Caught on camera
Caught on Camera: Anti-Semitism in Europe

British journalist, inspired by recent Paris expose, dons a kippa in the UK and elsewhere in Europe - the results are shocking.

Ari Soffer,

What happens when a Jew walks through a city in England?
What happens when a Jew walks through a city in England?
Thinkstock

Last month's hidden camera expose by Israeli journalist Tzvika Klein revealed the shocking levels of anti-Semitism blighting the streets of Paris. Donning a kippa and tzitzit (fringes), Klein filmed himself walking through the French capital for 10 hours, and was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse and threats as he walked through several, mainly Muslim neighborhoods.

Following the expose, British Jewish journalist Jonathan Kalmus decided to undertake a similar experiment, to find out how widespread the problem is throughout Europe.

Kalmus said his expose, published in the Mail Online Friday, was also inspired by a recent encounter of his own with anti-Semitism:

'You Jew' was the anti-Semitic scream which came from a passing car. My shaken wife tried to explain it away to my seven-year-old daughter as a very large sneeze. They were simply playing in a local park in Manchester a few weeks ago when the incident ripped through what should have been a peaceful and wholesome time for any mother and child.

His investigation started off in his hometown of Manchester in northern England where, after just one minute of walking with a kippa on his head, Kalmus was subjected to anti-Semitic insults and threats from passersby - including from a child.

Kalmus then moved on to another city in northern England; Bradford, where left-wing extremist MP George Galloway recently declared an "Israel-free zone," triggering accusations of racism even as he denied his comments were anti-Semitic.

The situation there was "even more shameful" he described.

At one point in the video, Kalmus is stalked by a man who clearly attempts to intimidate him, taking pictures of him and blatantly following him as he walks through a busy street.

Among other instances of open abuse, a man can be heard shouting "fight the Jewish scum", while a group of youths tell him "You're a Jew, not a Muslim...Jew, Jew, Jew run!"

Writing in the Mail, Kalmus said that despite his own personal experiences of anti-Semitism, he was unprepared for the sheer level of abuse he managed to record.

I was prepared to walk for hours and expected to get nothing on camera. On Manchester's curry mile, a haven of mixed cultures and skin colour, it took two-and-half-minutes for a young lad on a bike to ride up to me and shout, 'You're a Jew' in my face. I was left speechless that anti-Semitism is so obvious.

He also noted that in addition to the actual abuse he received - including a man who actually spat on his back - many other pedestrians merely looked on and did nothing to intervene.

The reactions weren't all entirely negative, however. Kalmus describes how after stopping for a coffee in Starbucks in Bradford "a Muslim man, sporting traditional Islamic dress and a heavy black beard raised his eyes from his drink, looked at me with wide eyes, stood up, raised his hand and said 'Shalom, Shalom', the traditional Hebrew greeting which means peace."

"The harsh and grim outdoors overcast by storm clouds and drizzle lifted. Whatever was the reason for this man's gesture and insistence that I shake his hand, it was warm and hopeful," he added.

Kalmus took his experiment to several other European cities using volunteers, starting with Copenhagen, where a recent Islamist terror attack targeting a free speech event and a synagogue claimed the lives of two people.

At one point, another Jewish man, clearly nervous, offers to walk with one of the Jewish volunteers for protection - an offer he politely refuses. But he says that apart from a few stares he didn't receive any negative reactions. Only when editing the footage did Kalmus hear a woman mutter "f*** you little Jew" as she walked past.

His experiences elsewhere were mixed. In Rome, he was greeted with a mixture of curiosity, open hostility and friendship, with some people "marveling" at the rare site of a Jew and shouting "Shabbat Shalom!"

In Berlin and Stockholm he did not encounter any abuse, though plenty of curiosity.

The report once again shines a spotlight on a worrying rise in anti-Semitism sweeping through Europe, which spiked dramatically over last summer and has spawned several deadly attacks by Muslim terrorists over the past year.




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