Yad Vashem and FutureLearn Launch New Free Online Course: ‘Antisemitism: From its Origins to the Present’

What is antisemitism?

What are its root causes? How did it change throughout history, and eventually enable the Holocaust? How does antisemitism manifest itself today?

(05 March 2018 – Jerusalem) These questions and more are the topic of a new online course entitled “Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present,” created by the e-Learning Department at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies, in conjunction with FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform. The six-week free online course is open for enrollment now and will officially start on 19 March 2018. This unique course navigates through more than 2,000 years of history, attempting to answer many of the major questions surrounding the evolution and nature of antisemitism, including its nature after the Holocaust, and how Israel and Zionism fit into the story of antisemitism today.

Using short video presentations by fifty leading experts –  researchers, historians, sociologists, linguists, philosophers, political scientists, policy makers, public and religious leaders from Yad Vashem and around the world – the course discusses the history of antisemitism from its earliest roots to its contemporary forms. The course presents tools to understand this age-old phenomenon and the knowledge necessary to identify it.

Notable lecturers and contributors featured on the course include: Prof. Yehuda Bauer, Prof. Irwin Cotler, Prof. Sergio Della Pergola, Prof. Anthony Julius, Prof. Dov Otto Kulka, Prof. Meir Litvak, John Mann MP, Prof. Pierre Nora, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Prof. Dina Porat, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Prof. Anita Shapira, Prof. Bassam Tibi, Katharina von Schnurbein, Prof. Michael Walzer, Dr. Esther Webman, Michael Whine MBE, Prof. Ruth Wodak and Prof. David Nirenberg.

“Holocaust education and the study of contemporary antisemitism have become – in many contexts and for many purposes – interlinked,” states Dr. Naama Shik, Director of the International School’s e-Learning Department. “Effective educational activity about the one involves and requires knowledge and tools regarding the other. It is for this reason that we have developed this groundbreaking and essential course.”

The first three weeks of the course will deal with the evolution of antisemitism until the Holocaust, beginning with the Greco-Roman world, and continuing through the Middle Ages and the Modern Age. The second half explores antisemitism in the world today, focusing mainly on antisemitism in the far-right, far-left, and Arab Islamic world, illustrating the perseverance of old antisemitic tropes and the emergence of new ones, namely Holocaust denial and anti-Zionism.  

Mark Lester, Director of Partnerships Development at FutureLearn, commented, “Yad Vashem is a hugely important organization with an unparalleled reputation in Holocaust education, and therefore we’re delighted to support this new course on antisemitism on our platform. The subject matter of this course should be a priority for all people who seek to understand and want to address the worrying rise of antisemitic attitudes around the world. Only by understanding where antisemitism has stemmed from and how to identify it in modern culture can we begin combating its proliferation.”

Learners who complete the course can expect to be able to explain the historical and ideological roots of antisemitism, identify antisemitic language and actions, discuss the characteristics of antisemitism today, and distinguish between antisemitism and legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.

To register for this course please click here.

For more information about the online course, “Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present,” please contact Simmy Allen.

About Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies

Established in 1993, Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies provides quality Holocaust education to diverse audiences from Israel and across the world. In order to achieve this, the School trains educators to teach the Holocaust, develops pedagogic tools for teachers, and conducts educational workshops for youth and soldiers from Israel and abroad. The School has developed a unique multidisciplinary educational philosophy, based upon teaching the Holocaust in an age-appropriate manner.

The International School for Holocaust Studies is the only school of its kind in the world, is firmly committed to Holocaust education. Its interdisciplinary approach to Holocaust education – through art, music, literature, theology and drama – allows students to gain a broader understanding of what happened during this darkest period in modern history, and its meanings for today’s world. Every year the School hosts over 350,000 students, youth, and military and security personnel, as well as thousands of educators from around the world.

Contact: Simmy Allen / Head, International Media Section / Communications Division /

Yad Vashem / +972 2 644 3410/2 simmy.allen@yadvashem.org.il / www.yadvashem.org.  

About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With more than 7 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organizations such as the European Space Agency, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, was established in 1953.

Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, documentation, research and education.  www.yadvashem.org