Photo Credit: Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Washington, D. C.

Last week, Slovakia and the members of the U.S. Congress, Jewish organizations leaders, experts, opinion shapers, and diplomats from foreign missions convened in Washington, D.C. to discuss the global rise of antisemitism including addressing roots of antisemitism and finding ways to fight against it.

Recalling 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht (“The Night of Broken Glass”) dozens of participants discussed the current challenges in addressing antisemitism domestically and globally.

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To prevent repetition of horrible events which Kristallnacht in barbaric way unleashed terrible chapter of the Shoah, governments must play key roles in addressing and condemning antisemitism not only on a single occasion but on a daily basis. It is important to fight antisemitism, bigotry and intolerance in every aspect of our lives by increasing the level of support for our universal values and by raising awareness at educational institutions, social media, digital platforms, and elsewhere. It is crucial to start taking action to fight the disinformation and hate speech online.

Experts on antisemitism and disinformation from the Slovak Republic, Dr. Martin Korčok, Dr. Michal Vašečka, Tomáš Kriššák and Grigorij Mesežnikov familiarized the audience with historical development of antisemitism on territory of today´s Slovakia from the begin of 20th century and presented steps taken by the Slovak authorities and non-government organization to fight the phenomenon. They underlined importance of honest debate within societies about the past and present causes of intolerance and exclusion.

Participants have agreed that education is the most powerful tool in fighting antisemitism. Therefore, it is crucial to include the holocaust stories in school’s curriculums and to make education free and inclusive all around the world. Governments should adopt and implement IHRA working definition of antisemitism, which will help them to identify and fight antisemitism online and offline. The National Council of the Slovak Republic adopted IHRA working definition of antisemitism in 2018.

The event was hosted by U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, President of Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Gold Medal Commission Leon Goldenberg, and the Member of the Slovak delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Martin Korčok. Event was organized by the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Washington, D. C. and The Friedlander Group.

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