5 October, 2017

Action Day countering antisemitic hate speech 9- 10 November 2017

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Category: Antisemitism, Combating online hate, News on the action day, Racism, Religious Intolerance, Uncategorized
Menno Ettema
9 pm

logo_REDletters_2Action Day countering antisemitic hate speech

9 – 10 November 2017

Antisemitic[1] hate speech undermines the fundaments of human rights and poses a direct threat to democracy in Europe, found the participants of the seminar combatting antisemitic hate speech in May 2017. To show solidarity, strengthen human rights education, challenge holocaust denial, raise awareness and effectively implement anti-discrimination legislation is the only way forward, they concluded.

The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, building on the findings of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency survey of data published in October 2015, states that antisemitism remains an issue of serious concern which demands decisive and targeted policy responses. The Internet and the explosion of online hate speech have only exacerbated an existing problem.

Contemporary manifestations of antisemitism do not just include violent crime and hate speech. Contemporary antisemitism also revolves around the Holocaust, with some blaming the Holocaust on Jews or suggesting that Jews focus on this tragedy to gain advantage. This makes remembrance and education on the Holocaust a human rights imperative.

Antisemitism persists in many member states, confirms the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in its 2016 annual report. ECRI notes that 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.

These trends, expressed through antisemitic and other forms of hate speech, threaten human rights and democratic values and institutions. Partners of the No Hate Speech Movement have identified many examples of 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 provide some examples and tools to debunk them. Ultimately, antisemitism undermines the building of inclusive societies based on human rights and appreciation of diversity.

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.

Everyone can and should combat antisemitism and antisemitic hate speech online and/or offline by:

  • Being critical and learn to recognize and respond to false statements by providing data from reliable sources;
  • Flagging and reporting antisemitic behaviour and antisemitic hate speech;
  • Initiating local events in cooperation with others
  • Using the Action Days to promote human rights, counter hate speech and provide an alternative.

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 day by doing one or more of the recommended actions.


[1] “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.” Working definition of antisemitism, adopted by International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

[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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