Antisemitism in Sweden

Surveys show that antisemitism exists in Sweden . The study “Antisemitic images and attitudes in Sweden”, conducted by Henrik Bachner and Jonas Ring, revealed that 1.4 percent of the population disagreed with the assertion that “most Jews are probably decent folks”. [1]

Sweden has a Jewish community of around 20,000, [2] which makes it the 7th largest in the European Union . Yiddish has legal status as one of the country’s official languages . [3] The first Jewish members of the Riksdag , Sweden’s parliament, were elected in 1873.


Early history of Jews in Sweden

Main article: History of the Jews in Sweden

Jews have been permitted to reside in Sweden since the late 18th century. Prior to this, Jews Were Sought after-as teachers of Hebrew in the universities, provided the purpose for being white appointed to the teaching post Was That They convert to Lutheranism . [4] Lutheran Protestantism was the state religion (since the 16th century) and the only accepted religion. Opposition was strong against other faiths, especially Catholicism.

They were sought after to stimulate the Swedish economy , and were actively encouraged to settle. Citation needed ] They required a capital of 2000 riksdalers to obtenir a letter of protection (skyddsbrev). Citation needed ] The status of skyddsjude derived from German schutzjude and the legislation regulating in the 18th century Jews in Sweden Was together could partner after the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee ( Konstitutionsuttskottet ) HAD Obtained copies of the laws regulating German Jews in Saxony , Prussiaand other German kingdoms and duchies. It should be discussed in this report, but it was rejected. [5] The poor Jews were subject to deportation. A wide number of restrictions Were Placed on Jews, Including restricted to towns: Stockholm , Gothenburg , Norrköping and Landskrona : Jews couldn’t resides or own property in the countryside: Was this restriction removed first in 1854. [6] In 1870 Jews received full citizens’ rights and the first Jewish members of the Riksdag , Aron Philipson and Moritz Rubenson Were Elected in 1872. [7]However, non-Protestants, most of whom were Catholics and Jews, were still not admitted to the subject of Christianity in public schools or to the cabinet ministers ( statsråd ). (These restrictions were not removed until January 1, 1953.)

During the early 1900s, the journalist Mauritz Rydgren planned an antisemitic broadsheet . Barthold Lundén published such a newspaper, named Vidi , between 1919 and 1931. In 1923, Lundén also founded the Swedish Antisemitic Union ( Svenska Antisemitiska Föreningen , SAF ). [8]

Fascists, Nazis & the Holocaust

Main article: Nazism in Sweden

Several Swedish fascist and Nazi parties, formed during the 1920s and 1930s, were also strongly antisemitic and / or grew out of the middle of the Antisemitic Union (though it was formally dissolved in 1931). [9]

On January 22, 1932, the largest of these parties, the Svenska National Socialist Party (Swedish National Socialist Party) held its first public rally, when Birger Furugård addressed an audience of 6,000 at the Haymarket in Stockholm. [10] The peak in popularity for Swedish Nazis came in the municipal elections of 1934 when Nazi parties were victorious in over 100 electoral contests. [11]

During 1933-39, some 3,000 Jews migrated to Sweden to persecution in Nazi Germany . citation needed ] Because of the World War II , it became a place of asylum for Jews of occupied Europe : in 1942, 900 Norwegian Jews were given asylum in Nazi Persecution , in October 1943, almost the entire Danish Jewish community, some 8,000 people, was transported to Sweden ( see Rescue of the Danish Jews ). citation needed ] Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg also saved thousands ofHungarian Jews in Budapest by providing them with “protective passports”. He also rented 32 buildings, funded by the United States, and declared them Swedish diplomatic facilities, thus bringing them under the protection of diplomatic immunity. quote needed ]

Following the war, Swedish Nazis sharply antisemitic; as early as May 1945 became early adopters of Holocaust denial . [12] During the immediate post-war period, far right parties were relatively inactive politically. The fascist Nysvenska Rörelsen (NSR, New Swedish Movement, formed in 1941 as Svensk Opposition ). The NSR is an employment agency in Malmö for expatriate Danes and Norwegians who had fled to Sweden after working with German occupation forces.

In 1956, a new Swedish Nazi party, the Nordiska Rikspartiet ( NRP , “Nordic Reich Party”), was formed. It has a paramilitary faction called the National Action Group (RAG, Riksaktiongruppen), and several of its members were convicted of assaults and threats. (In the late 1980s one of the RAG activists was selected from the newly formed Sweden Democrats .)

There was a so-called “Swastika epidemic” in 1960, when the painting of swastikas spread rapidly in many countries. US rabbi Max Nussbaum alleged that the swastika-painting campaign was led from Malmö by Per Engdahl . Engdahl denied this and claimed that the NSR was the victim of a conspiracy by the World Jewish Congress and that the Jews themselves were behind the swastikas. [13] From the middle of the 1960s, the NSR membership and contributions dropped, and the party languished (with the exception of a few high-profile events).

Neo-Nazi, white supremacists & white nationalists

Main articles: Neo-Nazism , White supremacy , and White nationalism

From the late 1980s, new far right groups espousing antisemitic belief emerged in Sweden. These groups are linked largely by the NRP. In it’s magazine, Storm , the party has the ambition to collect all the race-conscious whites. These groups included White Aryan Resistance (1991-93), National Socialist Front (dissolved in 2008) and Legion Wasa (inactive since around 2010).

Sweden remains home to active neo-Nazi or white supremacist organizations espousing antisemitic beliefs, including Nordic Resistance Movement .

Developments since 2000

Many commentators on contemporary anti-Semitism in Sweden have largely produced a mass migration of Muslims who have brought anti-Jewish attitudes from their countries of origin to Sweden. [14] [15] Sweden has the third highest rate of antisemitic incidents in Europe, following Germany and Austria, the Netherlands came third in some years. [16] A government study in 2006 estimated that 15% of Swedes agree with the statement: “The Jews have too much influence in the world today”. [17] 5% of the total adult population and 39% of adult Muslims “harbor systematic antisemitic views”. [17] The former prime minister Göran Perssondescribed these results as “surprising and terrifying”. However, the rabbi of Stockholm’s Orthodox Jewish community, Meir Horden, said that “It’s not true that Swedes are anti-Semitic.” Some of them are hostile to Israel because they support the weak side, which they perceive the Palestinians to be. . ” [18]

In 2010, alleged anti- Semitism among Muslims in Malmo received media attention after a controversial interview with the then city’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu . In March the same year, Fredrik Sieradzk of the Jewish community of Malmö told Die Presse , an Austrian newspaper, that Jews are being “harassed and physically attacked” by “people from the Middle East,” Malmö’s 90,000 Muslims “exhibit hatred of Jews.” [19]

The population of Malmö began to decline in the 1970s due to decline of the dominant-oz shipbuilding and textile industries. This also led to a decrease in the Jewish population. Sieradzk has stated that approximately 30 Jewish families have emigrated from Malmö to Israel in the past year, specifically to escape from harassment. “Malmö is a place to move, but right now they are really concerned about the situation and do not believe they have a future here” he said, citing anti-Semitism as the primary reason. [20]

The Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet reported that attacks on Jews in Malmö totaled 79 in 2009, based on police statistics. [21] In December 2010, the Jewish Human Rights Organization Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel advisory regarding Sweden , advising Jews to express “extreme caution” when visiting the country in the country in the city of Malmö. [22] However, the leader of the Jewish congregation would have liked to consult them before issuing the warning. Fred Khan, the congregation’s chairman told Sydvenska Dagbladetsuggests that the rise in the crime rate might be increased in the future. Members of the congregation do face harassment, but a substantial degree of incidence remains unreported to the police . In the last year, members of the community had been more strongly advised to report to the police. [23] [24] On June 8, 2012, antisemitic graffiti was spray-painted on the outside wall of the old Jewish cemetery in Malmö. The graffiti reads “A PIG” in Swedish (in gray) and a swastika. [25] On September 28, same year, an explosion occurred at a Malmö Jewish community building. [26]

Since 2014, several members of Sverigedemokraterna ( SD ; “Sweden Democrats”), a political party represented in the Swedish Riksdag , have been accused of expressing antisemitic views. While the party (founded in 1988) Describes Itself as social conservative and nationalist , [27] it INITIALLY HAD ties to fascist, white supremacist and other far right groups. [28] [29] [30]

Contemporary acts of antisemitism

According to CFCA (the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism), anti-Semitism in Sweden nowadays focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict . A survey conducted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights found that in 2012, 40-50% of Swedish Jews had frequently heard the accusation that “Israelis behave to the Palestinians like the Nazis to the Jews”. [31] Moreover, a series of proposed measures in Sweden banning kosher slaughter , ritual circumcision , and possibly even the import of kosher meat, had caused a Swedish Jewish activist to file for asylum in her own country. [32]

Also in 2012, the President of the European Jewish Congress , Moshe Kantor condemned the behavior of the Swedish Government to “the only European country that is refusing to discuss the problem of anti-Semitism prevailing within its borders”. [33]

In 2013, a total of ten Antisemitic incidents were reported, including antisemitic statements made by Swedish politicians, which were printed on Jewish property and the slogan “Burn Israel Burn” which was printed on T-shirts. [34]

On the 2015 Journal Ethnic and Racial Studiespublished a research conducted between 2003-2009 in secondary school students in Sweden. Its goal is to examine changes in antisemitic attitudes among youngest. The results of the survey showed no significant change in the total level of antisemitism between the two groups of youths (the group of 2003 and the group of 2009). However, addition results imply other differences: In 2003, students living in the big cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö have the highest levels of anti-Semitism, compared to 2009, when students living in small towns and the countryside of anti-Semitism. Further findings showed that in both 2003 and 2009 students outside Sweden, or their parents were born outside of Sweden, higher levels of anti-Semitism compared to students born in Sweden.[35]

In December 2017 a dozen men hurled Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Gothenburg . No injuries were reported, and those inside the building hid in the basement. The incident followed a pro-Palestinian protest. [36] Two days later, an arson attack took place at a Jewish cemetery. [37]

Situation in Malmö since 2009

On 13 January 2009, Molotov’s cocktails were thrown inside and outside a funeral chapel at the old Jewish cemetery in the city of Malmo , south Sweden, in what appeared to be an antisemitic act. It was the third time the chapel had been attacked in the few weeks before this incident. [38]

In March 2010, Fredrik Sieradzk of the Jewish Community of Malmö told Die Presse , an Austrian newspaper, that Jews were being “harassed and physically attacked” by “people from the Middle East,” he added that Malmö’s 40,000 Muslims “exhibit hatred of Jews.” [19] Lea Gleitman, an Auschwitz survivor who had devoted her life to teaching about the Holocaust , stated that she was being called to teach about the Holocaust at Muslim-majority schools. [39]Sieradzk also stated that approximately 30 years of age had been emigrated from Malmö to Israel in the previous year, specifically to escape from harassment, estimating that the already small Jewish population was shrinking by 5 per cent a year. “Malmo is a place to move in, but right now they are really concerned about the situation and do not believe they have a future here” he said, citing anti-Semitism as the primary reason. [20]

In 2010, The Forward reported on the current state of the Jews and the level of antisemitism in Sweden. Henrik Bachner, a writer and professor of history at the University of Lund , claimed that members of the Swedish Parliament had attended anti-Israel rallies where the Israeli flag was burned while the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah were waved, and the rhetoric was often antisemitic. -not just anti-Israel. But such public rhetoric had not been branded as hateful and denounced. Charles Small, director of the Yale University Initiative for the Study of Antisemitism, stated that “Sweden is a microcosm of contemporary anti-Semitism.” It’s a form of acquiescence to radical Islam, which is diametrically opposed to everything. Per Gudmundson, chief editorial writer forSvenska Dagbladet , has sharply criticized the politicians who he claims offer “weak excuses” for Muslims accused of antisemitic crimes. “Politicians say these kids are poor and oppressed, and we hate them, they are, in effect, saying the behavior of these kids is in some way our fault.” [20]

As of 2010, the Jewish community of Malmö consisted of about 700 individuals, most of whom were descendants of refugees from Poland and Germany during the Second World War . [40] The Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet reported that there had been 79 attacks on Jews in Malmö in 2009, according to police statistics. [21] Judith Popinski, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, told The Daily Telegraphthat she was no longer invited to schools with a large Muslim presence to tell her story of surviving the Holocaust. Popinski, who found refuge in Malmö in 1945, stated that, until recently, she was told her story in Malmö schools as part of their Holocaust studies program, but that now, many schools were no longer asking Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, because Muslim students dealing with such disrespect, or ignoring them or walking out of the class. She further stated that “Malmo reminds me of the anti-Semitism I felt as a child in Poland before the war.I am not safe as a Jew in Sweden any more.” [41]

In December 2010, the Simon Wiesenthal Center , a Jewish Human Rights Organization, issued a travel advisory regarding Sweden , advising Jews to express “extreme caution” when visiting the country, of Jews in the city of Malmo. [22]

On September 6, 2012, the international United Nations Watch organism discussed the anti-Semitic attacks in Malmö and stated it considered the phenomenon extremely serious, given Sweden’s candidacy for membership in the UN Human Rights Council. [42] The organization called on Sweden to provide adequate protection for the Jewish community and to develop special initiatives aimed at educating against anti-Semitism. It also reprimanded Reepalu for what it viewed as its multiple defamatory and incendiary remarks concerning the Jewish community in Malmö and the anti-Semitism it faces. Moreover, recent articles on the looming attacks on Malmö’s Jewish community were published in the Swedish media also during the year of 2012, in particular an attack on the Jewish center on 28 September 2012. [43]In the wake of a report that has been made in Sweden, the discourse has been further discussed with the anti-Semitism, whether linked to the classic Jewish-hatred or exacerbated by the prolonged Arab- Israeli conflict. [44]

I wanted to build bridges between Jews and Muslims in Malmö because of anti-Semitism is a problem in the city. After that I realized that this was the case. Now I work to fight all kinds of xenophobia. – Siavosh Derakhti [45]

In 2013, Siavosh Derakhti , a Swedish-born son of Iranian immigrant parents and founder of Young People Against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia , received the first Raoul Wallenberg Award, an honor named after the Swedish diplomat during the Second World War. Because of its social activism focused on reducing anti-Semitism and xenophobia, the selection committee said that it was a “positive example” in his hometown of Malmö and throughout Sweden. [46]On Nov. 8, 2012, the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism Gets its First Elsa Award, established by Committee member Henrik Frenkel in memory of his parents to encourage young people to include social media into the battle against Swedish anti-Semitism. [47]

In December 2017, after president Donald Trump announced that Jerusalem will be recognized as the capital of Israel by the United States , there was a spontaneous demonstration in a central square Möllevångstorget where some 200 people who shouted that “an intifada has been proclaimed from Malmö and we will shoot the Jews “. The following day is another crowd gathered to shout that “Jews must remember that the army of Muhammad will return”. No organizing for the crowd could be identified. [48]

2009 Davis Cup

Main article: 2009 Malmö anti-Israel riots

In 2009, Malmo has hosted tennis match entre Israel and Sweden During the Davis Cup , partner after the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict . The Malmö Municipality politicians were concerned about extremists, and decided to leave the door open. [49] However, many Swedish politicians have been called to the post-war and the aftermath of the Gaza Warwith this idea being discarded because of the Swedish side of the game, and therefore the team’s elimination, from the Cup tournament. A plan to move the match from Malmö to Stockholm. In the end, Israel defeated and eliminated the Swedish team by a 3-2 score. The game drew more than 6,000 pro-Palestinian protesters, making it one of the largest demonstrations against Israel in Swedish history . More than 100 protesters detained This Were you Several hundred Arab nationalists and supporters of the far-left clashed with more than 1,000 policemen That Were guarding the stadium. [50]Malmö was banned from hosting any further Davis Cup matches in the aftermath of the riots. [51] The city was also fined $ 25,000 by the International Tennis Federation [52] (lowered to $ 5,000 on appeal) and forced to pay an additional $ 15,000 to recoup revenues when spectators were barred from the match.

Ilmar Reepalu

Main article: Ilmar Reepalu

Malmö’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu (a Social Democrat ), for denying the rise of Antisemitism in Malmö. . [53] [54] [55] [56] [57]

When confronted with the issue during an interview in 2010 with Andreas Lovén , a journalist in Skånska Dagbladet , Reepalu stated: “We accept neither Zionism nor anti-Semitism. . ” He also criticized the Malmö’s Jewish community for its support for Israel, stating that “I would like to see the Jewish community to denounce Israeli violations against the civilian population in Gaza. [of Malmö], which could send the wrong signals. ” [58]

Jewish leaders responded to the Reepalu was referred to as “pro-peace rally” by the Jewish Community in Malmö “which came under attack of members of a violent counter demonstration” and accused Reepalu of “suggesting that violence directed towards us is our own fault simply because we do not speak out against Israel. ” [59]

Reepalu has been quoted from the infamous demonstration, by police figures. However, the same police figures show that hate crimes against Jews have doubled over the last year. [60] [61] [62] In January, when asked to explain why Jewish religious services often require protection and protection, Reepalu claimed that the violence directed to Malmö’s Jewish community is from right-wing extremists, and not Muslims. [63]

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph in February 2010, Reepalu was asked about the antisemitism of Malmö moving to Israel. Reepalu again denied that there is violence directed at Jews in Malmö, stating that:

There have not been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews from the city want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmo. [54]

Reepalu added on Danish television that the criticism of his statement was a product of pro-Israeli lobbyism . [39]

The leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Mona Sahlin , described Reepalu’s comments as “unfortunate.” [54] Reputed statements by Sieradzk, who argues that “it is more often than not that they are used to dealing with the policies of Israel, even if Jews in Malmö have nothing to do with Israeli politics. ” [20]

Reepalu later conceded that it has not been made aware of the situation by Jews. Reepalu then claimed that Skånska Dagbladet , Reepalu’s controversial statements, had misrepresented him as antisemitic; the newspaper was subsequently banned from a press conference at City Hall, reportedly at Reepalu’s request. In response, Skånska Dagbladet published on its website Tales of its interview with Reepalu, published in Malmö Jews, and the exchange of messages between the newspaper and the mayor’s office . [53] [64]

In March 2012, Reepalu again came under criticism from the Jewish community when he told a Swedish magazine that the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party [Swedish Democrats] had “infiltrated” the city’s Jewish community in order to turn against Muslims. Reepalu later said he had no basis for his remarks that he “should not have that way.” Jewish community feels Officials subsequently a letter to the Social Democratic leader Stefan Löfven condemning what HAD Reepalu said. The letter stated that “Regardless of what he says and does, we do not trust him.” Lofven and Social Democratic Secretary Carin Jämtin , Reepalu

Reepalu Responded to this controversy by Stating in an interview with Haaretz That “I’ve never been an anti-Semite and never will be.” [65]

Alleged antisemitic statements by members of Sweden Democrats since 2014

In a 2014 interview with the newspaper Dagens Nyheter , Björn Söder at the time party secretary and Second Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag Stated That, In His view, people with dual national identities Would not Necessarily Identify as Swedish and immigrants shoulds-have to UNDERGO Cultural assimilation . [66] [67] Söder stated that officially recognized minorities, including Jews, Sami , and Tornedalians in many cases had dual cultural identities and would probably be proud of both. [66]However, Söder’s remarks were disparate in the sense that they could not be of sufficient value. [68] [69] The comments caused other parliamentary parties to call for Söder’s resignation. [70] The Simon Wiesenthal Center listed on the list of the top ten most anti-semitic events of 2014. [71] [72] [73] In an interview with the Jerusalem Post , Söder denied the charges of antisemitism and claimed Dagens Nyheter had taken his statements out of context. [74]

In October 2016, Oscar Sjöstedt making antisemitic jokes was released. Whilst at a party, believed to have taken place in 2011, he laughingly told a story about forming co-workers with Nazi sympathies mocking Jews and comparing them to sheep. [75] During the same month, the parliamentarian and second vice-party leader Carina Herrstedt was confronted with having felt an allegedly racist , anti- Semitic , homophobic and anti-Romaniistemail to her then spouse in 2011. The email, which had been leaked from the party’s internal servers, for instance contained words that named black football players from the team Landskrona BoIS as niggers while also picturing Romani people as thieves. [76]

In December 2016, the parliamentarian Anna Hagwall was thrown out of the party after using arguments against antisemitism to argue for a bill that was introduced to reduce concentration of media ownership in Sweden. [77]

In September 2017, it was brought to light that 14 active or formed municipal representatives of the party had supported the Nordic Resistance Movement , a Neo-Nazi organization, financially through memberships or purchases of antisemitic and racist literature or memories. [78] [79]

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