European Commission and UNESCO battle against antisemitic theories online

Written by on August 17, 2020

The measures, however, have insufficiently addressed the anti-Zionist or anti-Israeli aspects of the problem.

By DANIEL NISINMAN
 

AUGUST 17, 2020 03:44

‘FOR MORE than 1,000 years, antisemitism has been part of European culture.’ (photo credit: REUTERS)

‘FOR MORE than 1,000 years, antisemitism has been part of European culture.’

(photo credit: REUTERS)

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, antisemitic conspiracy theories have seemingly spread faster than the disease itself.

Paired together with anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism, these theories have appeared in greater numbers on the web following the outbreak of the pandemic, often accusing Jews for its spread or simply disseminating related falsehoods.

The European Commission and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have taken measures to counter this phenomenon, albeit ignoring its anti-Zionsint or anti-Israeli aspects, focusing only on antisemitism, according to a letter sent by Dr. Shimon Samuel, Director for International Relations in the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, and European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.

The measures, including a series of infographics that help explaining how the coronavirus was the driving factor behind a recent wave of hate, racism and antisemitism have however insufficiently addressed the anti-Zionist or anti-Israeli aspects of the problem. 

“we believe that, in the case of antisemitism, the contributing factor of anti-Zionism/anti-Israelism is inadequately addressed,” said in the letter sent by Dr. Samuel.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged both organizations to take the necessary steps to address the issue and to adopt the International Holocaust Remberance Alliance definition of antisemitism which also recognizes falsehoods spread against Israel as antisemitism.

Samuel further added that “in the case of UNESCO, this move may even assist in consideration by the United States and Israel to return to the institution.”


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