Passover embodies the Jewish People’s struggle for freedom and redemption, with the Haggadah and the seder highlighting the crucial role of education. The story of Exodus provides an important example of the Jewish People persevering to escape slavery and obtain freedom. It is a powerful legacy for the Jewish people and humanity as a whole.
This year, there is an urgent need to understand and combat antisemitism even more effectively, given the spike in global antisemitism. This includes the United States, where the levels of antisemitism is unparalleled. It is rampant on social media, on the streets, and especially on university campuses, and most disturbing perhaps in the classroom itself. This demands that we see our freedom today not as something taken for granted, but as a responsibility that we must seek to strengthen.
The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) is dedicated to combating antisemitism globally, “on the battlefield of ideas.” Founded in 2004, ISGAP is a high-calibre international research institute that focuses on interdisciplinary studies of contemporary antisemitism. Our mission is to break the taboo of engaging in the study of contemporary antisemitism in the academy by creating space for faculty and students to study, research, and combat this hate, at the highest levels of scholarship. Given the unprecedented levels of antisemitism in the post-Holocaust era, and the global spread of hatred through social movements, such as the radical left and right, political Islam, and the BDS, ISGAP fights this scourge by arming and protecting the present and future generations through educational initiatives in top-tier universities.
Below are some of ISGAP’s major activities:
ISGAP’s groundbreaking Summer Institute at Oxford University trains professors from all over the world to teach courses on contemporary antisemitism for credit. Commencing on August 6, 2023, the Ninth Annual Institute for Curriculum Development in Critical Contemporary Antisemitism Studies, at Pembroke College, Oxford University, England will train a new generation of faculty and scholars, who educate thousands of students at officially recognized universities for course credit. Since the program’s inception in 2015, more than 500 professors from over twenty-eight countries have developed their own courses on contemporary antisemitism at their home universities.
The Woolf Institute in Cambridge, UK continues to house the ISGAP Post-Doctorate Fellowship Training Programme in Critical Antisemitism Studies, Discrimination and Human Rights. The programme trains Postdoctorate Fellows, based in Cambridge, who conduct policy analysis and research on the interdisciplinary study of contemporary antisemitism.
In 2012, ISGAP launched The Follow the Money research project, which uncovered more than $3 billion dollars in undocumented money going to major U.S. universities. ISGAP monitors the impact of funding on higher education and campus environments. Through this research, ISGAP demonstrates that this illegal money drives antisemitism in universities and civil society.
The ISGAP Digital Research Centre (IDRC), launched in 2020, holds online courses and seminar series in the interdisciplinary study of contemporary antisemitism in multiple languages, including Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. This expansion of resources has allowed ISGAP to have a wider international reach.
In the past six months, I had the privilege of representing ISGAP in historical visits to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Vatican where I met with religious leaders to discuss ways to combat antisemitism and to recognise the right of Jewish self-determination in their land, interfaith cooperation, and promote peaceful coexistence in the face of rising hate.
This Passover, as we remember the Jewish People’s redemption from Egypt, while simultaneously witnessing the increasing rates of antisemitism worldwide, we must redouble our efforts to support the work of ISGAP at some of the world’s leading universities. By understanding the roots of present-day Jew hatred, and studying the ideology and minds of our enemies, we can gain an understanding of the threat and find effective solutions.
Please help us in our mission to map, decode and fight this age-old disease, and to empower students and faculty who find themselves on the frontline, by making a generous tax-deductible contribution.
On behalf of the ISGAP Team, I wish you and your families continued strength during this festival of freedom. You can support our work by clicking here.
Chag Pesach Sameach.