In 2010, to raise awareness about growing anti-Semitism in Dutch society, Lody van de Kamp, a rabbi born in eastern Netherlands to two survivors of the Holocaust, decided to walk the streets of Amsterdam wearing a kippah, and carrying a hidden camera. He encountered a young boy who raised his right arm in a Nazi salute. Hearing of the incident, Saïd Bensellam, a kickboxer of Moroccan descent, who grew up on the streets of Amsterdam and was well-known amongst young people in the area, decided to call the rabbi to offer his support. Together they went to speak to the boy to help him understand why his actions had been so hurtful. It worked. According to Lody: ‘It turned out that the boy didn’t know anything about the meaning of the Nazi salute; and when I explained he wanted to do everything he could to fix what he had done.’
Since that moment Saïd and Lody have shared a common vision: a society in which everyone can be who they are, without discrimination or violence. The foundation that they subsequently established aims to bring people from diverse backgrounds together to promote dialogue and help them understand the value of diversity and of ‘being different.’ By focusing on interpersonal relationships and sharing personal stories they try to help young people see that ‘there is more that binds us than divides us.’ They work with local communities, schools, youth and social workers, and the Dutch police.