Swedish Neo-Nazis Assault Pro-Israel Activist at Human Rights Festival
A prominent pro-Israel activist in Sweden was brutally assaulted by a neo-Nazi gang at a human rights festival on Thursday.
Neo-Nazi activists from the Nordic Resistance Movement (MNR) attacked Christina Toledano Åsbrink of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association, a Christian Zionist organization, after she attempted to prevent them from unfolding a banner. Cellphone video captured up to seven neo-Nazi thugs slapping and pulling Toledano Åsbrink to the ground before stamping on her.
The incident took place at the Almedalen Week festival in Visby, the capital of the Swedish island of Gotland. The festival brings together civil society activists for what organizers call “an unusual combination of political summit and openness.”
Toledano Åsbrink was staffing the Sweden-Israel Friendship Society’s tent at the festival on Wednesday, when the MNR activists unfurled their banner directly outside it. A question to police about whether the MNR was permitted to display the banner went unanswered; when the neo-Nazis returned on Thursday, Toledano Åsbrink confronted them and was promptly attacked.
Both Toledano Åsbrink and Stefan Dozzi — the association’s secretary-general who courageously pulled Toledano Åsbrink away from the gang’s kicks and blows — were injured in the attack.
“I was injured, but most of all I’m annoyed that they can do something like that,” Toledano Åsbrink said later to the Swedish news outlet Expressen.
Among the Jewish organizations present at the festival, which continues until July 8, is the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is showing its traveling exhibition “People, Book, Land: the 3,500 Year Relations of the Jewish People with the Holy Land” at the festival.
Shimon Samuels — the SWC’s director of international affairs — said in a statement that “the Center stands in solidarity with its courageous Swedish friends, who will withstand threats and violence in the name of truth and faith.”