Georg Gläser (University of Cologne)


Topic: Contours of a Social Work critical of Antisemitism
Thematic area: Threats to Human Rights in Relation to the Delivery of Social Services
Language: English 


In recent years, an increase of antisemitism in the public can be observed. The right-wing terrorist attack on the synagogue in Halle and the conspiracy ideological mobilization around QAnon mark only two sad highlights. Surveys show a widespread prevalence of antisemitic thought patterns.
This is also relevant for social work, because social work as a human rights profession not only has the mandate to take a stance against antisemitism. It can also assume the function of reducing antisemitism. Nevertheless, the critique of antisemitism is underrepresented in the education of social workers. In this paper we attempt to draft an outline of social work that is critical of antisemitism.
For this purpose, we see three main points of reference for an antisemitism-critical education of social workers:
1. there is a fundamental need to promote phenomenon-related expertise and specific discrimination-sensitive knowledge. It is important to achieve both a sensitization with regard to antisemitism in the various fields of practice of social work in general and to enable specialization, for example, in the area of counseling those affected.
2. However, this practice-oriented competence must be grounded in social theory. An examination of the genesis of antisemitism in the sense of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School and critical social work opens up perspectives on the relationship between social work, society and antisemitism. This is essential for a reflection on the professional self-image.
3. In addition, it is essential to include Jewish social work as an own theoretical strand of emancipatory social work and to make it theoretically and practically applicable, to integrate it into the professional understanding.
We aim to encourage a debate about blanks, recurring needs and perspectives regarding antisemitism in the multiple fields of social work, on an international level and within the IFSW.