In France last weekend, a good dose of Jewish humor was recruited in the battle against anti-Semitism.
The Organization of Jewish Europeans (OJE) launched a bold campaign to fight against anti-Semitism, a rising problem in France. The organization is set to distribute 10,000 boxes of "anti-Semitism first aid treatment" under the brand name "Antisémitox."
Each box contains three honey candies, detox patches, and the text of the law stating the penalties that apply to people who express anti-Semitism publicly.
The poster of the campaign features a doctor wearing a white coat and stethoscope brandishing a box of pills that reads: "Antisémitox, the first treatment against anti-Semitism. "
"The honey candies contained in the packages," the organization jokingly explained in a written statement, "works to immediately soften the anti-Semitic words and behavior that are the first symptoms. These include insults, curses, aggressive behavior, hallucinations, and quenelles [a reverse Nazi salute created by an anti-Semitic French comedian].
The man behind the campaign is Frank Tapiro, a former of consultant of France's last president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Tapiro noted that he hopes by creating shock, attitudes and actions in France will change.
OJE President, Jean-Claude Zaret, said of the new campaign: "we talk a lot about Jewish humor, so why not use it to protect the Jewish community?"
President of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), Roger Cukierman, also welcomed Antisémitox, calling it a "great idea - sympathetic and painless," although he "doubts this placebo will cure the worst cases."
But behind the humor is a harsh reality.
France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve stated a few days ago that "anti-Semitic acts and threats have increased by well over 100% in the first ten months of the year."
He also advanced the figure of "more than 930 cases" that have been prosecuted in the first half of the year.
For its part, the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) noted in its latest report that there has been "a decline of tolerance [for Jews] between 2012 and 2013.
Finally, according to the Jewish Agency in France, the emigration of Jews from France to Israel more than doubled over the first ten months of 2014.
EJO, who launched the Antisémitox campaign, was established several months ago and includes several hundred members. They have stated that "all donations collected from this extraordinary action will finance the struggle against anti-Semitism."