Family & Education

Leading Holocaust educator: Drop the word ‘antisemitism’ because students do not understand it

Dame Helen Hyde says 'anti-Jewish racism' is a better alternative


One of Britain’s leading Holocaust educators has suggested dropping the use of “antisemitism”  because students do not understand what it means.

Dame Helen Hyde, a trustee of the National Holocaust Centre and Museum and a vice-president of the Jewish Leadership Council, instead advocated using the phrase “anti-Jewish racism”.

“Even when I talk to students at university, they don’t know what antisemitism is,” she said at a panel discussion on Holocaust education at the JW3 in London on Tuesday evening.

Pointing out that in most state schools there were no Jews, she said, “I was in three schools this week… When I used the word anti-Jewish racism, they understood.”

A JC poll last week found that fewer than half of adults in Britain, 47 per cent, understood what “antisemitism” referred to.

More than half of those aged 18 to 24 when asked to identify antisemitism, said they “don’t know”.

Dame Helen, the former head of Watford Grammar School for Girls, is also a trustee of the Holocaust Educational Trust, a fellow of the Imperial War Museum and sat on  the Holocaust Commission which recommended a national memorial to the Shoah.


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