Ignorance, stereotypes and prejudice are factors that drive antisemitism and discrimination. To further prevention and education, the SIG publishes antisemitism reports, promotes its Likrat programme and encourages the sharing of knowledge.
Jewish people and members of other minorities or particular social groups are constantly subjected to stereotypical views and prejudices. These are born from ignorance of an unfamiliar culture, religion or way of life, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflict. Such critical situations are potential breeding grounds for antisemitism, racism, rejection, discrimination and even hate. In order to tackle this problem, it is important to put in place measures for prevention and education. These are key tasks for the SIG, and the association is involved in a number of different activities and projects in this area.
Antisemitism – record and resist
An essential first step in combating antisemitism and its causes is to understand and document all aspects of the phenomenon. The basis for doing this is the Report on Antisemitism published by the SIG and the GRA. The report compiles and analyses incidents in the German-, Italian- and Romansh-speaking regions of Switzerland. It gives the association itself, politicians, educational institutions, the media and the wider public an insight into the extent of antisemitism in Switzerland and how it is changing. In its analysis of the incidents, the report applies the definition of antisemitism provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance IHRA. The SIG actively encourages this definition to be recognized and used more widely, as it allows the phenomenon of antisemitism to be recorded and compared consistently and systematically.
In terms of criminal proceedings, the anti-racism norm (Article 261bis of the Swiss Criminal Code) has, since 1994, provided a means to take cases of antisemitism and racism to court. The association itself takes legal action against offenders and regularly reports offences to the police. The SIG participates in relevant bodies such as the Federal Commission against Racism, undertakes public relations work and, in particular, is active on a political level, lobbying for measures to combat, prevent and inform about antisemitism and racism.
Likrat – dialogue and education
Prejudice can often arise through lack of knowledge. Especially among younger age groups, knowledge about and direct contact with Jewish people can counter and prevent the emergence of antisemitic prejudices and ideas. This prompted the SIG to launch its Likrat project in 2002 to promote dialogue and understanding. Meetings and dialogue between Jewish and non-Jewish people are intended to promote mutual understanding, highlight what we have in common and break down antisemitic and racist prejudices and stereotypes. Specially trained young Jewish people known as Likratinas and Likratinos visit schools to talk about the Jewish religion as well as their own personal religious and cultural experiences. Likrat Public is a spin-off launched in 2015 to focus on companies, organizations and the adult population more generally.
For many, Jewish people and therefore their culture, religion and history, are unfamiliar. The SIG engages in a wide range of activities aimed at remedying this lack of knowledge. The association regularly works with educational and research establishments to help develop and produce teaching materials, research and displays on topics including Jewish culture and history, the Shoah and antisemitism. The association also uses its public relations and media work to share and reinforce knowledge of these subjects among the population. In its role as a knowledge platform, the SIG provides information and a series of publications on topics such as Jewish religion, culture and history, and the Shoah. It also offers resources for teachers and schools. Finally, preserving and increasing the visibility of the Jewish cultural heritage in Switzerland is another key concern of the SIG.