Eitan Levine said he was stunned that his show “Jew or anti-Semite” had 20 million views on TikTok. But he was not surprised that some people criticized him.
“It definitely resonates more with younger people,” Levine said. “There are some, I guess, who are confused and maybe think that I don’t believe there is real anti-Semitism or that I’m minimizing anti-Semitism. That’s not the case. Well sure, anti-Semitism is terrible. My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. I was asked to do fun Jewish content, and that kind of stuff resonated.
Levine, who lives in Harlem and is a cancer survivor, said the goal of his game show is to increase engagement and it also invites surprise responses. On the show, Levine stops people on the street and asks them if they are Jewish. He then gives them a subject and asks them to decide whether he is “Jewish” or “anti-Semitic”.
In a post that got more than 640,000 likes, Levine posed the subject of “cats” to a passerby.
“Okay, the animal [is] Jewish; musical comedy [is] easily anti-Semitic,” joked the young man.
On June 9, Levine will host a live version of his show at Super Secret Arts, a popular live performance space in Brooklyn. He said some people are too quick to label something as anti-Semitism; but that for the most part people know what is anti-Semitic and what is not.
His @eitanthegoalie profile has over 85,000 followers and 3.3 million likes.
“It’s not political,” he said. “It’s about Jewish pride, acknowledging that yes, anti-Semitism is out there but no matter what, we can still have fun.”
Levine said he was near college in Alaska recently and gained recognition through his YouTube show.
“It’s wild,” he said. “I’m shocked that the show…resonates with non-Jews. … There is also a conversation about ‘what is a Jew?’ So there is comedy, but also an educational element.
The author is a New York-based writer.