What can be done to tackle rising antisemitism?

New research offers a proven answer.

A rigorous scientific evaluation of the Anne Frank Trust UK shows that its education programme makes young people significantly more positive towards Jews, along with eleven other social groups. The impact is maintained over time, and is especially strong in areas of the country with high levels of antisemitism.

Published today, the Educating Against Prejudice report by social psychologists at the University of Kent presents data on nearly 3,000 school pupils – before starting the Anne Frank Trust programme, after completing it, and again a year later.

Read the full report by clicking on the image:

·       83.8% of the young people progress in their knowledge of prejudice, and this increased knowledge drives a significant improvement in their social attitudes. 

·       87.6% become more positive towards people from at least one of 12 social groups – Black, Christian, disabled, female, Gypsy Roma Traveller, Jewish, LGBTQ, male, Muslim, old, refugee and white.

·       The greatest progress is towards Jewish people, with 59.8% of the young people becoming more positive. Among Muslim young people, the proportion making pro-Jewish progress is even higher – at 65.7%.

·       58% of young people retain their improved attitudes 12 to 18 months later. The long-term progress in attitudes towards Jews is 55% higher in locations where reports of antisemitism are above average.

Professor Dominic Abrams OBE, lead researcher, says:

“The clear and consistent impact of the Anne Frank Trust programme is incredibly impressive and vitally important. While plenty of initiatives aim to tackle prejudice towards specific groups of people, and while the Anne Frank programme starts from a focus on antisemitism, the Trust is exceptional in addressing the elements common to every kind of prejudice. The power of this approach is that, by revealing the core elements of how prejudice operates, the Trust shifts the dial on the way young people think about all groups of people different from themselves.”

Nicola Cobbold, Chair of the Anne Frank Trust, says:

"The devastating events in Israel and Gaza have led to unprecedented levels of antisemitism across Britain, as well as a significant rise in Islamophobia. At such a critical time, there is an urgent need to identify and implement evidence-based solutions that have a lasting impact in reducing hateful attitudes and behaviour. This is exactly our aim at the Anne Frank Trust and it is hugely encouraging to have world-class researchers confirm so emphatically the effectiveness of our work. But prejudice, in all forms, remains pervasive and profound. I hope this remarkable new evidence will bring more support to enable the Trust to further scale its work to reduce all prejudice, and particularly anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hatred at this time.

Tim Robertson, Chief Executive of the Anne Frank Trust, says:

“This research makes clear that the Anne Frank Trust is outstanding both in impact on prejudice and in proof of that impact. As far as I know, no other education provider has stronger evidence of impact on antisemitism. There are many factors behind this success. By training young people as peer educators, we deepen their learning as well as disseminating it across their schools. By teaching about antisemitism alongside other types of prejudice, we make young people more positive towards all religions, cultures and identities. To me, though, our impact derives above all from the double educational power of Anne Frank: at once universally relatable and specifically Jewish, her diary is an inspirational call for freedom and life, while her murder by the Nazis is a shattering warning of what happens when antisemitism runs unchecked.”

Aishling McGinty, Headteacher, Pleckgate High School, Blackburn, Lancashire, says:

“It is fascinating to see this independent research confirm in data what we see on the ground in our school. The Anne Frank Trust programme gives our students valuable insights into Holocaust history and prejudice today. It makes a real difference to the knowledge, skills and confidence of individual students, and through them to our school community as a whole. We are proud to have worked with the Trust for many years and look forward to the partnership continuing to flourish in the future.”