Antisemitism

Antisemitic manifestations and incidents, from tacit, covert and coded forms to discriminatory behavior, to harassment and to violence are ongoing and pose serious challenges that affect whole societies. Antisemitism not only affects Jewish people, individually or collectively, but, as an ideology based on hate and prejudice, it attacks the fabric of societies, threatening the realization of all people’s human rights and the overall security of states where it occurs. Antisemitism also violates the right to freedom of religion or belief.

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief explores the global phenomenon of antisemitism – prejudice against, or hatred of, Jews – and its impact on the right to freedom of religion or belief of Jewish individuals and communities worldwide. Read more in the Special Rapporteur’s September 2019 report (A/74/358) on antisemitism.

Recent activities

23 June 2020
The Special Rapporteur participated in the UNESCO’s Webinar Series on Combating Racism, Discrimination and Exclusion in the Current Pandemic on “Addressing antisemitism at the time of COVID-19”. The pandemic has triggered a fast-spreading epidemic of hate speech and misinformation, including clearly antisemitic conspiracy theories. In the early months of the pandemic, the World Jewish Congress recorded a 30% increase in antisemitic content on social media. The webinar examined together with different experts on these disturbing trends and key challenges; and sought possible solutions to combat antisemitism in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It also stressed that youth engagement is key to counter the rise of antisemitism spurred on by COVID-19.

9 June 2020
“Muslims and Jews have much in common, in religion, in history, and in culture. It is politics, feeding off ignorance, that divides us,” said the Special Rapporteur in an online event on “How Muslims and Jews Can Combat Antisemitism Together” co-hosted by Combat Anti-Semitism with the American Sephardi Federation and the Muslim World League. The event featured a panel of human rights experts, and faith leaders alongside a special address from Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa, Secretary-General of Muslim World League.

2 June 2020
The Special Rapporteur participated in an online forum for Special Envoys & Coordinators Combating Antisemitism (SECCA) hosted by the World Jewish Congress, and stressed that “cognitive liberation from ignorance” is the first step in combating antisemitism worldwide. The expert also reminded that the UN Rabat Plan of Action on combatting hate speech alongside the Istanbul Process are useful tools to be used at institutional level.

4 May 2020
The World Jewish Congress hosted a WebTalk featuring the Special Rapporteur to discuss about his work in mainstreaming efforts to combat antisemitism.

26 April 2020
The Special Rapporteur participated in an online event“A Year Since Poway: Lessons from the Synagogue Shooting Heard Around the World” organized by Combat Anti-Semitism. The event paid special tribute to Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was tragically killed in the attack. See a short video of “Remember the Poway Shooting”.

16 December 2019
The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies together with OHCHR, the mandate of freedom of religion or belief, UNESCO, OSCE | ODIHR and the World Jewish Congress jointly organized the public panel discussion on "Different Approaches to Promoting Tolerance through Education". The panel discussion explored the similarities and differences in both the needs for, and possible approaches to, using education as a vehicle to promote tolerance and create an inclusive space for all.

16-17 December 2019
UNESCO, OSCE | ODIHR, World Jewish Congress, OHCHR and the mandate of freedom of religion or belief co-organized international workshop on “The role of education in addressing antisemitism”. Educational systems represent an essential component to address antisemitism and other forms of prejudice. These systems play a crucial role in building students’ resilience against prejudice and discrimination and in fostering an inclusive climate in schools that is respectful of human rights and human dignity. For education to fulfill its role in combating antisemitism, specific curricula and school management policies need to be in place, as well as hands-on guidance for educators on how to effectively address antisemitism. The workshop brought together policymakers and education specialists from 62 countries.

Learn more about the first and second workshop of the series.

28 May 2019
UNESCO and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief hosted a one-day expert consultation meeting on antisemitism at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The meeting was part of a series of international consultation meetings organized by the UN Special Rapporteur in view of his report to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.