A journalist who took inspiration from Israeli Kvika Klein who walked areas of Paris wearing items that identified him as a Jew said he ‘encountered anti-Semitism for nothing but walking in a street’ as he repeated the experiment across Britain.
Jonathan Kalmus wore a traditional Jewish kippah as he walked through streets in Bradford and Manchester and it took just one minute before the first abuse was hurled at him, the Daily Mail reports.
Mr Kalmus, who videoed his experiment for the Mail, was spat at in Manchester and was subjected to intimidatory language by a boy walking along the road with his father. In total, he was subjected to ten anti-Semitic incidents in just one hour in what is revealed to be a damning indictment of Britain’s swelling intolerance particularly in areas with large numbers of Muslims. The total is eight more than Klein received in Paris, in just one tenth of the time.
But he stated that he did not target Muslim neighbourhoods to provoke a reaction, but was just “minding his own business” in the centre of two large towns in Britain.
He described his experience in Bradford as “shameful”.
“It took 13 minutes,” he wrote, “during which I was stalked by a man who repeatedly took pictures of me. He followed me on foot for five minutes and thirty seconds according to my footage.”
“There was a shout of ‘you Jew’ at me as I crossed the road to Bradford City Park. Minutes later a man turned his head and yelled ‘fight the Jewish scum’ just behind my back. Some time later three youths shouted at me across a street repeatedly, ‘You’re a Jew, not a Muslim…Jew, Jew, Jew run!’
“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.”
Mr Kalmus said he picked Bradford because of the mass rally which took place in Bradford City Park, attended by 5000 mainly young Muslim men. Speaking at the event was the city’s MP, George Galloway, who was guarded by men wearing t shirts saying ‘Palestine’s army you are not alone’.
Mr Galloway has been at pains to say his argument is with Israel and the Israelis, but the video demonstrated just how difficult life is becoming for the Jewish population in Britain, a country which once was able to pride itself on tolerance and a safe
But despite these claims there is clear statistical evidence showing that the problems in the Middle East are having a direct effect on how people treat Jews in Britain.When shown the evidence of the abuse and intolerance which took place in the city, Councillor David Green said that Bradford was “A city of Sanctuary” that has “a long and proud history of welcoming people as new residents and visitors.”
“There are generally very good community relations in our city,” he added.
Manchester’s deputy leader took the evidence more seriously, saying there was ‘no place’ for anti-Semitism in the city. Cllr Bernard Priest said the experiences during the walkabout in Manchester were “not acceptable and have no place in our diverse and thriving city.”
“I hope this journalist will contact the police to provide details of what happened to him,” he added.
But the experiences were not all bad. The journalist went into a Bradford branch of Starbucks where, he said, as soon as he walked in a Muslim man, wearing traditional Islamic dress and sporting a black beard raised his eyes, stood up, raised his hand and said ‘Shalom, Shalom’. “Whatever was the reason for this man’s gesture and insistence that I shake his hand, it was warm and hopeful” Kalmus concluded.