“The increasing spread of anti-Semitism across national borders and the overcoming of established political barriers require increased efforts by European networks to take proactive, not just reactive, action against anti-Semitism”. This was emphasized by Prof. Dr. Frederek Musall, Chairman of DialoguePerspectives e.V., before the second meeting of the European Practitioners Network against Antisemitism (EPNA) in Budapest from 17th 19th April 2024.

The second EPNA network meeting brought together more than 40 civil society actors, academics and activists from all over Europe who are committed to combating antisemitism. Among the participants were representatives from educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, religious communities and research associations. The workshop focused on the development of strategies against Holocaust denial and the mobilization of civil society in the fight against anti-Semitism.

The participants and guests discussed the connection between the politics of hybrid regimes and the falsification of memory, as well as the direct impact of social polarization on democratic civil society in Europe.

The event kicked off with Dr. Andrea Pető from the Central European University (CEU) talking about the politics of memory and Holocaust distortion in Hungary.

On the second day, attention shifted towards the collaborative efforts within interactive groups, where participants engaged in problem analysis within their respective subject domains. These groups were organized around the following themes:
1: Holocaust Education and the Fight against Holocaust Distortion/Denial,
2: Addressing Antisemitism in Schools, Universities, and Among Younger People,
3: Exploring the Intersection of Antisemitism, Racism, Conspiracy Ideology, and Misogyny,
4: Tackling Online Antisemitism, Fake News, and Online Radicalization.

In the afternoon, participants embarked on a guided tour titled “Contested lieux de mémoire,” exploring Holocaust memorials and Jewish heritage within Budapest’s city center.

The day culminated in a panel discussion entitled “Resilient Alliances – Strategies for Mobilizing Civil Society Against Antisemitism,” featuring speakers Hannah Rose from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and Hanna Veiler from the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS).

The subsequent day started with a lecture by Michael Smeltzer from Freedom House, delving into the topic of “Hybrid Regimes and Democratic Decline.” This was followed by an opportunity for participants to engage with practitioners from Hungary. Phiren Amenca introduced its initiatives as a network comprising Roma and non-Roma volunteers and voluntary service organizations, dedicated to fostering non-formal education, dialogue, and engagement to combat stereotypes and racism. Zachor Hungary provided insights into their methodology of history education and societal remembrance. Marom showcased its cultural Jewish center’s activities.

The workshop concluded with farewells, followed by a visit to the Dohány Street Synagogue.

Fotos by Ákos Kaiser