Hen Mazzig on ‘The Wrong Kind of Jew’
As a social media influencer, Mizrahi activist, pro-Israel educator, and member of the LGBTQ community, Hen Mazzig carries around many different identities.
The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles ran a feature I wrote on author and social media influencer Hen Mazzig, who co-founded the Tel Aviv Institute to help combat online antisemitism in a scientific way.
As a social media influencer, Mizrahi activist, pro-Israel educator, and member of the LGBTQ community, Hen Mazzig carries around many different identities. Because of that, he is in constant “teacher” mode as he tries to dispel many preconceived ideas about who he is to Jews and non-Jews alike. That cultural kaleidoscope forms the basis of his recent book, “The Wrong Kind of Jew: A Mizrahi Manifesto,” published by Wicked Son Books.
It all came to a head back in October 2016, when Mazzig was a guest speaker at University College London (UCL). He was greeted by protesters who shouted anti-Israel slogans to drown out his speech. The event was so raucous, the police were called to escort the pro-Palestinian demonstrators away from the event.
The incident had such an impact on Mazzig, it made him rethink everything he was doing in his pro-Israel outreach work. The protesters called him all kinds of names. It didn’t seem to matter that Mazzig’s time in the army was spent working with Palestinians to help bring humanitarian aid and infrastructure like roads and hospitals to Palestinian civilians as part of the Oslo Accords.
“In the beginning, when I was attacked, I was very worried. And I started looking inward. And I said, ‘Okay, what am I doing wrong? What am I speaking about that they don’t like to hear? How can I fix it?’ And I realized that it’s not about what I say. It’s about who I am.” — Hen Mazzig
Read my entire feature on ‘The Wrong Kind of Jew’ in the Jewish Journal