Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Anti-Semitism on the Streets of Britain.

with 11 comments

Anti-Semitism on streets of Britain.


The International Business Times reports,

A Jewish man was subjected to a string of anti-Semitic abuse on the streets of two major cities in Britain in shocking video footage.

In an echo of a similar experiment carried out in Paris in February, a man filmed himself walking in Manchester and Bradford while wearing a tradition Jewish hat to gauge the reaction of passers-by.

Journalist Jonathan Kalmus said he received abuse eight times more abuse in just a tenth of the time, in his experiment for the Daily Mail, compared to the Paris case.

A similar test carried out in the German capital, Berlin, passed without incident reported the Mail. “There was a shout of ‘you Jew’ at me as I crossed the road to Bradford City Park,” Kalmus reported.

“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!'”

Kalmus called the results “a horrible reality”. Meanwhile, responding to the camera evidence, the leader of Bradford Council claimed the social fabric was strong in the city.

Councillor David Green said: “There are generally very good community relations in our city. Like everywhere else, there are individuals who would discriminate against other people based on their religion, ethnic origin, gender or disability, but as a council we will always challenge this when it is brought to our attention.”

However, the experience was not completely negative. In a Bradford coffee shop, Kalmus was greeted by a Muslim stranger with open arms. “Whatever was the reason for this man’s gesture and insistence that I shake his hand, it was warm and hopeful,” he said.

The Algemeiner also reports the Mail’s videos,

“It took me just one minute. One minute of walking one single, busy major street in Manchester before abuse was flung at me,” said British journalist Jonathan Kalmus, who secretly filmed himself walking in both Manchester and Bradford while wearing the kippah.

During the 25 minutes that he walked on a single street in Longsight, Kalmus said he was spat at by one man and called “a Jew” repeatedly by those passing by, even by a young boy walking with his father. A youngster on a bike later rode up to him and shouted in his face, “You’re a Jew,” according to the Daily Mail.

The situation in the streets of Bradford was “more shameful,” he said.

“It took 13 minutes, during which I was stalked by a man who repeatedly took pictures of me. He followed me on foot for five minutes and 30 seconds according to my footage,” he said. “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.”

While in Bradford, three youths repeatedly yelled at Kalmus from across the street, “You’re a Jew, not a Muslim…Jew, Jew, Jew run!”

Kalmus was shocked by the anti-Jewish harassment he received while wearing a kippah. He said he expected to walk for hours without being bothered but instead “I was left speechless that antisemitism is so obvious.”

“No one could accuse me of targeting Muslim neighborhoods to provoke a reaction. This was the center of an ordinary English city and I was minding my own business,” he added. “No one could accuse me of wearing something provocative or political. A Jewish person or any peaceful person walking in a British street anywhere, let alone a city center, should be welcome.”

As he faced the antisemitic hate while merely walking in the street, Kalmus said many people were content to ignore it. They heard the discriminatory remarks being hurled at Kalmus and were caught on camera turning their backs to the abuse taking place in front of them. Kalmus noted, “When someone spat on my back no one stopped to intervene.”

One uplifting instance that stood out to Kalmus was his encounter with a Muslim man at Bradford City Park’s branch of Starbucks. Kalmus said as soon as he walked into the shop, the man, who was “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 journalist behind the investigation, Jonathan Kalmus,  says,

Why did I pick Bradford? For a simple reason. Last summer during the height of another Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinians, 5,000 people, predominantly young Muslim men, gathered for a mass rally in Bradford City Park. The city’s MP, George Galloway, spoke while flanked by two butch men wearing T-shirts emblazoned ‘Palestine’s army you are not alone’.

Mr Galloway has repeated on many, many occasions that his message and political struggle is with Israel and Israelis, not Jews. Despite that, statistics show that bringing the Middle East’s struggles onto the streets of Britain has a direct effect on how people treat Jews.

No one could accuse me of targeting Muslim neighbourhoods to provoke a reaction. This was the centre of an ordinary English city and I was minding my own business.

No one could accuse me of wearing something provocative or political. A Jewish person or any peaceful person walking in a British street anywhere, let alone a city centre, should be welcome.

Last year George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, declared,

“We have declared Bradford an Israel free zone,” he told party activists at the meeting in Leeds.

“We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford if any of them had thought of doing so.

“We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”

Full Mail story here.


11 Responses

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  1. I was once targetted by PETA for walking down the street with a kipper on my head but that’s another story…

    Coincidentally, I read this interview with Moishe Postone earlier today:

    “there is a deep misunderstanding about anti-Semitism (in its modern form). Modern anti-Semitism is not really the theory of the inferiority of Jews; it is a theory of the power of Jews. I have argued that, as such, it is a fetishized form of anti-capitalism. That is, the sense of the loss of control that people have over their lives (which is real), becomes attributed, not to the abstract structures of capital, which are very difficult to apprehend, but to a Jewish conspiracy.”


  2. Anti-Semitism has long been a combination of contempt for someone viewed as inferior, as with other forms of racial prejudice, and a fear of someone feared as superior, with amazing powers. Hitler in his Mein Kampf rants on about how if a few thousand Jews had been exterminated in the First World War, Germany’s war-drive would not have been sabotaged. The untermenschen who can bring down a massive nation!

    This is reflected in the idea that a ‘Jewish Lobby’ runs US foreign policy, an idea that is popular on the far right, conspiracy fans and in the Middle East, where it keys in with the prevalence of conspiracies as an explanation for political failure, and where aspects European-style anti-Semitism have been adopted. It also lurks within the anti-globalisation and anti-banker occupy movements, although it’s only a marginal factor and tends to be implicit rather than an open attack on ‘Jewish bankers and financiers’. Richard Dawkins has also asserted that a ‘Jewish Lobby’ runs US foreign policy: this I put down to lack of political nous, not racial prejudice.

    I think a reasonable gauge of popular anti-Semitism might be to see how many Kipper racists are outed wholly, mainly or partly because of it.

    Finally, to refer to the link above, back in the 1930s the Daily Mail was one of the main agitators against ‘refugees’ from Germany and then Austria — Jews fleeing Nazi persecution; the language used was so similar to that used in the paper today against ‘asylum seekers’ and Romanian migrants.

    Dr Paul

    March 7, 2015 at 3:35 pm

  3. My recent reading includes Sartre on anti-Semitism which I found very important.

    Also see http://abahlali.org/files/Jean-Paul_Sartre_Anti-Semite_and_Jew_An_Exploration_of_the_Etiology_of_Hate__1995.pdf

    Andrew Coates

    March 7, 2015 at 5:47 pm

  4. The ‘IBT’ is a very strange “publication” – I know the Mail tends to stink, but in this case a direct quote would probably have been less odious.


    March 7, 2015 at 8:45 pm

  5. This is not a proof of anti semitism at all, anymore than the other similar videos were really proof of sexism. i mean, just dont wear the skullcap and then no one will know or care at all. just as it is rather silly for an asian muslim man with a beard and skullcap to walk around in certain areas and not expect calls of ‘osama bin laden’, or sikhs to get called ‘turbanator’ or chinese to be called ‘bruce lee’.


    March 7, 2015 at 11:23 pm

  6. We could ask ourselves why it is that every time the topic of antisemitism in a ‘national’ context, ie UK or France or Denmark is raised, the conversation is immediately steered to, or contextualised within the framework of zionism, as if all jews everywhere are responsible for the actions of the State of Israel. Antisemitism becoming something imagined, exaggerated or entirely reasonable and understandable in the circumstances. Blowing up jews in Argentina? Well, Israel. Torturing and murdering people at a Chabad House in Bombay? Well, Israel. Speak out against antisemitism? You are a supporter of Israel. Speak out against any other form of racism? Sorry but that’s just a figleaf for your love of Israel.

    Pursuivant to the collapse of the international left, Marxist critiques (remember those) of contending social forces have been largley supplanted by thirdworldist chauvinist bullshit, ie rightwing ‘anti-imperialism’ in the tradition of Hitler, Mussolini, Nasser, Baathism etc, and crackpot conspiracy theorising.

  7. @jackson

    Just as if a black person were to walk along the street in ‘certain areas’ and get ‘n***** n*****, run n***** … die n***** scum’ wouldn’t lrove anything, apart from maybe he was in a ‘Kipper stronghold.

  8. Yup, we should accept that certain areas are ‘no-go’ for people of certain ethnic backgrounds.

    Manchester University students at the Fallowfield Campus who happen to be Jewish should just avoid going in the streets nearby such as the Wilmslow road.

    Unless they are particularly ‘uppity’, like them black folks down at Selma.

    Andrew Coates

    March 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

  9. I think this blog likes to over hype anti Semitism, the next holocaust is just around the corner folks!

    I think this blog does that for political reasons.

    My experience of living in the UK, being from a solidly working class neighbourhood is that anti Semitism is an almost non existent problem. The main preoccupation in this day and age is with Muslims. Anyone who denies this I accuse of being supporters of discrimination against Muslims and apologists for those who would attack them. Yes, that includes you Coates.

    I think this blog contributes to Islamophobia, a term which really incorporates racial attributes, as anyone who is listening to the far right will immediately and clearly see. And anyone who is listening to the casual prejudice of the average man and woman on the street will also see.

    of course, this blog, while promoting and being a champion of Islamophobia, does everything it can to downplay it, just as a modern Nazi party will downplay their admiration of Hitler, even as they give the Nazi salute.

    This is how I would characterize this blog (as an analogy), as being like a Nazi party that denies its love of Hitler even while giving the Nazi salute behind a big symbol that looks very much like the swastika.

    redkorat should be aware when he brings up the subject of Zionism that this article ends with a quote from Galloway about Israel! So why do those who see anti Semitism everywhere, like redkorat, always bring up the subject of Israel?

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    March 8, 2015 at 4:25 pm

  10. Welcome back Beddy.

    Giving up chewing the carpet?

    Andrew Coates

    March 9, 2015 at 12:40 pm

  11. I can well guess what is going on in that one bedroom – and socialism it certainly isnt

    Boleyn Ali

    March 9, 2015 at 2:52 pm

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