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November 19, 2013 11:52 am

Why Do Swedish Jews Need to File for Political Asylum in Their Own Country?

avatar by Adam Levick

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Annika Hernroth-Rothstein speaks at a pro-Israel rally in Stockholm 2012. Photo: Black on White.

Last year we had the pleasure of interviewing a Swedish Jew (and Zionist activist) named Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, who recounted her experiences living in a country plagued by a dangerous rise in antisemitism.

As the recent poll on European antisemitism by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) confirmed, the already precarious situation for Sweden’s Jews has taken a turn for the worse, and Hernroth-Rothstein’s latest essay at Mosaic Magazine serves as an important personal story to add detail and nuance to the FRA data.

She writes:

Here in Stockholm this fall, we in the Jewish community have enjoyed our 21st annual Jewish film festival, a klezmer concert, and a number of other cultural diversions. I choose the word “diversions” advisedly. It’s thanks to such entertainments that so many of my fellow Jews can allow themselves to say that we’re doing okay here—that there’s no need to rock the boat or cause trouble.

But you know what? We are not okay, and this is not okay.

Kosher slaughter has been outlawed in my country since 1937, and a bill is now pending in parliament that would ban even the import and serving of kosher meat. Circumcision, another pillar of the Jewish faith, is likewise under threat. In my job as a political adviser to a Swedish party, I have dealt with two bills on this issue in the past year alone; a national ban is rapidly gaining political support in the parliament and among the Swedish public. When it comes to our religious traditions, those on both the Right and Left in Swedish politics find common ground; they take pride in defending both animals and children from the likes of us, and from what one politician has called our “barbaric practices.”

Later, she provides a more personal glimpse into life for Swedish Jews.

In today’s Sweden, home to all of 20,000 Jews amidst a national population of some nine million, the public display of Jewish identity, like donning a kippah or wearing a Star of David pendant, puts an individual at severe risk of verbal harassment and, even worse, physical harm. Synagogues are so heavily guarded that Jewish tourists are turned away if they try to attend services unannounced. Inside the sanctuary, we celebrate our festivals and holy days under police protection. On the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, during the five-minute walk to the water for the ceremony of tashlikh, my young son asked a guard why so many policemen were accompanying us. Replied the officer: “so that no bad people can hurt you.”

This is the self-image—the reality—that Jewish children in Sweden grow up with: being Jewish means being under threat of harm from bad people. This is where we are at.

You can read the rest of Hernroth-Rothstein’s story and learn why she is filing for political asylum in her own country, here.

We also encourage you to read her passionate letter titled ‘How to survive as a Jew in Sweden? Shut up and fade into the woodwork‘.

For context on the situation in Sweden, you can read CST commentaries on the FRA poll about European antisemitism hereherehere and here.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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  • Those who claim that this is due to Sweden’s open-door policy to the worst elements in the Islamic world are not wrong. In the 1980s I came to stay with a friend in Malmö whose mother was a probation officer. Her worst charge was a “Palestinian” (Jordanian, presumably) young offender. These criminals are not deported or expelled they are allowed to continue to live in the liberal Swedish environment. They find common ground with Swedes who were Nazi sympathisers (of whom there were many) and the same is true in Norway, the land of Quisling. It is the easy-going, laissez faire attitude of the Swedes and Norwegians that has allowed antisemitic extremism to flourish.

  • David

    The truth is that Sweden has always been a antisemitic country. But showing it hasn’t been politically correct for many years. The extreme immigration of Muslims has changed that. A Muslim attacking Jews is totally accepted in Sweden. Why? Because according to Swedish logics and preferences, they all have a “just” reason to hate us. After all, we’re horrible enough to want to exist in our own country – Israel. And the Muslims just can’t handle it, since they decided that every piece of land they claim is theirs, simply is theirs.

    The Swedish Left and the Leftist media – that list what is and what isn’t politically correct – has decided that Muslims are always victims, which automatically makes Jews guilty of whatever the Muslims claim. So, the situation in Sweden is that nowadays Communists, Nazis and Muslims are best friends as long as the Jews are the common enemy. Well, they don’t call us Jews, they call us Zionists. But we all know that they mean anyway. You see, there are laws against incitement directed at ethnical groups. And Zionists are not counted as such a group. Isn’t that just perfect?

    You can hate and harass Jews as much as you want, as long that you call them Zionists and combine that with the lie that you care about the made up ethnical group, the Palestinians, more than you care about your own children.

    So, getting out of here is probably the only option. The Swedes are so far stupid enough to believe that the Muslim immigrants will only bother the Jews. But I know it’s just a matter of time before all non-Muslims realise their huge mistake. And by then, it’ll be too late.

  • David

    This should be expected though in an atheist country that has an open-door immigration policy for “Muslim Middle Easterners”.
    All you have to do is look at the Stockholm riots of just a few months ago to see that the Swedish authorities are pro-Muslim.

    My advice to anyone there would be to get out while you can before it gets even worse.

  • Lone Star

    In 20 years given its immigration policy Sweden will be living under Shari’a law and the national religion Islam. Then the Christians will ask, “Where did we go wrong?”

  • Jane

    Are the Swedes also banning halal slaughter? or the importation of halal meat? And what about circumcision as practiced by Muslims? Is Sweden enacting legislation that is anti-Muslim as well — or is everything aimed at the Jewish population?

  • Ross Yerkes

    This is happening at the same time that the “secular” (Marxist) Western World is becoming ever more hostile to Christians and the sexual pervert minority is the tyrannical, totalitarian, dictatorship controlling everything we do and say.

  • art frank

    She didn’t mention the muslim savages that live in Sweden who frequently attack Jews.

  • it is shocking to hear that a country that has prided
    itself on a fair society and a democratic government
    would permit or even encourage such treatment. I am

  • Chaim

    She should instead make Aliyah or move to the US or Canada.

  • Bernard Ross

    Basically the Swedes are becoming nazis and want to be rid of their jews. The intelligent thing would be to get out while they will let you get out. The Germans were first willing to let the Jews leave and later turned to genocide. Get out from that cesspool now.

    • Jargasim

      Swedes are not “becoming nazis”. There’s a significant number of them only dusting off their old convictions, now that it’s becoming trendy and tolerated again.