Israel’s Channel 10 television correspondent Miri Michaeli Schwartz has been harassed in the past in Europe because she is a Jew, but for some reason this time it felt different, and she wrote about the experience in a post on Facebook.
It was surprising to find her first-person narrative there, because so few journalists are ever really willing to discuss what happens behind the scenes. It’s not considered “good form,” especially when one is trying to be objective in reporting. But this is no longer only about objective reporting: it’s also about sharing the personal details of what the experience can FEEL like from the victim’s perspective, in a manner most others are incapable of describing it. It is fortunate that she has done so, for this story must be told.
“I was not going to upload this video; you can’t really understand exactly what happened in this short clip,” Schwartz begins, explaining why she uploaded a very brief video on to Facebook, showing her fending off a hostile pro-Palestinian attacker. “But after the report that was published yesterday presenting the problem of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe, I got some questions from viewers and friends who claimed that the media (and I, as part of it) exacerbated the situation.
“So yes, if you walk through the streets of Paris you may not feel anything,” she continues. “But if you’ll wear a yarmulke, or a necklace with a Star of David, or hold a microphone that reads in Hebrew, “Channel 10,” there are reasonable grounds to believe that sooner or later, you will realize the reality is worse than what the report showcased,” she goes on. “These comments I’m talking about are not being taken into consideration in reports, no one reports them. It happens here, every day and everywhere and it happened to me.
“This was not the first time these type of comments were directed at me as I stood in the street in one of the capitals of Europe and reported. Usually it’s something to do with Israel.
“This time I went Eurostar (the train from London to central Paris) on my way from the Alps to report on the crash of the German Wings flight, just b efore reporting this happened. What you see here was just the beginning, the man whose face you can not see in the video sees Hebrew writing on the microphone and informs his friends. They started to harass me.
“What happened next was much more stressful: they surrounded me,” she continues. “Four or five men and began to swear at me, the word “Jew” was repeated. My hands are shaking three weeks after, when I think of the things they said. I stood in the street, I did not bother anyone and I got curses, threatening gestures and actual threats. I looked around, the street was crowded with people who paid attention to what happened, viewing from the sidelines. A person who filmed what happened [with a] smartphone, but no one came to my aid. I felt threatened when I ran (yes, the right word) to the train station; there were soldiers. Only then they left me.
“Anti-Semitism in central Paris, just because my microphone had Hebrew writing on it.
“So no, no we aren’t exaggerating when we say anti-Semitism is real. That’s the reality. Now we have to fight it.”