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June 13, 2013 6:06 pm

Twilight for the Jews of Sweden?

avatar by Saskia Pantell

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Rabbi Namdar of Chabad of Sweden.

On Sunday June, 2, 2013 several pro-Israel rallies, parades and other events took place around the world. But the celebration in Stockholm, Sweden organized by the Zionist Federation of Sweden (ZF), The World Zionist Organization of Israel (WZO), and local activists took a different turn with a specific message: “Enough is enough.” Not only did this demonstration show support for Israel, it also was a stand against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism which are rampant in modern day Sweden.

We have seen an increase in reported anti-Semitic attacks but no charges, arrests or convictions. Nor have any leading politicians shown any concern. Angry anti-Israel demonstrators can shout their message of hate freely, while peaceful pro-Israel rallies are surrounded by police. Jews routinely hide their Magen David necklace’s under their shirts and remove kippahs as soon as they exit shul. This is the reality of Sweden in 2013.  Exemplary of the dangers posed to Jews, one report said that  “the Jewish communities spend at least 25 per cent of their funds on security  measures.”

In May 2013 Malmo, Sweden hosted the “Eurovision Song Contest,” a European tradition for more than fifty years. Much like the Olympics it seeks to unite nations peacefully through music. The theme of this year’s contest was “We Are One.” But the focus wasn’t all-positive since the event was held in the city of Malmö, which is well known for anti-Semitism.

During the song fest, there was a large anti-Israel demonstration in which Daniel Sestrajcic, chairman of Malmö’s municipality’s culture committee , was a keynote speaker. Typical for Sestrjcic, he spewed anti-Semitic remarks. Departing from the theme of “We Are One” Sestrajcic stated that “Israel would be welcome back when Palestine is free” and that “together we shall get this State (Israel) to fall.” His tirade was aimed strictly at Israel. He made no mention of states that participated in the contest which have been cited for human rights violations.

Later in another protest rally–even though Israel had been eliminated from the finals–demonstrators, sang reworded famous Swedish Eurovision songs critical of Israel– and pro Palestinian. Independent Israeli journalists covering the Eurovision Song Contest received threats from some local youths who asked the journalists if they were Israeli. Sensing a dangerous situation, they said they where from Cyprus. The youths then asked, “Where are the Israelis staying, we want to bomb the place?”

Another disturbing incident took place in a taxi when local Jews where leaving the Israeli delegates pre-party. When the taxi driver discovered where they where coming from and that they were Jewish, he started insulting them in Arabic. A local young Jewish girl, Eden Victoria, reported, “he called us Jew-devils, and  me a ” Jew-whore” and “disgusting.”  Eden added, “I have heard things before and am quite used to some comments, but this was more than usual. Especially when he called his friends to tell them where he was driving us and that he had Jew-devils in the car.” In 2010 Malmö saw violent riots during the well known international Davis Cup tennis tournament, as reported by the Associated Press: “The rioters hurled rocks and firecrackers at the police vans as they tried to break through the barricades…” That’s why the authorities decided that there would be no audience during the game between Sweden and Israel due to security concerns. More than 7,000  protesters gathered outside the stadium over the Israeli presence.  Sadly, international events in Malmö have become  open platforms for violent  anti- Semitic and anti-Zionism demonstrations.

In response to blatant anti-Semitism in Malmo, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has issued travel advisory warnings for Sweden several times over the last few years– especially for Jews intending to visit the southern city of Malmo: “We reluctantly are issuing this advisory because religious Jews and other members of the Jewish community there have been subject to anti-Semitic taunts and harassment.”  Confirming the complaints of Jews who have been subjected to attacks the Wiesenthal advisory added: “There have been dozens of incidents reported to the authorities but have not resulted in arrest or convictions for hate crimes”

In April 2012, President Obama, concerned with anti-Semitism in Malmo, sent his Special Envoy Hanna Rosenthal to speak to Ilmar Reepalu, the mayor of Malmo about the problem. After their meeting Rosenthal stated “I don’t know what is inside his head or heart. But I do know that the language he uses is anti-Semitic“

During his reign of almost 20 years, Ilmar Reepalu has frequently made the eye-brow raising accusation that anti- Semitic attacks on the city’s Jews are due to the Jews themselves not actively distancing themselves from Israel’s politics.  He called the Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden “a match against the State of Israel.“ When asked more specifically about anti-Semitism he said: “the city of Malmö accepts neither Zionism nor Anti-Semitism.”

In Sweden, a country of nine million, it is estimated that there are about 15-17.000 Jews. Not surprisingly, the Jewish population in Malmö has been decreasing for decades. Thirty years ago the affiliated Jewish community in Malmo numbered 2000, a decade ago 1000, and today only 500. Now, a third of the population of Malmo consists of immigrants from Muslim countries.

So how do us Swedish Jews move forward?  In recent years the response within the Jewish and Zionist population in Sweden has been changing toward more open posturing.  When I was growing up in Sweden in the province of Dalarna my parents and grandparents told me to keep quiet about my Jewish background. I didn’t know any Jews my age until I was 23 years old when I moved to a larger city to attend Uppsala University. Today more and more Jewish Swedes are “coming out” as Jews and Zionists.  Also encouraging is an increase each year in pro-Israel bloggers and activists.

Other events have been organized to bring Jews together and celebrate pride in their Jewish identities. For example, the Jewish Community of Malmö has organized “kippah-walks.” After Shul on Shabbat Jews walk together (with heavy security provided by police; usually a van in the front and back and also along the side plus police walking amongst us by foot) wearing kippahs. We have also held a kippah walk in Stockholm, in solidarity with the Jewish community in Malmö.   I believe that these walks along with  pro-Israel demonstrations– like a rally held last September in Stockholm and another one  on June 2nd—will boost self-confidence and unity among Jews while challenging and standing up to anti-Semitism. They also present a strong statement of support for Israel in a country where just waving an Israeli flag is usually met with protest and threats. Yet, Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East—should be seen by Sweden as a friend and ally.

Saskia is the Vice President of the Zionist Federation of Sweden.

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  • I read this article and the following comments today dec 2014.Sadly enough all your criticism and all incidents you refer to are true. We are in a very critical situation and to defend Israel drains all our mental power. To name someone an antisemite causes a media storm and to pass the “gates” to Swedish newspapers for us is not to Think of. With this I just want you to know that there is a strong will to support Israel, the jewish state”, behind the Swedish curtains of antisemitism and desinformations.

  • It’s always the quiet one’s that you have to be weary of unfortunately that means Sweden today. After world war two Sweden became a haven for some Jews especially polish survivors of Hitler’s death camp. Sweden to them was a utopia, again in 1968 when the repressive communist regime of Poland’s General Wojciech Jaruzelski turned very anti-Jewish once again,therefore the few thousand of Jews still living openly as Jews in Poland decided to leave before matters worsened. They were welcomed with open arms in Sweden, however today things have changed greatly, especially with the large influx of Muslims from all over the Arab and Islamic world, they have imported their hatred of Israel and all things Jewish. The Swedish government should never have allowed this climate of hatred to have been absorbed into Sweden, the Swedish government has forsaken their commitment of duty to safeguard the Jewish community adequately from abuse and attacks mostly committed by Muslims, The Swedish government plays down the effect of Jew-hatred because they don’t want to exasperate bad feelings with the large Muslim community, therefore they have consigned the Jews to their own fate. Sweden would be happy now if the 15,000 very small Jewish community (depleting every year) would simply vanish into thin air.

  • vivian hanson

    I am 1st generation American…My mother immigrated from Stockholm in 1921..Most all my family is there….You are a coward, Sweden…we used to honor you and your traditions…never again are are an evil nation….you know better…but your choice is anti-Semitism……may Sweden rot in Hell for this.

  • Elvira Schwaratz

    Whatever happened to Hans Christian Anderson’s idyllic stories, the mighty Nordsmen, the legendary Vikings I admired and respected all along?
    It is a known fact: those that start against the Jews, will be annihilated. Sweden’s time is coming shortly.

  • The Time has come for the Jews of Sweden to leave. They can never find a peaceful home among the Anti-Semitic people of Sweden. Sweden has embraced the Muslims and in order to kiss the Behinds of the Muslim’s have turned against the people of our Lord Jesus. Sooner or later the Muslim’s will turn against the people of Sweden. I hope it happens sooner then later.

  • I never expected this kind of behavior from Sweden or
    the Scandinavian countries. It is a shame in that they
    should be standing up for Democratic values and not the
    muslim cause. They are aiding in the decline of what is
    good in the world. I am glad some in the Jewish
    community took a stand. I hope they will put up a good
    fight. God is with the Jews.

  • Adam

    Hello everybody,

    After reading this article and the comments to it, as a resident of Sweden I feel I have to nuance the picture a bit.

    There is anti-semitism in Sweden. Still, I would argue it is not as big of a problem as the afro-phobia and islamo-phobia (which also seems to be well represented in the comments on this page). By this I mean that the discrimination and negative attitudes toward black people and muslim people is much more commonly spread both in the general population and in institutions. To give you an idea of this, it is common that women with muslim-looking clothing get spit and cursed upon, people of these communities have much lesser possibilities to get jobs even if they have the same qualifications (scientifically proven, look it up), get hassled by police etc etc.

    That´s to give you some perspective.

    When it comes to the slamming of the left as being anti-semitic, man, I don´t even know whether to laugh or cry. The left has been fighting anti-semitism alongside other forms of racial hatred and discrimination for ages. I grew up in a leftist family and I feel it is in my very blood to react against anti-semitism or racial prejudice wherever I meet it.

    In the article and in the general rhetorics of the zionist movement in Sweden, there is a mix-up between being against Israel and being against jews.

    Please try to understand the criticizing of a state is not the same thing as criticizing a people. I feel the same way about jewish people as I feel for anyone else, that is, I don´t really feel anything in special until I know the person. I mean, how would you answer the question “what is your opinion on humans?”

    So the next time I´m demonstrating against the horrible israeli treatment of the palestinians, don´t think I have anything against you because you´re a jew.

    I speak up against the chinese occupation of Tibet, against the dictatorships of the middle-east, against violations of human rights anywhere.

    Why should I be quiet when it comes to Israel?

    These are some of my thoughts which I share with a lot of people who represent a big proportion of the people who regularly get labeled as anti-semites.

    For the freedom of all people, jewish, muslim, swedish and whatnot,


    • Eve

      You demonstrate against the “horrible israeli treatment of the palestinians.” You are clearly delusional. Do you demonstrate against the horrors perpetrated against Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists. My guess is that you don’t.

    • Scott A Joseph, MD

      Adam: when you do your best to endanger one of the two major safety states for Jews in the world, you have difficulty supporting your Judeophile bonafides.

      Your logic is confused, sir. I’m not happy about everything Israel does, and I’m Jewish. But I also am not being shelled with rockets or threatened with poison gas or nukes.

      Your knowledge of Jewish history is poor, and the Left IS very antisemitic.

    • There won’t be a next time for you to stand up for the Jews of Sweden, as by that time most probably the majority would have left. Nobody is stopping you from criticizing Israel, but why should Jews stop supporting Israel and demonstrate arm in arm with Muslims against the Jewish State as the previous now Ex-mayor of Malmo Ilmar Reepalu suggested in order that the Muslims stop their disgusting Jew-hate as well as physically attacking
      them. You ask Israeli-Arabs if they would sooner live under the Palestinian Authority or elsewhere in the Arab world and they would think that you are mad, they know where their bread is buttered and where they are far better off with freedom of expression and their earnings. Why don’t you demonstrate against what Arabs are doing to their own brethren in Syria for example.
      Please also take into consideration the 1,000,000 Jews forced out of their homes from the Arab & Islamic world made homeless stateless refugees overnight, they lost everything, they outnumbered your precious Arab refugees from the former British Mandate of Palestine by almost two to one, however to date nobody wants to talk about their fate, the parallel Jewish refugees from the Arab world. If anyone brought this subject up in Sweden during a debate on TV or the radio they would be shouted down, as Sweden doesn’t want to discuss this subject concerning Middle eastern Jews as this your government decided was a taboo subject.
      Sweden has now sunk to new depths of depravity.

  • Ori

    Why don’t you just leave this forsaken country?
    Israel will accept you with no difficulty, yes not everything is perfect here, but the tempreture here is better the sea is nicer and the food kosher :).
    Europe is dying, esp. the Scandinavian countries, leave now before it gets worse, and it will get worse.

  • Melody Bellinghausen

    Dear Ones… Leave! Get to Israel while you
    still can. Ever consider that HaShem is sending
    the hornets for a purpose?

  • Hank Becker

    G-d has all sorts of ways of punishing those that hate and hurt us. The fanatical Muslims establishment of their “Culture of Hate ” in Europe could be G-d’s revenge on the Europeans who oh so gleafully pained us for centuries.After they so swiftly destroy Europe, those sane ,upright, gentile citizens of the world may like to join the Jewish people in finishing off this extremist, barbaric , psycho-pathic , violent, primitive vicious enemy. If not we will happily do it ourselves, with G-d’s help.

  • Ruth Hirt

    This is one observation I have gleaned from among anti-Jewish, anti-Semitics quarters: Image problems. Their aspirations to be identified with the milieu of Jew-hating races is an apparent sign of inadequacy, of unpopularity, they needed to join the majority to camouflage their minority impact, inferior caliber vs the superior Jews. Israel rejoice !!! Israel, you are the iota of contention in the world, you are unique, you are created primarily to be The Best !!!

  • Ada

    What is the local population of the Scandinavian countries do in order to protest? Do they go out on marches ? Do they protest on TV or newspapers? What is it that stops them from getting involved in public discussions against their pro-Muslim political leaders, against police, against this violence which is taking each and every good part of their countries?

    • The majority of the indigenous Scandinavian population suffer from political correctness combined with multiculturalism gone
      idiosyncratically wrong. The Swedish Jewish community numbers around 17,000, therefore the indigenous Swedish population won’t demonstrate for fear of hurting the feelings of the much larger Muslim population which today numbers around 350,000 to 400,000
      out of a total population of some 9.5 million.
      They also don’t wan’t to be accused of Islamphobia, although they couldn’t care less about anti-Semitism, they are not in the slightest interested in the tremendous contributions that the Swedish-Jewish community have contributed to the welfare of Sweden since the time just over two hundred years ago they were admitted in.

  • CuriousDave

    How ironic – during WWII Malmo was the port that welcomed Jews who had escaped from Denmark on fishing boats and ocean freighters that the Great Danes had organized for them when it became known that the Nazis were about to round them up for deportation and “resettlement.”

    • Frida Gill

      Sweden only allowed Jews into the country, after Niels Bohr, whose mother was Jewish, refused to leave Sweden to work at the Los Alamos Project, until, the Swedish government capitulated.

    • Reinaert Thomasson

      @Curious Dave. Not ironic at all. Malmö was till the early ’80 a total different city, than it is today. The vast majority of the population consisted of European Swedes. Alas, policy makers with the work ethic of Dr. Moreau (from the book ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ by H.G. Wells 1895) had transferred the city into a vast laboratory for long term anthropological experiment had been conducted. The experiments had been failed (like in the book of H.G. Wells) and the city is transferred from a Swedish city into Jurassic Park (an open zoo if you like).

  • keith taylor

    my family come from Sweden, we were proud of our heritage, the changes have become evident, My Aunt and Uncle were pillars of the Jewish Community in Stockholm for many years, well respected in all communities, and known to politicians and royals.
    My family in Malmo, were also equally respected within the general community.
    How quickly a society crumbles . My heart aches for the pain that is being caused now. I love Stockholm, but i fear i will never return as the situation gets worse. The politicians need to look at what is happening and realise the rest of the world are looking at them too….with derision. This is no way for such a modern society to behave, and they need to wake up before its too late.

    • Vivian

      The problem is PROGRESSively the world is changing and evolving (via brainwashing) to believe that immorality is moral and vice versa.

  • Reinaert Thomasson

    For readers who would like to know more about the situation in Scandinavian countries, please read Fjordman article in The Gates of Vienna.

    • Scott A Joseph, MD

      Reinaert: excellent post, sir.

  • Reinaert Thomasson

    Your article is very interesting and gives facts that are not published in mainstream European media before. As a person who has deep interest in the Scandinavian countries, I am not so very happy with the one-sided and incomplete manner you present the news. You depict the situation in today’s Sweden as it was in Nazi Germany during the ’30. In Nazi Germany were the atrocities against Jews the work of Germans. In today’s Sweden, the hostility against Jews is nearly 100% the work of Muslim immigrants; especially Arabs. Due to the non-stop aid they enjoy from their political-correct, multicultural left-wing Quislings they had already managed to change whole area’ into Sharia-enclaves and No-Go Zones. The city Malmö is already a Muslim city with a tiny minority of European Swedes. Vast parts of the city look like a combination between Gaza, Islamabad and Dar-el-Salam. Especially the area of RosengÃ¥rd. But it is not only Malmö that is so infected. Most big cities of Sweden are sharing the same problem. More and more Swedes are escaping the big cities up North; to places where the Swedes are still in the majority. The situation reminds the time when Europe was terrorized by the plague and people had to leave the environments they had lived in. News on the atrocities of Muslims against local Swedes come frequently on anti Islam blogs and underground newsgroups on internet. In the present situation the dawn is not falling only on Sweden Jewry, but on the Swedes themselves. They will get their freedom and independence back, when they will first deal with the fifty colon of multiculturalists that sold their country out.

  • G. Fränkl

    Sadly or not, it’s clear that all this racist antisemitic filth is increasingly state sponsored in Sweden. The EU, the state of Israel and indeed world Jewry should relate to this abomination this way – resist their hatred and state-sponsored fascism in the XXIst Century!

  • JEREMIAH 16:16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith hashem and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

    As the islamic avalanche through Europe continues unabated. It’s associated anti-Semitic propaganda puppets all climb on board to get the “hunted” message across just as effectively as hate filled muslims of today. Prophecy is right on target, Europe is being cleansed of its Jews just as the Arabic countries have already been.

  • Alon

    Samuel’s comment expresses it all. Nothing more to add


    It is not about Zionism, or maybe Palestine, it is about antisemitisme and ignorance. Down with democracy in Sweden, Norway and Europe.

  • It is interesting to note that the most vicious anti-semitism in the EU originates in the supposedly most egalitarian and socialist societies like Sweden and Norway. The facade of Swedens ‘progressive’ society was exposed years ago by their victimization and persecution of the gypsies (1960s). Sadly, the Lutheran church also finds antisemitism close to their christian dogma.

    • Vidbex

      No place in the Bible for antisemitism!!! Good theology leads to a love of the Jews.

  • Leave and go home,to your true home Israel. Leave all of Europe to those Hitler loving bastards.

    • Oriana cottard

      Nachon Shmuel 🙂

  • Fred

    What happened to “neutral” Sweden ????
    Sweden like many other European countries has embraced Arab sponsored hatred. It is a frightening prospect how these countries are influenced by an aggressive non – conformist Arab migrant. An invasion by stealth with a price to pay.

    • Fraide

      One has to laugh. Sweden neutral. NEVER! Wherever they could make $$$$$, that’s with whom they sided. Sweden helped the Nazis in WWII under their NEUTRAL guise. Nothing has changed.

    • Oriana cottard

      It has never been an so call neutral sweden, Fred NEVERRRRRRRR nor either will be and that´s the fact !!!!!

  • art frank

    Why on earth would Jews want to live in a country filled with anti-Semitic christians as well as savage muslims? IMO, there’s no future for Jews in Sweden. They should move to israel and be amongst there own. Who would want to live among the pigs of sweden?

    • Oriana cottard

      I do agree with that, art frank… so right

    • JewMensch

      If you call Swedes “pigs” and Muslims “savages” in a debate against racism than you just lost all of my respect. Why should your disgusting prejudice be more acceptable than those you critize?

    • Hank Benson

      I hope you’re young enough to have time to learn some important things. Hateful language and generalizing about groups of people by nationality and religion are two common weapons of anti-Semites. Let Jews avoid committing the same wrongs that have been done to us.

  • Dafna Yee

    I read a heartbreaking article last week about the Jews of Norway, many of whom are Holocaust survivors, and how they have to face the horror of blatant anti-Semitism for the second time in their lives. The same thing seems to be happening in Sweden for the same reason — massive Muslim immigration. Perhaps it is time for all these Jews who are facing ever worsening conditions, to come home to Israel.

    • Oriana cottard

      Yea :´( that is the most tragic here. May each one of them get help to come to Eretz and get peace if not so for the few time it is remain of their life Bzrat H-shem…

    • Daniel Birnbaum

      To Dafna Yee and others: A recent study has shown that only 12% of Norwegians are anti-Jewish. Contrast this figure with the Pew Institute of Washington’s finding that TWENTY-THREE PER CENT of Americans are anti-Semitic (survey of 2006).We need first to clean up the anti-Semitism on our doorstep. The jury is out on Sweden until we possess actual, large-scale, social research by sociologists, not the fragmentary accounts of journalists. A journalist is not a researcher. For a decade, France has similarly been smeared anti-Semitic by reporters, although research by the Pew Institute, by Sofres-Taylor and by French-Jewish sociologists has repeatedly provided statistics similar to Norway’s (14% anti-Semitic).WE CHEAPEN THE SHOAH AND SLANDER THE INNOCENT WHEN WE DEMONIZE COUNTRIES WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL PROOF.



      • unchained

        Thoose who are anti-semitic in sweden are muslims. Malmö is a city with a lot of them.

      • Scott A Joseph, MD

        Daniel: the proof of the puddingis in the eating. Let me know how the EU supports Jews better than the USA. I have lived in New Zealand, visited Denmark, and lived in CA,TX,NM,MN,AL,IL,KY. There is no safer place for Jews than the USA.

    • Kris Kristian

      I can never understand countries like Belgium, Holland, USA, England, etc, allowing the invasion of Muslims into their countries, knowing that the Muslims have an agends to take over each country.
      This is happening all over Europe.
      Some areas, the police are afraid to enter.

      Islam is not a religion. It is a cult of spreading evil

      When will the world wake up , and send those Muslims back to the desert where they can have sex with their camels.
      There is no more evil cult in the world.
      Look how they treat their women. Look at their evil laws.
      And they will not accept the laws of their “adopted” countries. They practice sharia which is the most evil law.

    • ABL

      and once you are there, in Israel, the same kind of Muslims will tell you that you stall the palestinian land from the Arabs and you better go back where you came from-to Europe

      • Barry

        Recently, the penny dropped and I began to realize something about the occupied territories of Israel. They are indeed occupied by too many Arabs.

  • jacqueline

    As more and more throw backs move into Europe the cowards of the countries will side with them because they think they will be protected. Just like Stalin these throw backs will turn on their hosts. What fools

  • Disgusting Sweden! You will not fare well from this …

    • Oriana cottard

      Definitly true, Ronit… bevadaî 🙁

  • aall55

    i asked this many many times . i cannot click on the comments . please help.

    • Ron

      You likely have a pop-up blocker that you need to disable. Or, if you are using Firefox with NoScript, you need to click on ‘Options’, lower right hand corner, and allow this page.

  • alexander

    The one line about the new immigrants to Sweden explains it all.Sweden like the rest of Europe has been overrun, and Malmo among Swedish cities has become notorious for its new crime wave.

    • Oriana cottard

      Trueee, Alexander

  • BlueStarPR promotes a positive view of Israel in the West’s most challenging locations. See our recent campaign in Cork, Ireland. Who wants to help us launch a campaign in Malmo, Sweden?

  • Reuven

    More events like kippah walks are needed in Sweden and also in Denmark, where my cousin lives and is afraid to go to shul, due to violent Muslims.

  • Dallas Al

    I think that Jews should leave Sweden for anywhere, Israel, U.S., Canada, Australia… Let Sweden wallow in Sharia law and watch their women cloaked in head scarves and Muslim dress.

    • Oriana cottard

      Very well said, Dallas. They will pay the price soon or later for all they have cosed us. This is so right

  • Google news posted this article with a photo of the disgustingly racist Louis Farrakhan.