Government officials meet in Prague to advance fight against antisemitism

At meeting with antisemitism envoys, WJC calls for increased online moderation, flagging of ‘code words’ for Jews

PRAGUE – Meeting in Prague with representatives of more than twenty-five governments and international organizations at this week’s World Jewish Congress’ Forum for Special Envoys & Coordinators Combating Antisemitism (SECCA), held in cooperation with the Czech Republic’s EU Presidency and the European Commission , the WJC outlined an aggressive agenda to increase efforts to rein in 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 allowed us to make progress and better understand how and where we can be impactful in the fight against antisemitism,” said Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life and meeting co-chair. “However, it is troubling that the hatred that we see online doesn’t remain 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 & Jewish Diaspora, for a conversation about the company’s work to address antisemitism and support Jewish communities across its various platforms. Cutler was introduced by Yfat Barak-Cheney, WJC’s Director of International Affairs & Human Rights, who outlined the organization’s next priorities to limit the impact that various forms of hate speech have on Jewish communities around the world.

Ob 5153 low
Ondrej Besperat / World Jewish Congress

According to the WJC, areas which require further action by social media companies and governments include: :

  • Enhancing content moderation policies by properly defining and recognizing antisemitism, including the specification of keywords, proxies and coded language used to refer to Jews and Jewish communities. Also, strengthening the ability of content moderators and AI to recognize local context and languages.
  • Where no content moderation policies exist, it is vital that governments and intergovernmental organizations work toward legislation to regulate internet platforms and applications that are used to spread hate and antisemitism.
  • Ensuring that Holocaust denial and distortion, both recognized as hate speech, do not appear on the platforms.
  • Urging companies to create a position responsible for antisemitism and Jewish community issues, similar to that held by Cutler at Meta.
  • Using platforms to better educate users on Jews and Jewish life and on combating antisemitism, Holocaust denial and distortion, and the harm of hate speech.
  •  Improving access to data and increasing institutional support for research on hate speech and antisemitism.
  • Ensuring that terrorist organizations are not visible on the platforms, and that terrorist acts and organizations are not praised, supported or represented on the platforms.

WJC has forged strong partnerships with internet companies, including Meta and TikTok. Both platforms have launched features encouraging users who search for keywords associated with the Holocaust to learn more by visiting the WJC and UNESCO site AboutHolocaust.org, developed to showcase 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 about 15,000 daily users. Total users number more than 1 million.

Other topics discussed at the Prague forum included the state of affairs for Jewish students in Europe, modern-day Jewish life in the Czech Republic, and further development of formal and informal networks of officials to counter antisemitism, develop sustainable initiatives to fight hate, and foster Jewish life.

“For the fight against antisemitism to be effective, we need to be united,” said Julius Meinl, the World Jewish Congress’ Commissioner for Combating Antisemitism. “Today’s conference shows our unwavering commitment to fighting the scourge of hatred that has been directed at Jewish communities for centuries. It must be understood that it is not merely a threat for Jews, but all of our societies and for generations to come.”

Ob 5550 high
Ondrej Besperat / World Jewish Congress

Meeting Participants:

Amb. Colette Avital, Executive Committee, World Jewish Congress

Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Antisemitism, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Prof. Irwin Cotler, Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, Government of Canada

Ms. Jordana Cutler, Director of Public Policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora,

Meta

Amb. Arvydas Daunoravičius, Ambassador-at-large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania

Mrs. Shuli Davidovich, Head of Bureau for 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 Adviser on Holocaust Issues to the United States Secretary of State

Mrs. Sophie Elizeon, National delegate against racism, antisemitism, and LGBTphobia,  DILCRAH

Mrs. Brankica Jankovic, Commissioner for Protection of Equality of Serbia

Dr. Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, Federal Ministry of the Interior of Germany

Dr. Robert Klinke, Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organisations, Issues relating to Antisemitism, 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

Ms. 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 IHRA delegation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Dr. Antonio Martino, Task Force Austrian-Jewish Cultural Heritage, Federal Chancellery of Austria

Mr. Julius Meinl, Commissioner for Combating Antisemitism, World Jewish Congress

Ms. Rosa Méndez, Head of Education, Holocaust and Antisemitism Department, Centro Sefarad-Israel, Spain

Dr. Kathrin Meyer, Executive Secretary, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Dr. Iulian Alexandru Muraru, Special Representative for Promoting the Policies of Memory, for Fighting against Antisemitism and Xenophobia, Government of Romania

Mr. Petr Papoušek, President, Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic

The Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles, Special Envoy for post-Holocaust Issues, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Amb. Julie Elisabeth Pruzan, Senior Representative, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Dr. Robert Řehák, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Dr. Ringo Ringvee, Adviser, Ministry of Interior of Estonia

Amb. Vitalie Rusu, Ambassador-at-large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova

Ms. Irina-Dumitrita Solomon, Coordinator of the Inter-Ministerial 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

Mrs. Katharina von Schnurbein, Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life, European Commission

Amb. Dimitris Yannakakis, Special Envoy on Combating Antisemitism and Promoting Holocaust Remembrance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece

About the SECCA forum

The Special Envoys and Coordinators Combating Antisemitism forum comprises officials tasked with combating antisemitism in their constituencies, with participants hailing 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 actors in the fight against antisemitism. The regular gatherings have solidified the network among these officials and provided a platform for better allyship. Learn more about SECCA.

Recent posts

See All
  • Hans Weber
  • July 19, 2024

Korean Embassy in Prague

  • Hans Weber
  • July 19, 2024

India In Czech Republic (Embassy of India, Prague)

  • Hans Weber
  • July 19, 2024

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Prague Forum Membership

Join us

Be part of building bridges and channels to engage all the international key voices and decision makers living in the Czech Republic.

Become a member

Prague Forum Membership

Join us

    Close