Calls Increase for Ban on Scandinavian Neo-Nazi Group After Synagogues Targeted by Hateful Propaganda on Yom Kippur
A Jewish leader in Sweden has called for decisive action against a neo-Nazi movement that is growing across Scandinavia after its supporters distributed viciously antisemitic posters and stickers at several synagogues on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day, on Monday.
Aron Verständig — chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Sweden — said he had never seen “an action like this before, coordinated across the Nordic countries.”
Members of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) targeted synagogues in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland over Yom Kippur, in some cases confronting worshippers as they arrived for Yom Kippur services.
Observers pointed out that no such outrages were recorded in Finland, where the Supreme Court last week upheld a ban on the NRM’s Finnish branch.
The NRM said it had targeted the synagogues to “make the Nordic people aware of foreign customs and Zionist ruling plans throughout the Nordic region.” Its posters included attacks on circumcision, kosher slaughter and the custom of kaparot carried out by Orthodox Jews prior to Yom Kippur.
Verständig expressed frustration that police in the Swedish city of Norrköping refused to take action after antisemitic posters were left outside the building just prior to morning services on Monday. He said that police officers classified the leafleting not as a hate crime, but as criticism of religion that was protected by free speech.
“The NRM one of the biggest threats to Jews in the Nordic countries,” Verständig told the news outlet Världen on Tuesday. “But when the action at the synagogue in Norrköping was reported to the police, the police could not do anything, because it was not described as a crime but as a critique of religion.”
Verständig disputed the police decision, saying that Swedish law did not extend freedom of association to groups that promoted racism and antisemitism.
In a statement condemning the NRM’s agitation across Scandinavia on Yom Kippur, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) called for a comprehensive ban on the group in all the countries where it has a presence.
“The Nordic Resistance Movement represents a violent, racist, antisemitic ideology, and should be outlawed,” a WJC statement said. “Perpetrators of this type of incitement against Jews, horrifically disseminated on the most solemn day of the Jewish year, must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
The WJC said it was calling “on all Nordic governments to follow Finland’s example and move swiftly to ban the Nordic Resistance Movement and rid its violent propaganda from our streets.’’