The State of Antisemitism Today

  • Thu 30 Jan 20

    19:30 - 21:30

  • Colchester Campus

    Lakeview Room

  • Event type

    Holocaust Memorial Week

  • Event organiser

    Corporate events

  • Contact details

    Holly Ward

A panel discussion on contemporary forms of antisemitism.

Fifty years ago, the world was struck by what became termed as ‘the Swastika epidemic', prompting the international community to take action against racial and religious intolerance.

Half a century later, the frequency of antisemitic incidents and the pervasiveness of antisemitic attitudes appear to be increasing in magnitude and perniciousness in several countries where monitors attempt to document it, including online.

The prevalence of antisemitic attitudes and the risk of violence against Jewish individuals and sites appears to be significant everywhere, including in countries with little or no Jewish population. Official and non-governmental monitors worldwide recorded a significant rise in the number of antisemitic incidents in 2017 and 2018, and reports of violent manifestations of antisemitism (physical attacks, with or without weapons) increased by 13 per cent globally that year. And as news reports indicate, the increase in violent antisemitism incidents continued through 2019 to today.

Studies also demonstrate that anxiety is high among Jewish communities in numerous jurisdictions. One survey found that 85 percent of respondents felt antisemitism was a serious problem in their country, 34 percent reported that they avoided visiting Jewish events or sites because of safety concerns, and 38 percent had considered emigrating because they did not feel safe as a Jew.  

The panel of speakers will identify trends in antisemitism globally today, including how antisemitism, known as the "oldest hatred”, has morphed and expanded to include new forms of antisemitism, covering both right-wing white supremacists groups, radical Islamist groups and those on the left-wing of the political spectrum.

The speakers will examine what has been called “new antisemitism” and how the relationship between combating antisemitism and the wider human rights framework is evolving. 


7.30pm : Welcome and Introductions - Professor Karen Hulme, Head of School, School of Law, University of Essex.   

7.40pm : Dr David Hirsh, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, who will speak on ‘Contemporary forms of antisemitism’ (15 minutes).

7.55pm : Bradley Langer, Sabbatical Officer, Union of Jewish Students who will speak on ‘Antisemitism nationally from the perspective of students’ (15 minutes).  

8.10pm : Amy-Julie Fogiel, President of the Jewish Society, University of Essex, who will give her perspective as a student at the University of Essex (15 minutes).

8.25pm : Professor Rosa Freedman, Professor of Law Conflict and Global Development, University of Reading, who will speak on 'Antisemitism as a human rights abuse across the world’. (15 minutes) 

8.40pm : Dr Ahmed Shaheed, UN Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief; School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, who will speak on ‘Combating antisemitism today: what can be done?  (15 minutes).

8.55pm : Panel members have an opportunity for discussion and then Professor Hulme opens the floor to questions from the audience.

9.30pm : Event ends.

The event is free, book your place via Eventbrite.