The Union of Jewish Students of France will launch a media campaign next week aimed at “sensitizing” the French about anti-Semitism. The campaign has caused controversy by calling Jesus and Mary “dirty Jews.”
The campaign aims to counter the arguments of those who attack Jews, with a series of public service announcements in the media.
The controversial messages present images of Jesus and Mary in pastel colors, with their hands open and smiles on their faces, but with the caption “dirty Jew” written in black with the phrase: “Anti-Semitism. What if it affected everyone?”
Although the Union’s president, Yonathan Arfi, argues that the purpose of the spots is to sensitize those who are neither Jewish nor anti-Semites, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism has asked the Union to “annul and change the language of this campaign,” calling it “shocking” and questioning whether it will have a positive impact.
Despite the protests, major French newspapers have offered full-page ads to the campaign. Only the main producer of street signs and billboards, JC Decaux, which had promised to offer 250 sites, retracted after seeing the signs.
The secretary of the Bishops Committee on Jewish relations, Patrick Desbois, said the campaign goes too far and will be seen as “anti-Christian.”
Auxiliary Bishop of Paris Pierre d’Ornellas, said he favored a joint effort against the campaign between the Church and the chief rabbi of France.