December 14, 2022 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) will help lead a groundbreaking effort to train educators and school leaders in the United States about antisemitism and help them develop strategies to address anti-Jewish incidents in their schools.
The initiative comes at a time when antisemitic incidents have risen to alarming levels and 90% of American Jews believe antisemitism is a problem in the U.S.
AJC, the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, will partner with UNESCO, the USC Shoah Foundation, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to create an educational training program.
“The sooner we can educate children about antisemitism the better,” AJC CEO Ted Deutch said. “This initiative will provide educators and school principals with the essential tools that they need to teach about antisemitism, dismantle antisemitic stereotypes, and counter prejudices that surface in response to the conflict in the Middle East.”
Deutch recently met with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in Paris, where the training program was discussed.
The training is also part of the Shine a Light on Antisemitism initiative, a national effort to discuss antisemitism and educate about the many forms this age-old hatred can take. It includes lesson plans for various grade levels.
Educators will have the opportunity to learn from international and U.S. experts about antisemitism, as well as the approaches human rights and global citizenship groups take to counter prejudice and hate speech.
The training will be conducted online to make it easily available to educators throughout the U.S. It will target classroom teachers, principals, and superintendents, who will earn credits for taking each module.
Educators will also have the opportunity to learn about strategies to address antisemitic incidents in schools and respond effectively to conspiratorial thinking with learners, including Holocaust denial and distortion. A UN/UNESCO study found Holocaust denial accounts for 16% of Holocaust-related content on social media.
The training program is being launched at a time antisemitic incidents have jumped dramatically in the U.S., including a 125% increase compared to a year ago in New York City, home to the nation’s largest Jewish population.
The latest State of Antisemitism in America report from AJC found one in four American Jews surveyed said they had personally experienced antisemitism in the last year and nearly 40% said they had altered their behavior in public to avoid being identified as Jewish.