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Italy and the Fight against Anti-Semitism in the context of ODIHR activities

Anti-Semitism is one of the priorities of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

In close cooperation with civil society, ODIHR works to highlight anti-Semitism where it still persists and provides advice on how to counter it. In particular, the Office regularly publishes teaching materials to help teachers in middle and high schools deal with the topic.

Italy has always been a great supporter of ODIHR’s work, and is the only country to have had two Directors: the first one, Luchino Cortese, and the current one, Matteo Mecacci.

Regarding this priority area, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has recently supported a ODIHR project to make a large number of these handbooks available in Italian. In November 2021, Minister for Education Patrizio Bianchi and the Director of ODIHR attended the presentation of the related guidelines at the Ministry of Education in Rome.

The aim of the handbooks is to help teachers to deal practically with anti-Semitism in schools, for instance by giving suggestions on how to tackle difficult questions or students challenging behavior and by providing information on additional reading material for further investigation. These agile publications are rich in data and definitions, thereby enabling students to fully understand the world of Judaism, the historical roots of anti-Semitism, and to learn how to combat violence, including online.

The handbooks are available online on the ODIHR website:

1. Learn more about Jews and Judaism

2. Overcoming unconscious prejudices

3. Tackling stereotypes and anti-Semitic preconceptions

4. Questioning conspiracy theories

5. Teaching what anti-Semitism is through the teaching of the Shoah

6. Addressing the denial, distortion and trivialisation of the Shoah

7. Anti-Semitism and the discussion of national remembrance

8. Dealing with anti-Semitic incidents

9. Dealing with anti-Semitism online

10. Anti-Semitism and the situation in the Middle East