Jews Are Tweeting With The Hashtag #FirstAntiSemiticExperience, And It’s Horrifying

A penny to the head, a fist to the face, scanning for horns… when did it first happen to you?

A call from a British Rabbi for Jewish Twitter users to share their #FirstAntisemiticExperience has yielded a surge of painful memories on the social media site.

Rabbi Zvi Solomons serves the Jewish Community of Berkshire, an Orthodox community in the English town of Reading, barely half an hour train ride west of London. Responding to an historic high of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK — as well as to the very public accusations of anti-Semitism in the British Labour party, particularly from leader Jeremy Corbyn — Solomons asked Jews to share their earliest memories of enduring slurs and violence.

The hashtag has succeeded in demonstrating that the problem of anti-Semitism is “universal,” says Rabbi Solomons, noting that examples range from outright violence to subtle prejudice.

The answers are both painfully varied and painfully overlapping: many report experiencing violence, discrimination from teachers, slurs from childhood friends, Holocaust denial, approval of the Holocaust and taunts by Evangelical Christians. Of the growing hundreds of responses, the preponderance are from British Jews (helped by the fact that Solomon is British, working at a British congregation) with American, Canadian, and other European Jews chiming in. A surprising number mention violence. Many come from younger Jews.

Here is a small selection of the tweets.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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Jews Are Tweeting With The Hashtag #FirstAntiSemiticExperience, And It’s Horrifying

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