'Jews in Sweden fear inevitability of anti-Semitic attacks'

Conference of European Rabbis requests urgent meeting with Swedish Prime Minister over govt. failure to act against anti-Semitism.

Gary Willig ,

Police outside synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden
Police outside synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis, requested an urgent meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to discuss rising anti-Semitism in the Scandinavian country.

Rabbi Goldschmidt sent a letter to Prime Minster Löfven following several firebomb attacks on Swedish synagogues.

Anti-Israel protesters threw firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden on December 10. The attack took place while Jewish students were inside the synagogue.

The next day, two burning objects were thrown at a chapel located at a Jewish cemetery in Malmo.

According Rabbi Goldschmidt, "Sweden is the only country in Europe that has a combination of a rising number of high profile anti-Semitic, as well as public anti-Israel displays that result in violent attacks against the Jewish community, and bans on Jewish religious practice including religious slaughter."

Rabbi Goldschmidt noted that "Sweden’s 18,000 Jews live in fear of the inevitability of anti-Semitic attacks," and that "the Government of Sweden’s response has been weak or totally absent."

He recounted that a member of the Göteborg Jewish community recently said that “it’s a constant battle to live a normal life, and not to give in to the threats, but still be able to feel safe.”

"Most alarmingly, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles issued a travel warning in 2010 advising 'extreme caution when visiting southern Sweden' because of officials’ failure to act against the “serial harassment” of Jews in Malmo. What other country in the EU would stand by and allow the harassment of its citizens to such an extent as to have a travel warning issued?

"I believe that fear of being accused of intolerance against Muslims, especially refugees, has paralyzed your government from properly addressing deep-seated prejudice against Jews, which has resulted in a persistent rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

"It is time to stop speaking about anti-Semitism and start doing something about it. These matters are a cause of great distress for me and the Jewish community across Europe. I would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss these matters and the best approach to resolve them," he concluded.