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ODIHR and Yad Vashem Launch Teachers’ Guide on Addressing Antisemitism

19 December 2007

ODIHR Director Ambassador Christian Strohal [left] and Director of Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies Dorit Novak at Yad Vashem today. (Yossi Ben David/Yad Vashem) ODIHR Director Ambassador Christian Strohal [left] and Director of Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies Dorit Novak at Yad Vashem today. (Yossi Ben David/Yad Vashem)

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR, and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, today launched a guide for teachers on how to address antisemitism. The educational resource was launched during a visit of the ODIHR Director, Ambassador Christian Strohal to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, where he met with Director of Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies Dorit Novak.

“We enjoy excellent cooperation with Yad Vashem, which is not only an exceptional memorial, but also a renowned educational institution that works with teachers from many different countries,” said Ambassador Strohal.

The guide, “Addressing Antisemitism: Why and How?” provides practical suggestions and background information to teachers on how to address issues pertaining to contemporary antisemitism, ranging from Holocaust denial to expressions of anti-Zionism and the use of antisemitic symbols. It informs about different antisemitic stereotypes and makes suggestions on how to respond to them. The guidelines can be downloaded at: http://www1.yadvashem.org/education/department/english/specproj.html

“We are pleased to be working so closely with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on this user-friendly educational resource. Our experience with educators from around the world has illustrated that unfortunately antisemitism is a phenomenon that has not disappeared, and that there is a real need to provide educators with the tools necessary to confront it. We shall introduce these guidelines in our professional development seminars for teachers, clergy and policy makers from around the world, ” said Novak.

“Since manifestations of antisemitism sadly continue across the OSCE region, it is crucial to engage with this topic in educational settings. Teachers and students alike should be able to recognize and reject antisemitic stereotypes and antisemitic thinking and this guide for educators is designed to contribute to these efforts,” said the ODIHR Director.

OSCE participating States have since 2003 made specific commitments to combat antisemitism and to promote remembrance of the Holocaust. The teachers’ guide is one of the practical tools ODIHR provides to support the implementation of these commitments. Yad Vashem organizes scholarly conferences on manifestations of antisemitism throughout the ages as well as places an emphasis on contemporary forms of antisemitism in teacher-training seminars that it conducts every year. In addition, numerous educational resources and lesson plans focusing on antisemitism, as well as frequently asked questions pertaining to the Middle East conflict, antisemitism and the Holocaust, are available on www.yadvashem.org.

This is the second online document developed by the ODIHR and by Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies. The first one, “Preparing Holocaust Memorial Days - Suggestions for Educators” (http://www.osce.org/odihr/20104.html) and (http://www1.yadvashem.org/education/department/english/specproj.html), is currently available in 13 languages.