A European Jewish organization has issued a call for gentiles on the continent to don kippot and other Jewish apparel and film themselves walking down the street to show their opposition to rising anti-Semitism.
Taking inspiration from the viral success of last year’s ice bucket challenge, Rabbi Menachem Margolin of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association has produced a series of videos in which young Jews, as well as Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau, call on both Jews and gentiles to challenge five friends to take part and post their videos on Facebook and Twitter or else donate $18 to the Jewish advocacy group.
According to Margolin, the campaign will “make sure that people have an opportunity to show solidarity” and that at the end of the day “the majority of people in Europe” is against anti-Semitism.
“The idea is to get as many non-Jews as possible to wear Jewish symbols and show solidarity, and that they are a part of the silent majority that is not anti-Semitic. The idea is to do like the ice bucket challenge and get thousands to publish the videos on Facebook and Twitter,” he said.
When a Jew sees that “his neighbor identifies with him he will feel more secure,” Lau said in his video promoting the campaign.
“It only takes a minute. Just upload a video of yourself walking 10 meters in your neighborhood wearing a kippa or other Jewish symbol and announce ‘I too will proudly join the initiative to increase awareness,’” one young woman in one of the promotional videos entreated.
Anti-Semitism has been rising significantly in Europe and experienced a large bump during last summer’s Israel-Gaza war. In the past year Jewish institutions in Copenhagen, Paris and Brussels have been targeted in violent attacks and both verbal and physical harassment of Jews have increased.
A third of Jews polled by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency in 2013 indicated that they have refrained from wearing religious garb or Jewish symbols out of fear, while 23 percent avoided attending Jewish events or going to Jewish venues.
A recent video of Israeli journalist Zvika Klein being verbally abused while walking through Paris while wearing a kippa and tzitzit went viral, receiving 4,726,814 views and generating media interest worldwide.
A similar video in Malmo, Sweden
, showed invective being hurled at a non-Jewish Swedish journalist posing as a member of the tribe as he walked down the street.
In light of recent events, one German-Jewish leader called for members of his community to hide their kippot in certain neighborhoods.
Many Orthodox Jews in France cover their kippot with baseball caps, while one entrepreneur has begun marketing a kippa made to look like human hair and blend in on one’s head in order to preempt violent attacks.
Take part in the campaign. Send your video to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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