Twitter users have been sharing harrowing tales of antisemitism for the first time this week, in response to a rabbi’s online campaign.
Zvi Solomons took to social media to ask online users about their first encounter of Jew hate, under the hashtag #FirstAntisemiticExperience which has been shared hundreds of times.
Among the tweets sent was from Swedish-Jewish journalist Annika H Rothstein, who said; “My #FirstAntisemiticExperience was in 7th grade; 6 neo-nazis at school stood next to my locker saying I should be turned into soap like “the others”.
For three years they tormented me to the point where I ended up shaving off my big, curly hair, hoping to hide my “Jewishness”.
She included a striking picture of herself with a shaved head.
Journalist James Masters said his first brush with hate “was in the playground at school, beaten up on the concrete as an eight-year-old by an older student while he shouted “F***ing Jew.” That was just the first time…”
Joanne Bell weighed in, saying after a minor car accident with her parents aged five “the PC came over to my parents noting that the other driver was called Cohen & beware he would try to do them on the insurance as he was a Yid. My parents kept quiet; Mum cried afterwards.”
Non-Jewish tweeters also contributed, with Anglican Priest Patrick Morrow saying: “At school in the mid 80s. Another pupil dropped some loose change. I made to pick it up. He stopped me: “Don’t be a Jew”.” He added “No pupil in the school identified as Jewish – rural North Yorks”.
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, of Reform Judaism said he first time she remembered racism due to her faith was as a “10-year-old walking with sis into our village.
A group were leaving the synagogue from a wedding. Two blokes walking past us said ‘F*+king Jews taking over the place’. But I also grew up belonging here. Hate is on the rise for so many and we need to fight it”.
Speaking to Jewish News, Rabbi Zvi, ,the religious leader of the Jewish Community of Berkshire in Reading, said he launched the hashtag: “to show that the cruelty of antisemitism starts very early, and Jews can never escape it. In allows us to show how resilient we are, and allows us to support each other and laugh at the stupidity of it.”
He added, “many people seem to think that antisemitism is a thing of the past, or not as serious as other forms of hatred. In fact it’s surprisingly persistent and pernicious.”
#FirstAntisemiticExperience – over to you. Please use the hashtag and tweet by replying to me here.
— Rabbi Zvi Solomons ???? (@RabbiZvi) January 7, 2019