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Why discussing contemporary antisemitism in UK classrooms matters

Find out more about the importance of discussing contemporary antisemitism in the UK in 2023.

In December 2022 Lord Mann (the UK Government’s independent antisemitism adviser) published a report on Anti-Jewish Hatred. The report highlights the concerning rise in antisemitic incidents across the UK and within schools. 

We are conscious of the critical importance of teaching about contemporary antisemitism in schools alongside Holocaust education. It is essential that students better understand how antisemitism manifests in today’s society and how they can play a role in challenging antisemitism, and all forms of racism and discrimination.

Download and read Lord Mann’s report on Anti-Jewish Hatred


Discussing Contemporary Antisemitism in the Classroom Teaching Resource

This unit is designed to help students in the UK reflect on how antisemitism manifests in contemporary society and what needs to be done to challenge it.

Facing History and Ourselves’ new unit ‘Discussing Contemporary Antisemitism in the Classroom’ assists teachers and schools in fulfilling Lord Mann’s recommendation in a supportive learning environment. 

The unit introduces students to antisemitism, its historical roots, present day manifestation and the impacts it has on those targeted by it. Students learn about the antisemitic tropes in circulation today. Many of these are ‘repackaged’ versions of old conspiracies that have been adapted to retain relevance in the present day. Student's ability to identify antisemitic tropes is vital as they are widely shared both in society and online, and work to dehumanise and ostracise Jews.

As part of the launch of our new ‘Discussing Contemporary Antisemitism in the Classroom’ unit we held an event at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) to showcase the superb redevelopment of their Holocaust Galleries and introduce our supporters to the new teaching resources.

Clare Lawlor, IWM Public Engagement Producer, gave us an insightful tour of the Holocaust Galleries, including fascinating design ideas that help guide visitor experience and engagement with the exhibits.

This set the scene for Michelle Perkins, Facing History Senior Programme Associate, to introduce our new “Discussing Contemporary Antisemitism in the Classroom” unit and give a taster of the activities used to engage students in identifying and challenging contemporary antisemitism.

A really interesting evening. Great to see how Facing History works and the learning resources it offers schools.
— Event Attendee

Working with partners like the IWM allows us to contextualise our teacher resources and the real-world impact they have for Facing History students.

Holocaust education is vital. As Lord Mann suggests, it would benefit from being accompanied by better student understanding of the history of antisemitism. Facing History’s teaching resources provide tools for teachers to support their students to learn how to recognise and challenge antisemitism in the present day. 

Engaging in these lessons shines a light on the choices that individuals have – to participate, stand by, resist, remember. It reminds our young people that they have a voice and that they can make a difference.