Government officials meet in Prague to advance fight against anti-Semitism
PRAGUE — Meeting in Prague with representatives of over twenty-five governments and international organizations at this week’s Forum of Special Envoys and Coordinators for Combating Antisemitism (SECCA) of the World Jewish Congress, organized in cooperation with the Czech Presidency of the EU and the European Commission, the WJC outlined an aggressive agenda to step up efforts to curb hate speech on social media platforms and develop resources to foster Jewish life in their respective countries.
“Continued cooperation between governments, international organizations and Jewish communities has enabled us to make progress and better understand how and where we can have an impact in the fight against antisemitism,” said Katharina von Schnurbein, coordinator of the European Commission for the fight against anti-Semitism and the promotion of Jewish life and life. co-chair of the meeting. “However, it is troubling that the hate we see online does not stay there. We must direct our attention and resources to limiting its spread and the often tragic consequences that follow.
The officials were joined by Jordana Cutler, Meta’s director of public policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora, for a conversation about the company’s work to combat anti-Semitism and support Jewish communities on its various platforms. Cutler was introduced by Yfat Barak-Cheney, director of international affairs and human rights for the WJC, who outlined the organization’s next priorities to limit the impact that various forms of hate speech have on people. Jewish communities around the world.
According to the WJC, areas that need further action from social media companies and governments include:
- Improve content moderation policies by properly defining and acknowledging antisemitism, including specifying keywords, proxies, and code language used to refer to Jews and Jewish communities. Also, build the capacity of content moderators and AI to recognize local context and languages.
- Where no content moderation policies exist, it is essential that governments and intergovernmental organizations work to legislate to regulate internet platforms and applications used to spread hate and anti-Semitism.
- Ensure that Holocaust denial and distortion, both recognized as hate speech, do not appear on platforms.
- Urge companies to create a position responsible for anti-Semitism and Jewish community issues, similar to that held by Cutler at Meta.
- Use platforms to better educate users about Jews and Jewish life and about countering anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and distortion, and the harms of hate speech.
- Improve access to data and increase institutional support for research on hate speech and antisemitism.
- Ensure that terrorist organizations are not visible on platforms and that terrorist acts and organizations are not praised, supported or depicted on platforms.
WJC has strong partnerships with internet companies including Meta and TikTok. Both platforms launched features encouraging users searching for Holocaust-related keywords to learn more by visiting the WJC and UNESCO site. AboutHolocaust.org, developed to present basic facts about the destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. The site, now available in 19 languages, has around 15,000 daily users. The total number of users exceeds 1 million.
Other topics discussed at the Prague forum included the situation of Jewish students in Europe, modern Jewish life in the Czech Republic and the development of formal and informal networks of officials to combat anti-Semitism, develop sustainable initiatives to combat hatred and fostering Jewish life.
“For the fight against anti-Semitism to be effective, we must be united,” said Julius Meinl, commissioner for the fight against anti-Semitism of the World Jewish Congress. “Today’s conference demonstrates our unwavering commitment to combating the scourge of hatred that has been directed against Jewish communities for centuries. It must be understood that this is not only a threat for the Jews, but for all our societies and for the generations to come. »
Amb. Colette Avital, Executive Committee, World Jewish Congress
Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office for Combating Antisemitism, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Professor Irwin Cotler, Special Envoy for Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti-Semitism, Government of Canada
Mrs Jordana Cutler, Director of Public Policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora,
Amb. Arvydas Daunoravičius, Roving Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania
Ms Shuli Davidovitch, Head of the Office of World Jewish Affairs and World Religions, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel
Dr Nicolas de Torrenté, Head of Division, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland
Amb. Stuart Eizenstat, Special Advisor on Holocaust Issues to the United States Secretary of State
Ms Sophie Elizeon, National delegate against racism, anti-Semitism and LGBTphobia, DILCRAH
Ms Brankica Jankovic, Commissioner for Equality Protection of Serbia
Dr Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and Combating Antisemitism, Federal Ministry of the Interior of Germany
Dr. Robert Klinke, Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organizations, Anti-Semitism Issues, International Sinti and Roma Affairs, Holocaust Remembrance, Federal Foreign Office of Germany
Amb. Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, United States Department of State
Dr. Fernando Lottenberg, Commissioner for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism, Organization of American States
Mrs. Sara Lustig, Special Advisor for Holocaust Issues and Combating Antisemitism, Office of the Prime Minister, Republic of Croatia
Mr Øystein Lyngroth, Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief and Head of the IHRA Delegation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway
Dr. Antonio Martino, Austrian Jewish Cultural Heritage Working Group, Federal Chancellery of Austria
Mr Julius Meinl, Commissioner for Combating Antisemitism, World Jewish Congress
Ms Rosa Mendez, Head of the Department of Education, Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, Centro Sefarad-Israel, Spain
Dr. Kathrin Meyer, Executive Secretary, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Dr Iulian Alexandru Muraru, Special Representative for the Promotion of Memory Policies, for the Fight against Antisemitism and Xenophobia, Government of Romania
Mr Petr Papousek, President, Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic
The Rt. Hon. Eric Pickle, Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom
Amb. Julie Elisabeth Pruzan, Principal Representative, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Dr Robert Rehak, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
Dr Ringo Ringvee, Advisor, Ministry of Interior of Estonia
Amb. Vitaly Rusu, Roving Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova
Ms. Irina-Dumitrita Solomon, Coordinator of the Interministerial Committee, Government of Romania
Dr. Maram Stern, Executive Vice President, World Jewish Congress
Amb. Dr. Ulrika Sundberg, Special Envoy for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden
Ms Katharina von Schnurbein, Coordinator for the fight against antisemitism and the promotion of Jewish life, European Commission
Amb. Dimitris Yannakakis, Special Envoy for Combating Anti-Semitism and Promoting Holocaust Remembrance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece
The Forum of Special Envoys and Coordinators for Combating Antisemitism includes officials responsible for combating antisemitism in their constituencies, with participants from dozens of countries, as well as international organizations such as the European Commission, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Organization of American States (OAS) and UNESCO. SECCA officials have been described as important players in the fight against anti-Semitism. The regular gatherings solidified the network between these officials and provided a platform for better alliance. Learn more about SECCA.
About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.