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UNPACKED Launches French YouTube Channel to Combat Antisemitism and Misinformation

The new channel, called “On déballe!”, which means “We unpack," features French versions of its videos on topics like Ethiopian Jews, the Dreyfus Affair and Napoleon’s involvement in the Jewish community.
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June 10, 2024

Since Oct. 7, misinformation about Israel and the Jewish people has been running rampant online. From disparaging videos on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram to hateful comments on Facebook and X, all the major platforms have experienced an overwhelming influx of antisemitic and deceitful content.

One non-profit that’s always worked hard to dispel myths about Israel and the Jewish people is UNPACKED, a division of OpenDor Media, which creates engaging, informative and inspiring Jewish- and Israel-related educational media for young people. It has more than 242,000 followers on its YouTube channel in English; now, it’s launched a French version as well, featuring videos that were translated by native French speakers. The new channel, called which means “We unpack,” features French versions of its videos on topics like Ethiopian Jews, the Dreyfus Affair and Napoleon’s involvement in the Jewish community.

“There is an urgent need to reach people with content that provides credible information and understanding,” said Andrew Savage, CEO of OpenDor Media. “As well as a moment of great need, this is also a moment of real opportunity. Young Jews are feeling more Jewish than ever before. And Jews and non-Jews want to understand all things related to Israel, and Jews. In that context, we have an opportunity and an obligation to ensure that understanding is being shaped by credible, thoughtful content. We believe doing so moves hearts and minds in a way that counters misinformation and antisemitism.”

“There is an urgent need to reach people with content that provides credible information and understanding.” – Andrew Savage

Right now, antisemitism is a growing problem in France. According to a study by Tel Aviv University and the ADL, in 2023, France experienced a near-quadrupling of antisemitic incidents in 2023; in 2022, there were 436 incidents, and in 2023, there were 1,676. That was the highest increase in antisemitic incidents among countries that have reliable statistics.

At the same time, worldwide, French is the fifth most spoken language, and more people are starting to speak it. By 2050, there will be a projected 750 million French speakers, and in the U.S., curriculum in French and English are becoming increasingly common.

“Given that impact at scale is an integral part of our mission, the idea of branching out into other languages has always seemed a good one,” said Savage. “And, given that we already have the assets that simply need to be translated/rerecorded in other languages, branching out into other languages is likely to be a cost-effective means of expanding our market.”

At first, UNPACKED, which creates articles, podcasts and videos for Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, experimented with cheaper and faster options that relied on AI tools or dubbing to recreate the videos in French. Ultimately, they decided to opt for the more expensive option of rerecording the videos with native French speakers as hosts and with the animation reedited to French text.

“We’ve also been working hand in hand with a partner who is living and active in the Jewish community in France to identify which videos it makes sense to translate,” Savage said. “The result is a more authentic and high-quality product that feels like it’s been produced for its audience by those who understand that audience, rather than as an afterthought. Where appropriate, we’ve also made slight changes to scripts to reflect local interests and context.”

So far, the channel is showing promise. Between months one and two, the number of views tripled, and in the third month since the launch, views quadrupled. Currently, the most popular video is “What Happened to Mizrahi Jews of Arab Countries?” or “Qu’est-il arrivé aux JUIFS MIZRAHIM des PAYS ARABES?”, which is about Jews from countries like Morocco, Tunisia and Iraq who lived under Muslim rule and often had to flee due to persecution. The English version, which was released in 2022, has 332,660 views.

While “On déballe!” is UNPACKED’s first venture into content in other languages, according to Savage, there are plans to replicate the model in Spanish, German and Russian.

“We would love to both continue to grow the French language YouTube channel and also to expand onto other platforms and to create podcasts, short and longer form videos, and web articles in the same way UNPACKED does in English,” he said.

For now, UNPACKED’s goal is to stick to their mission, ensuring that they continue to operate on a content-first approach to inform young audiences – whether or not they’re Jewish.

“We find that our approach resonates because it both informs and educates whilst, at the same time, entertains and inspires,” said Savage. “Our hope is that, through the launch of our French language content, we can share the beauty as well as complexity of Zionism and Judaism, and help people understand Jewish history, culture and values.”

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