality that eventually will prevent further attacks.


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By Barbara Lopes (Brazil / UFRJ)