Young Jewish Swedish Leader: ‘All My Friends Are Getting Death Threats’
Death threats, daily anti-Semitic attacks, and harassment are causing many young Swedish Jews of the shrinking 20,000-member community to say “enough,” and seek to establish their futures elsewhere, according to a report by Zvika Klein of Israel’s NRG News.
“I and my friends decided to leave,” 22-year-old Victor Borslöv-Reichmann, told NRG, after getting his 11th death threat after posting pro-Israeli views on his Facebook page.
Borslöv-Reichmann, a student of International Relations and Economics from Gothenburg, suggested some other preferable countries.
“I’m thinking of emigrating to Berlin, Tel Aviv or Haifa,” he said.
“We have never seen such anti-Semitism in Sweden. Since the beginning of [IDF Operation Protective Edge against Gaza rocket fire], we started to see anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in a different way from what we have seen so far in Sweden,” Borslöv-Reichmann said.
“We have always known that there are those who hate us in Sweden, but this time it was expressed more powerfully, because there were so many anti-Semitic remarks and attacks by anti-Semites that it was impossible to follow. Even among celebrities, politicians and journalists – it was not a criticism of the operation in Gaza, but really hate against Jews,” he said.
“It used to be unacceptable to talk about it so openly,” he said, but added that “today, talk of anti-Semitism has become commonplace.”
Throughout Israel’s operation, the young Jewish community in Sweden took to social networks to explain the Jewish state’s position.
But that message was not welcomed among tens of thousands of Muslims who have migrated to Sweden over the last decade.
“We acted on behalf of Israel on social networks, but every time I wrote something about Israel, I received death threats, about three times a week,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the Jewish community tried to promote dialogue against anti-Semitism.
“We wanted to enlighten non-Jews that anti-Semitism in Sweden is a big issue, and that the media has to deal with it,” Borslöv-Reichmann said.
Last week, a Muslim mob in Uppsala reportedly set upon and severely beat a Jewish mother of four, for wearing a Jewish Star of David necklace.
“One of the attackers signaled me to ‘Shut up or we’ll kill you,'” Anna Sjögren, in her 40s, said of the ordeal, which transpired on Thursday. So far, she said she’s too traumatized by the assault to file a police complaint.
While walking in one of the city’s largely Muslim populated neighborhoods, “A Muslim girl saw that I was wearing the Star of David on my neck and she started swearing at me and spat in my face. I got very upset and pushed her off,” Sjögren told the World Zionist Organization Center for Countering Antisemitism.
Sjögren said that someone standing next to the girl then threw a sharp object at her face. “I’m not sure who it was. Everything happened so fast,” she said.
“There were at least ten witnesses to the attack. All ten of them were wearing hijabs or scarfs in the colors of the PLO. Some surrounding witnesses claim that I ‘tripped’ and fell and that no one hurt me. It’s just unbelievable.”
Sjögren’s jaw was severely damaged, her eyes swollen, and she sustained injuries all over her body, according to a report.
Borslöv-Reichmann recounted another incident in which a friend of his was attacked.
“He rode on roller skates in the park and when he went to the bathroom, a group of guys asked him, ‘You’re a Jew?’ And when he proudly answered yes, they attacked him.”
These events have left him pessimistic: “It will be more difficult to be a Jew, and no one is on our side; we feel we have to fight it alone. In the Jewish community we do not think that there is an increase in anti-Semitism – it was here all the time. But last month saw the real anti-Semitism, that does not happen overnight. It’s much bigger than it has ever been.”
“All my friends are getting death threats, it’s just creepy and not normal.”
“Hitler was wrong not to kill you all, but we will make sure of that,” one wrote on Borslöv-Reichmann Facebook page.
Borslöv-Reichmann declined to share the even harsher messages with NRG, and said he hopes the police will deal with the issue, but isn’t optimistic. He said the perpetrators usually use a fake profile or fake names, without pictures or identifying details – making tracking down the perpetrators difficult for police.
“I do not think the police care, or that they can catch them,” he concluded, adding sarcastically, “We’re only 20 thousand Jews, at best, throughout the country. Muslims are a much larger group, and, ultimately, politicians need their votes, not ours.”