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Include the teaching of antisemitism in all Holocaust-related educational courses and memorial exhibits

15 June 2010

Some 200 delegates from around the world participating in the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF) plenary meetings taking place in Jerusalem this week have been presented with specific policy recommendations in Holocaust education and commemoration. The ITF meetings are being convened by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The recommendations were formulated by participants of the 7th International Conference on Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem that concluded Sunday evening (June 13).

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev welcomed the recommendations, and expressed hope that the delegates to the ITF will embrace them as a basis for continued cooperation in the field of Holocaust education and commemoration. “Trends of Holocaust trivialization and building new narratives pose new challenges that educators must address,” he said. “It is important to openly address these questions, and to think systematically about how to face them.”

Among the recommendations are to:

 Impress upon governments and educational systems to include the teaching of antisemitism in all Holocaust-related educational courses and memorial exhibits.

 Differentiate between antisemitism and legitimate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government and provide background information about the State of Israel and the Arab- Israeli conflict.

 Include Jews and other victim groups in commemoration ceremonies, noting that the “Final Solution” only applied to the Jewish people, and encourage governments to financially support national Holocaust commemoration ceremonies

 Encourage educational systems to set a clear rationale and goals for Holocaust education and to define the relevancy of Holocaust education to human rights. At the same time, educational systems must emphasize the differences and similarities between the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity.

 Recommend commemorating totalitarian crimes, but consider an alternative date to August 23 in an effort to prevent political equalization of National Socialism with the Soviet regime.

 Preparation and follow-up programming before and after visiting a Holocaust-related memorial site is as important as visiting the site itself.

The ITF is currently chaired by Israel, with former Speaker of the Knesset Dan Tichon serving as Chairman of the organization, and Amb. Jacob Rosen as the policy coordinator.

The ITF was established in order to raise awareness and education about the Holocaust through international cooperation. There are presently 27 member states in the ITF, and 7 countries are in various stages of candidacy for acceptance into the organization. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev serves as co-chair of the Israeli ITF delegation together with Aviva Raz-Shechter of the Israel Foreign Ministry. Prof. Yehuda Bauer, Academic Advisor to Yad Vashem, currently serves as Honorary Chairman of the ITF and Prof. Dina Porat as its Academic Advisor. Yad Vashem and Israeli Foreign Ministery officials serve as active members of various working groups of the ITF.

An academic symposium looking at various issues in Holocaust research will take place on Wednesday, June 16, 2010, in the context of the ITF Plenary, at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel.

14:00 - 14:35 Dr. Havi Dreifuss (Tel Aviv University): Comprehending the Incomprehensible: Polish Jewish responses to the “Final Solution”

14:35 - 15:05 Dr. Dana Arieli-Horowitz (Bezalel Academy of Art and Design): The Nazi Phantom: German Cities Struggle with their Past

16:00 - 16:35 Prof. Dina Porat (Tel Aviv University): The Jewish Community in Pre-State Israel and the Holocaust

16:35 - 17:05 Dr. Haim Saadon (Open University and Ben-Zvi Institute): The Influence of the Study of the Holocaust in North Africa on the Attitude of the Arab World towards the Holocaust

17:05 - 17:35 Prof. Yehuda Bauer (Yad Vashem): The Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel

Media who wish to attend should RSVP.