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unesco discusses anti-semitism

Lilianne Picard & Elisabeth Birene, ICJW Representatives to UNESCO in Paris, attended a discussion on Responding to Anti-Semitism.

Elisabeth and I attended yesterday a round table organized by UNESCO under the title “How to Respond to AntiSemitism through Education, Culture and Communication”.

The audience was rather large. The opening speeches by Mrs Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, and His Excellency Minhea Constantinescu Ambassador, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, pointed out that, despite efforts undertaken for years to reduce violence against Jewish communities, antisemitism remains a serious threat.

Mr Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice and President of the Constitutional Court of France, delivered a keynote speech pointing out that Germany, which was responsible of the most horrible attack on the Jews, was at that time a country with a high level of education and culture which did not prevent the Shoah.

The overall goal of the meeting was to identify the nature of this violence, present thought and paths for action to Member States to strengthen their policies to fight intolerance and discrimination as well as consider policies that could prevent antisemitism, especially among young people.

The meeting brought together very distinguished speakers such as Steven Katz , Adviser to the IRHA and Professor of Jewish and Holocaust Studies at the Boston University , Dina Porat Professor at the Department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University , Katharina Von Schnurbein, European Union Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism, Dervis Hizarci, Chair of the Kreuzberger Initianitve gauge Antisemismus , Crisitna Finch, Head of Tolerance and Non Discrimnation Department , Office for Democratic institutions and Human Rights Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Marianne Lair, representing the USC Shoah Foundation against different Genocides, a visual History Archives set up by Steven Spielberg.

Many efforts have been carried out to fight antisemitism but unfortunately the magical recipe has not yet been found.