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Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism receives major funding boost

The funding will enable the Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism to forge ahead with an ambitious programme of research, policy and public engagement.

Birkbeck's Malet Street building
Birkbeck's Malet Street building

The Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (BISA), University of London has received a major grant of £500,000 from the Open Society Foundations (OSF). BISA is known internationally for its independence and its innovative work on how to identify, comprehend and tackle antisemitism.

The new funding will enable BISA to forge ahead with an ambitious programme of research, policy and public engagement which will promote a better understanding of antisemitism in the present as well as in the past.

Ayisha Osori, Director of the Executive Vice President's Office at the Open Society, commented: "For more than a decade now, the Birkbeck Institute has been doing groundbreaking work in the study of antisemitism, its connection to other forms of bias, and policy solutions for combating its insidious effects. The Open Society Foundations' Education and Ideas Collaborative is proud to support their work, particularly as it relates to efforts to address the growing use of charges of antisemitism to stifle debate. Part of our mission is to challenge convention and encourage deeper thinking about the contours of politics and society today and open, honest dialogue is vital for this."

Professor David Latchman, Vice-Chancellor, Birkbeck, University of London, commented: “I am really pleased the Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism has secured funding to continue its important work to further the understanding of and debate about antisemitism and to inform policy to help tackle it. The funding ensures the Institute can continue to maintain independence in its work, whilst operating as part of Birkbeck.”

Professor David Feldman, Director of BISA said: “We are grateful and excited to receive this significant support from the Open Society Foundations. There is an urgent need to tackle antisemitism which is not only persistent, but too often goes unrecognized even among individuals and organisations committed to anti-racism. Troublingly, the charge of antisemitism is also used to dismiss legitimate criticism of Israel and, in doing so, weakens our capacity to identify and combat antisemitism where it truly exists. BISA’s task in this complex landscape is to combine a clear-sighted understanding of antisemitism with commitment to 360-degree anti-racism.”

BISA is the only higher education research centre in the UK and one of only two in Europe dedicated to promoting the understanding of antisemitism. Its work is framed by its conviction that antisemitism is one element in a family of racisms. The Institute undertakes research, teaching, public outreach and policy work, providing expertise on contemporary antisemitism and the ways in which it can be combatted to a diverse range of institutions internationally. BISA receives funding from a variety of sources to support its research and teaching and to undertake specific projects. Current funders include: the Alfred Landecker Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Birkbeck, University of London; the Bonnart Trust; and the Leverhulme Trust.

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