In what proved to be a revealing social experiment he called “10 hours of fear and loathing in Paris,” Israeli journalist Zvika Klein was insulted and spat upon as he walked through the streets of Paris wearing a yarmulke.
Conclusion? The solidarity supporting peace and freedom of expression touted at the rally following the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices was short-lived.
Klein followed a videographer wearing a GoPro camera hidden inside a backpack as the pair roamed the streets of the City of Lights.
“What is he doing here Mommy?” one little boy asked, according to Klein. “Doesn’t he know he will be killed?”
That seemed to sum up Klein’s experience precisely.
Writing of his experience for nrg.co.ik, Klein said:
“Go f*** from the front and the back,” “Viva Palestine,” “Hey you, with the kippa, what are you doing here?” these were only a few of the remarks sent my way as I was walking through the streets of Paris wearing a tzitzit and a kippa.
Welcome to Paris 2015, where soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution, and where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner. Walking down one Parisian suburb, I was asked what I doing there. In modern-day Paris, you see, Jews are barred from entering certain areas.
U.S. journalists were condemned for referring to such areas as “no-go zones,” and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo even threatened to sue Fox News, claiming that it’s use of the term hurt the city’s tourist industry, according to The Washington Post.
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.
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.
Klein’s experiment is similar to that of John Howard Griffin, a white journalist who passed himself off as a black man in early 1960s white America. He wrote of his experience in a 1961 book, “Black Like Me,” which was later adapted into a motion picture.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to immigrate to Israel, proclaiming, “Israel is your home.”
It sure doesn’t appear to be Paris.
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