In December 2017, the Synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden, was attacked by 10-20 masked men with firebombs, following the demonstrations against the planned move of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Synagogue’s meeting hall was currently being used for a youth party and the teenagers had to flee to the basement for safety. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the teenagers’ parents were contacted to escort them home. Three men have been arrested during the day.
It is only a few months ago that the violent Nordic resistance movement, Neo-Nazis, in Gothenburg were marching with posters with portraits of Swedish Jews with the text “criminals” smashed over it. We all know that there is a wave of right-winged Anti-Semitism, as well as Islamophobia and Xenophobia, flowing slowly through Europe at the moment and yet, despite all of this, many of us still do not believe that they were behind last night’s attack. The majority of the terrorist attacks against Jews in Europe these past years have been perpetrated by Muslim extremists, and not right-winged neo-Nazis, as one might think.
Often when people talk about the growing Anti-Semitism in Sweden they are referring to the third biggest city, Malmö, that has had a growing number of hate crimes against the Jewish community facilities and its members. I have even heard people refer to Malmö as “Ra-Malmö”, insinuating that it has a big Arab/Muslim population, which also isareausing the raise in Anti-Semitism. There are no clear numbers in regards to the size of the Arab/Muslim population, but it seems that they are closing up to be almost 1/3 of the population in Malmö.
The pressure and threats against the Jewish community in Malmö are often growing in relation to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. During a demonstration in Malmö on Friday evening, as a response to Trump’s decision to move the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, they chanted “We have announced the intifada from Malmö. We want our freedom back, and we’re going to shoot the Jews“. These atmospheres are slowly getting a stronger hold in other parts of Sweden as well, which becomes clear in regards to last night’s attack in Gothenburg.
The Jewish population in Sweden has long been under attack. The hate hasn’t necessarily been very physical but very present, first and foremost in social media. The Jews in Malmö have often experienced a more physical threat and the Rabbi there, Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, has been harassed and attacked for years. Sadly, as I stated earlier, it seems that the Anti-Semitism is getting a stronger hold of Gothenburg as well and if the situation between Israel and the Muslim world worsens, even more, we could expect to see a continued increase in Anti-Semitic hate crimes in Gothenburg as well as in other parts of Sweden.
However, there are finally signs that the Swedish government and authorities are realizing the gravity of the threat against their Jewish population and will hopefully act accordingly. Even the public service, the media, have for ones been focusing on the crimes of the activists instead of highlighting the background to their aggression. Maybe there still is a chance to decrease the growing Anti-Semitism in Sweden.