Erasmus+: Launch of new international project to combat antisemitism through education
Today marks the launch of a new two-year project to address antisemitism in Europe through education. The project will be financed by the Erasmus+ programme and implemented by UNESCO in partnership with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Following the project's launch, UNESCO and its partners will work through tailored activities with national authorities of EU Member States to assist them as they develop the educational dimension of their National Plans on Combating Antisemitism. At the moment of the lunch, 11 countries have officially confirmed their participation. They are Austria, Belgium (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany (Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein), Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.
The project is expected to deliver a series of outputs, including national in-person training events for teacher trainers; policy-makers and civil society organisations; and thematic online webinars for teacher trainers and educators from all EU Member States. The aim is to support teachers and educators to counter conspiracy theories and antisemitism in the classroom. The project will also help to assess national curricula and the quality of school textbooks with regard to antisemitism in Europe, and the current preparedness of teachers before producing recommendations for policy-makers at national and regional level.
Education has an important role to play in raising young people's awareness in relation to prejudices, extremist narratives, conspiracy thinking, and ideologies that drive discrimination and hatred. Erasmus+ features the promotion of inclusion and diversity among its overarching priorities, thereby contributing to social cohesion and to strengthening European identity and fostering European Union values. This project also supports the educational dimension of the EU Strategy for Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life.
Antisemitism is worryingly on the rise in Europe and beyond. A survey of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows that currently nine out of ten (89%) Jews feel an increasing hatred and discrimination in their country, with 44% of young Jewish Europeans experiencing antisemitic harassment. The survey also shows that 62% of Jews have seen or heard non-Jewish people suggest that the Holocaust is a myth or has been exaggerated. In addition, according to the 2019 Eurobarometer on perceptions of antisemitism, 53% of Europeans perceive Holocaust denial as being a problem in their country.
In the European Union, hate speech relating to the condoning, denial or gross trivialisation of the Holocaust is prohibited under the Council Framework Decision on combatting Racism and Xenophobia.
In 2021, the European Commission adopted the first ever EU Strategy for combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish Life, which focuses on: preventing and combating all forms of antisemitism; protecting and fostering Jewish Life in the EU; and education, research and Holocaust remembrance. This is reinforced by the EU's international efforts to lead the global fight against antisemitism. As part of this EU Strategy, the Commission commissioned an independent expert report entitled “The field of research on contemporary antisemitism and Jewish life: Working towards a European research hub”, which was published on 31 March 2023.
Building more resilient and inclusive national education and training systems is one of the main objectives of the European Education Area. Actions aim to tackle inequalities already from early years, and to decouple status and background from educational attainment and achievement.
The Erasmus+ programme supports the objectives of the European Education Area framework and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
For More Information
More information on the new Erasmus+ financed UNESCO project is available online.
European Commission work on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights