Jewish man spat at and cursed as he walks in Paris.

February 19, 2015 at 8:45 pm (anti-semitism, France, islamism, posted by JD, Racism, reactionay "anti-imperialism")

Zvika Klein walked round Paris for 10 hours a few days ago, having arranged to be secretly filmed and recorded doing so. He wore a skull cap and traditional Jewish tassles. The fact that he’s an avowed Zionist and works for an Israeli news outlet (NRG) has no bearing on the shocking level of anti-Semitism he encountered.

Here’s the short Youtube clip of his experience, and his account of what happened:

10 hours of fear and loathing in Paris
By Zvika Klein

About six months ago, New Yorker Shoshana Roberts uploaded a video to YouTube in which she documented the sexist remarks and harassment she suffered during 10 hours of walking down the streets of the Big Apple. After the Jan. 9 attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris, where four people were murdered for the sole reason of being Jewish, we decided to see what it was like for a Jew living in the City of Lights.

For 10 hours I quietly walked down the streets and suburbs of Paris, with photographer Dov Belhassen documenting the day using a GoPro camera hidden in his backpack. Given the tensions in Paris, which is still reeling from a wave of terrorist attacks (including the murder of Charlie Hebdo magazine journalists), I was assigned a bodyguard.

In zero-degree weather, thousands of Frenchmen braved the cold wind on their way to just another day at the office. We started walking – first through the quieter quarters of the city, across from the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-ֹlysיes, and the Jewish neighborhoods, and later through the mostly Muslim neighborhoods.

Areas known as tourist attractions were relatively calm, but the further from them we walked, the more anxious I became over the hateful stares, the belligerent remarks, and the hostile body language.

At times it was like walking in downtown Ramallah. Most women were wearing a veil or a hijab, most men appeared to be Muslim, and Arabic was prevalent everywhere. We decided ahead of time that I was to walk through these areas quietly, without stopping anywhere, without speaking to anyone, without so much as looking sideways. My heart was pounding and negative thoughts were running through my head. I would be lying if I said I was not afraid.

Walking into a public housing neighborhood, we came across a little boy and his hijab-clad mother, who were clearly shocked to see us. “What is he doing here Mommy? Doesn’t he know he will be killed?” the boy asked.

Walking by a school in one of Paris’ neighborhoods, a boy shouted “Viva Palestine” at me. Moments later, passing by a group of teens, one of the girls remarked, “Look at that – it’s the first time I’ve ever seen such a thing.”

Walking down another neighborhood, a driver stopped his car and approached us. “We’ve been made,” I thought. “What are you doing here?” he asked. “We’ve had reports that you were walking around our neighborhood – you’re not from around here.”

In one of the mostly-Muslim neighborhoods, we walked into an enclosed marketplace. “Look at him! He should be ashamed of himself. What is he doing walking in here wearing a kippa?!” one Muslim merchant yelled. “What do you care? He can do whatever he wants,” another, seemingly unfazed merchant, answered. Over at a nearby street I was lambasted with expletives, mostly telling me to “go f*** from the front and the back.”

At a nearby cafי, fingers were pointed at us, and moments later two thugs were waiting for us on the street corner. They swore at me, yelled “Jew” and spat at me. “I think we’ve been made,” the photographer whispered at me. Two youths were waiting for us on the next street corner, as they had apparently heard that a Jew was walking around their neighborhood.

They made it clear to us that we had better get out of there, and we took their advice. “A few more minutes and this would have been a lynching,” the bodyguard told me as we were getting into the car. “Leave this area right now.”

Is this what life is like for Paris’ Jews? Is this what a Jew goes through, day in and day out, while walking to work or using public transportation? The majority of French Jews do not flaunt their religion, as the Jewish community leaders have urged them to wear hats as they walk to and from work, or go bareheaded. But what about nighttime? Well, Jews prefers to stay inside in the evening. It is safer at home.


  1. Barry Finger said,

    The author is a notorious rightwinger of the Arab baiting Jewish Defense League stripe. The authenticity of this report has been called into question. See details here:

  2. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    It hardly matters if the person is a right or left winger. What is important is did he get the reception as indicated and is it verified and authenticated. Barry Finger sounds like a person with a political agenda and the truth is irrelevant. A kind of person with a finger up the erse.

    • Barry Finger said,

      The first step you could take to keep Scotland free of loonies would be to move to Wales. Do I have to write this out in crayon for you? The account of anti-semitism here is highly tendentious and filled with flagrant inconsistencies. Aren’t the murders of Jews in a Paris supermarket vile enough? Why entertain invented nonsense?

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        The murder of Jews anywhere is not unexpected considering it has been a hobby of muslims and christians for centuries. The difference is that nowadays we have loonie lefties making excuses for it, like Palestine!

  3. ane onyme said,

    It’s actually not so irrelevant because the sound is almost inaudible, so you have to rely on the subtitles.

  4. Chris said,

    I’m sorry, but this is monstrously unscientific and doesn’t prove anything.

    Also, this bloke is an advocate of pernicious identity politics.

  5. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Almost inaudible, monstrously unscientific, pernicious identity politics. Nice words while Jews are being targeted for being Jews.

  6. Chris said,

    I note you resort to emotional blackmail because you can’t refute a word of what I said.

    Anyone can go around a city with a camera and get any reaction they want. It astonishes me that people on the left make apologies for Zionism, which is almost as corrosive as Islamism. This guy wants Jews to move to Israel!

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      And maybe Jews should. And other infidels.

  7. damon said,

    Whatever the merits of this piece of filming (ten hours of it I believe) there is certainly a problem for Jews in these kinds of situations.
    The BBC did a radio documentary about similar problems in Amsterdam several years ago.

    There’s been a lot more fuss about some white Chelsea fans being rowdy, obnoxious and racist on the metro in Paris the other night.
    It was even reported in American newspapers.
    If it had been gang youths from the Paris suburbs attacking someone, we wouldn’t have even heard about it.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Yes, damon: I’m afraid the guy’s personal political agenda cannot be used to down-play what he recorded. He may be a right-winger and a Zionist (he’s made no secret of the second), but how does that invalidate what he witnessed, experienced and recorded on film: are people suggesting he faked it all?

      Chris: no-one claims this exercise was “scientific” (mind you, what sort of exercise testing anti-Semitism in certain areas/communities *would* be scientific?). And how in the hell is this an example of “identity politics”?

      In most instances of people experiencing racist abuse, the left’s starting point/default position is to (1) believe them and (2) to sympathise.

      The fact that has not been the case in this instance tells us an awful lot, I think.

      PS: this is worth reading as well:

      • Lamia said,

        “In most instances of people experiencing racist abuse, the left’s starting point/default position is to (1) believe them and (2) to sympathise.

        The fact that has not been the case in this instance tells us an awful lot, I think.”


  8. Jim Denham said,

    Barry: I have just read the Richard Silverstein “refutation” that you kindly linked to: not very impressive, It certainly doesn’t succeed in “calling into question” the “authenticity” of the Klein report and I fail to see how you can possibly think it does. I’m afraid. Silverstein’s piece deals mainly with secondary, minor details and noticeably doesn’t deal with the central point of Klein’s film and accompanying article: that in predominantly Muslim districts of Paris he experienced real and very nasty manifestations of spontaneous anti-Semitism. It’s a real problem that the left cannot ignore. Klein certainly has his own agenda, but I fail to see how that changes what he experienced and recorded – opr should be allowed to significantly effect our reaction to it.

    • Barry Finger said,

      Street harassers exist everywhere, Jim. But this video is playing to the convinced reaffirming for them that street harassment is representative of a pervasive community reflex for virulent anti-Semitism.

      My problem is the messenger, precisely — as you yourself have often argued– because context matters. Klein himself represents a right-wing, anti-Arab strain of Israeli politics associated with Sheldon Adelson. If a white supremacist –a David Duke type — sent a well dressed businessman thru a black ghetto in America, he, too, might very well experience a similar reaction. Duke would then present a selected, highly edited video to “prove” that whites cannot coexist with blacks.

      This is what Klein is doing. His video “proves” nothing. But it plays into the preconceived notions of its audience, that Arabs and Muslims are an undifferentiated community of bigots and religious fanatics, and that Jews are canaries in the coal mines of clashing civilizations.

      • ZINR said,

        Oh, he had a T-Shirt on bearing the slogan “I am a right-wing, anti-Arab associated with Sheldon Adelson”! So sorry, I hadn’t realised. I thought they were spitting at him and threatening him because he was Jewish. My mistake, ignore my comment below.

      • Jim Denham said,

        I don’t think the analogy with David Duke sending a “well dressed businessman” into a black area of a US city is helpful: any negative reaction would be as much because of the person’s perceived wealth and social status as to their race: here we have instances of chemically-pure racism. Klein’s video “proves” a lot: that anti-Semitism is rife and “mainstream” in Muslim communities. This is not a matter of “bigots and fanatics” – it would be less worrying if it was. Antisemitism is commonplace amongst ordinary, apolitical Muslims, because it’s taught in Mosques and handed down within families and communities. I hate to have to say these things, which I find very uncomfortable, and I acknowledge have the potential to play into a right-wing anti-Muslim agenda. But the reality and the facts speak for themselves, and we need an honest, serious debate about this on the left – one that should include the significant number of Muslims (and ex-Muslims) who acknowledge the problem and are willing to discuss it. But the left cannot remain in denial about this much longer.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Barry: There’s a bit of racism in parts of Birmingham, but we don’t want to reaffirm that street harassment is representative of a pervasive community reflex for virulent racist prejudice.

        My problem is the messenger: all to often these complaints are brought by islamists – because context matters. If an anti-Islamist, white, black or Asian liberal woman walked provocatively through a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham (eg Sparkbrook), she, too, might very well experience a similar reaction. You would then present a selected, highly edited video to “prove” that anti-Islamist females cannot coexist with most Muslims..

  9. ZINR said,

    Well what a surprise – a Jew is threatened, spat at and intimidated, made to feel unsafe walking the streets of a major European capital city, one with such a blindingly obvious problem that governing politicians advise Jews not to “look Jewish” in public, and the instant reaction from nominally Left wing viewers is “this is highly dubious. Let’s face it, Jews are just out to discredit noble Muslims with their dirty propaganda so who knows if any of this is true? It’s probably just faked. He’s a self-confesssed Zionist, which is equivalent to being a child murderer, so who cares if he’s spat at anyway”.

    It’s “monstrously unscientific and doesn’t prove anything…anyone can go round a city with a camera and get any reaction they want”. It doesn’t matter what evidence is presented regarding antisemitism, you will keep your heads firmly buried in the sand (the polar opposite of what you’d do if the video showed an Arab getting similar treatment in a Jewish neighbourhood…not that you will ever find such a thing in Europe, particularly in France, but hey, most Jews are Zionists and therefore Baby Murdering Racists, so we might as well make the implication).

    As for invoking Richard Silverstein, the man is a Hamas-worshipping thug whose blog is a mass of contradiction, bigotry and quite astonishing hypocrisy. Is this intellectual midget the best source you arseholes can quote when you want to frantically defend Jew-hatred?

    Well, on the surface you people have what you wanted. We’re scared and now very aware that the Left will not defend us – not now, not ever. You people have made it clear that when we’re being slaughtered you will be standing on the sidelines praising your Islamofascist masters. You have spent decades telling us we have no right to live in the Middle East and the last couple of years making it clear that we can never truly live safely in Europe either. You have reached the final stage of your abandonment of us and the final stage of your devotion to Political Islam, that foul combination of Fascism and religious supremacy which enslaves over a billion people.

    However we’re not going anywhere, not just yet. We will stand our ground for the moment. Your repugnant politrical ideas remain outside of the mainstream; governing political parties aren’t prepared to preside over our annihilation just for now. So go back to gazing adoringly at your posters of Khaled Meeshal, go back to telling your friends how “George Galloway talks a lot of sense”, go back to loudly telling everyone that you don’t have an antisemitic bone in your body (a PSC rally is a good place to do this, or perhaps a column in the Guardian) and, above all, continue to denounce Mr Denham and the AWL for their backwards, racist policy of favouring Arab-Jewish unity, a two-state solution in Israel and equal protection for Muslims and Jews in Europe. For the moment, at least, you don’t really matter.

    • Jim Denham said,

      In fairness to Barry Finger (despite my disagreement with him here) , I know that he *does* support Arab-Jewish unity, a two-state solution in Israel and equal protection for Muslims and Jews in Europe.

  10. Steven Johnston said,

    Socialists should not take sides in the Arab/Israeli conflict. We are the on the side of the working class.
    As for what happened to this individual it is indefensible. Socialists have no truck with discrimination. As for any slogan he had on his t-shirt…free speech comrades. No one has the right to spit on him because of that either.

    • ZINR said,

      Absolutely damn right in every regard

  11. Rilke said,

    I used to work in Bradford. I had to get a taxi for a long journey (two to three hours). The driver told me he had to go home and check in with his wife before we set off. The driver was Asian and originally from Pakistan.When we got to the estate where he lived it was almost
    exclusively Asian households. He left me in the car and went in the house. After about five minutes three young Asian guys came up, tapped the window and asked ‘what the fuck’ I was doing there? I told them to mind their business. They then told me that ‘white cunts’ were not welcome there, spat at me and threatened to ‘knock the fuck out of me’. The driver who was in his fifties came out and told them to ‘fuck off’ and not to be ‘stupid’.
    I have seent his a lot over the years. It is nearly always the gang orientated younger guys who come on strong and use the underlying and simmering hatreds to show their boiling aggression. If those same young Asian men had ventured on to the ‘white’ estate in Bradford then I am certain that within the hour a group of local youths would have targeted them and moved in with the intention of intimidation.
    With this though the underlying driving force is clear, outright antisemitism within that community. It is a fact. I come from a mining community and I can tell you that it is a source of consternation to me that when carnival came to the village the young miners were always looking to ‘kick off’ and ‘have a go’ at the travelers. They never targeted the women or older people but always the young male travellers who they said were too ‘lazy to work down the pit’. It always ended in a punch up. I have thought about this over the years and it cannot be put down simply young male aggression and hatred of the ‘Other’ as such. The door to the activation of the aggression and violence is always specific racism and prejudice and this is the case here. In other words, I think there is the general phenomenon of young alienated belligerence and resentment, but the specific driver is anti-seminitism. My grandfather, who was a staunch NUM man and committed socialist, used to say that the fights (attacks quite often) wtih the young male travellers were just ‘angry and wild young men blowing off’. But the truth is, it was also driven by shocking prejudice. Any person who thinks that the existence of these shocking prejudices is merely ‘staged’ or only the product of counter repressions is lying to themselves. They are a social facts that have to be confronted whether their existence is pointed out by a Zionist or a copper makes no difference.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Well said, comrade!

  12. Jim Denham said,

    I don’t always (or even often) agree with Mehdi Hasan, but all credit to him for his courage in writing this:
    “It pains me to have to admit this but anti-Semitism isn’t just tolerated in some sections of the British Muslim community; it’s routine and commonplace. Any Muslims reading this article – if they are honest with themselves – will know instantly what I am referring to. It’s our dirty little secret. You could call it the banality of Muslim anti-Semitism.”

  13. Andrew Coates said,

    It was an extremely small number of insults for an alleged 10 hour tour.

    Part of it was at obviously at Barbès (overhead Metro) which is a densely Arab area, and the site of pro-Palestinian demos.

    The insults sounded bad, but believe me pédé and Juif are pretty mild compared to what people use when they get really unpleasant.

    That said it does show a level of causal – largely Muslim – racism towards Jews, which I as Jim says, is routine in the UK.

    Bourgeois and intellectual anti-Semitisim in France is also still a powerful force in some quarters.

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