An Israeli reporter has made a test how much anti-semitism he would encounter wearing a yarmulke and strolling around Paris. Zvika Klein, of Israeli media outlet NRG, has published a harrowing account of the experience to accompany a hidden camera video called “10 Hours of Walking in Paris as a Jew” that shows him experiencing a barrage of anti-Semitic verbal abuse and intimidation. His colleague, Dov Belhassen, filmed the walk on a hidden camera. Klein said in his essay that he began to be concerned for his own safety as he left the city’s tourist areas and entered its Muslim-majority neighbourhoods.
The video shows at least two people spitting at the sight of him, another calling him a “homo” and a third man walking close by him in a foreboding manner after saying “Jew” in his direction. One boy whom Klein encountered near a public housing project even asked his mother, “What is he doing here, Mommy? Does he not know he will be killed?”
Some days later, another Jew made the same test in Munich. He reports having encountered no anti-semitism at all.
Much of the outcome probably depends on the area visited. The Klein video seems to suggest that the anti-Jewish utterances came predominantly (or exclusively?) from Muslim immigrants in the French capital’s disfavoured banlieues.
It would be interesting to see the results of the same test applied to other groups – for example with an African immigrant, or an undercover reporter dressed up as a Catholic priest wearing a cassock. Likewise, it would be interesting to find out how welcome someone who is identifiable as a Muslim would be on the streets of Tel Aviv or, worse, of one of the Jewish settlements on the West Bank…
Regrettably there is a lot of hatred in today’s society. Not only anti-semitism or other forms of racism, but hatred based on various grounds. Does it make much sense to stereotype “victims” and “perpetrators”?