5 October, 2017

Action Day countering antisemitic hate speech 9- 10 November 2017

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Category: Antisemitism, Combating online hate, Racism, Religious Intolerance, Uncategorized
Menno Ettema
9 pm

logo_REDletters_2Action Day countering antisemitic hate speech

9 – 10 November 2017

Antisemitic hate speech undermines the fundaments of human rights and poses a direct threat to our democracy in Europe, found the participants of the seminar combatting antisemitic hate speech in May 2017.

Antisemitism[1] persists in many member states, confirms the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in its annual report 2016. In some countries politicians from across the political spectrum resort to antisemitic rhetoric when commenting on social and economic challenges aggravating the problems. Public condemnation of such rhetoric rarely occurs.

ECRI warns that an increasing dichotomy between “us” and “them” has developed in the public discourse of many countries. It seeks to exclude people on the basis of their skin colour, religion, language or ethnicity. This has affected both recently arrived migrants, and minority groups that have been long-established in Europe.

These trends, expressed through antisemitic and other forms of hate speech, threaten our human rights and democratic values and institutions. Campaign partners identified many examples of centuries old myths and conspiracy theories about Jewish influence on world affairs being invoked by xenophobe populist movement when criticizing established institutions, media companies and charities that act against discrimination and for Human Rights. The ‘Get the Trolls Out’ and ‘Facing Facts’ projects of MDI and CEJI provides some examples and tools to debunk them. Ultimately such hate speech undermines inclusive societies and acceptance of cultural differences that had been built up.


Antisemitic hate speech also has a direct impact on Jewish people living in Europe.

  • ECRI’s annual report 2016 finds that attacks against persons wearing the kippah or other visible Jewish symbols remain a serious concern. Antisemitism also manifested itself in acts of vandalism targeting Jewish institutions and monuments, such as the defacement of synagogues and the desecration of graves. The number of antisemitic attacks is growing warns ECRI, having doubled in 2014 compared to the previous year, it continued to rise ever since.
  •  According to a 2013 survey conducted by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) out of 6000 Jewish people 33% personally faced verbal or physical violence. The survey also showed that 66% of the Jewish population in Europe believes that antisemitism is a big problem in their country, and 76 % feel that the situation has worsened during the last five years. About 25 % of European Jews are afraid to go outside with symbols identifying them as Jews.
  • A report released by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe shows that 40% of European Jewry suppress Jewish identity due to antisemitism.


To show solidarity, strengthen human rights education, challenge holocaust denial, raise awareness and implement anti-discrimination legislation effectively is the only way forward, concluded the participants of the seminar. The report of the seminar combatting antisemitic hate speech provides:

  • Explanation about antisemitism and antisemitic hate speech, conspiracy theories and differentiation between antisemitism and criticism of Israel
  • Examples of projects addressing antisemitic hate speech by civil society organisations, Council of Europe and European Union.
  • Proposals for taking action on antisemitic hate speech by governments, NGO’s and individuals.


Everybody can and should combat antisemitism and antisemitic hate speech online and/or offline. Seminar participants recommended to:

  • Be critical and learn to recognize and respond to false statements by providing data from reliable sources;
  • Report antisemitic behaviour and antisemitic hate speech;
  • Initiate local events in cooperation with different organisations.
  • Use the opportunity of Action Days to promote human rights and counter hate speech;


Action Day countering antisemitic hate speech on 9 and 10 November

This Action Day calls out antisemitic hate speech and speaks up for Human rights and cultural diversity. It takes a two-step approach.

9 November[2] actions:

  • Raise awareness about the persistence of antisemitic hate speech, including within xenophobic, populist, and extremist discourses, and point out the dangers it represents to human rights and democratic values and the direct impact on people and institutions that uphold them.

10 November actions:

  • Express solidarity and demonstrate together the strength of cultural diversity and human rights.


Join in the action:

1 Raise awareness of persistence of antisemitism, myths and conspiracy theories about Jewish persons. Report them to Hate Speech Watch and provide counter argument to the content

2 Express solidarity, because antisimitic hate speech targets anyone that speaks for human rights, cultural diversity and democracy

3 Educate about human rights values and principles to help young people identify and challenge antisemitic hate speech, holocaust denial and promote cultural diversity and human rights as a strength for society

4 Seek cooperation with other groups and organisations to take common action on antisemitic, and all other expressions of hate speech, through awareness raising, education and advocacy for effective anti-discrimination legislation



[1] Working definition of antisemitism, adopted by International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, is: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

[2] 9 November commemorates the “Kristallnacht” aka “The Night of Broken Glass” or the “November pogrom”, which is also considered by some historians as the symbol of the beginning of the Holocaust. This night in 1938 involved an organized destruction of thousands of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, as well as the beating and murder of Jewish people. During the Night of Broken Glass Goebbels ordered “spontaneous demonstrations” of protest against the Jewish citizens of Munich. The order laid out the blueprint for the destruction of Jewish homes and businesses. The local police were not to interfere with the rioting storm troopers, and as many Jews as possible were to be arrested with an eye toward deporting them to concentration camps. The night is called “Kristallnacht” because of the numerous broken shop windows and the shattered glass on the ground.

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