Channel 4 News has been criticised for asking a Jewish journalist who recorded himself being spat at while walking around Paris if wearing a kippa might be an ‘act of provocation’.
Zvika Klein documented the anti-Semitic reactions to his traditional Jewish clothing during a 10 hour walk through the city.
During Channel 4 News on Thursday, presenter Jackie Long asked Klein: ‘Do you accept that the video was an act of provocation?
He replied: “I don’t think it should be a provocation because this is the way I dress. I wear a kippah on my head every day, everywhere I go except for certain places in Europe because I’m afraid for my safety. I wouldn’t recommend my friends in Europe to walk around with this [a kippah] on their head because it’s dangerous.”
“From my standpoint, nobody should be harassed because of their religion. Religion should be something that you could practice anywhere.”
Speaking to Jewish News, Zvika said he “was shocked to be asked such a question. I never thought that expressing my beleifs by wearing a kippa is a “provocation”. Is dressing as a muslim a provocation? Is wearing a cross a provication? I am deeply offended and shocked that this is the British media”.
Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust responded to the interview with a blog post, which you can read here.
In the post, he says: “Walking in public wearing a yarmulke is not “an act of provocation”. Highlighting antisemitic abuse directed at a visibly Jewish man in public is not “an act of provocation”. It should be possible for a Jew to walk in safety along any street in Europe. Anything less should be unacceptable to everybody who opposes antisemitism and racism.”
BICOM Chief Dermot Keyhoe also told Jewish News: “Channel 4 News has missed an opportunity to explore the issues raised in this disturbing video.”
Writing in the Washington Post, journalist David Bernstein noted: “At least, unlike European newscasters, she didn’t ask whether it was all Israel’s fault. Nevertheless, it strikes me that if any other group – women, Muslims, blacks, fat people, gypsies – was being harassed on the streets of Paris, reporters would be asking someone in Klein’s position a very different, and much more sympathetic, set of questions. Anti-Semitism in Europe’s Muslim minority is a serious problem… Jews are far too small a minority to deal with harassment and violence on their own.”