Swedish hospital official quits amid anti-Semitism allegations

Department chief at Swedish university hospital resigns after being accused of bullying Jewish staff members with 'obvious anti-Semitism'.


Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

The head of a department at a Swedish university hospital resigned from his post following reports in the media about a physician’s uninterrupted bullying of Jewish staff.

The former manager left Karolinska University Hospital near Stockholm due to “a combination of personal reasons, but also because he has not handled the situation [efficiently] enough,” Annika Tibell, the hospital’s director, told Sveriges Television, the broadcaster reported Tuesday. The department head was not named in the report.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center made accusation against a surgeon from her hospital in a letter from its dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, sent in October, the Aftonbladet daily reported.

Management at Karolinska knew about the “obvious and open anti-Semitism” expressed by the physician to at least one Jewish employee since February, but the complaints were “ignored,” Cooper wrote in the letter, obtained by JTA. At least two other Jewish employees quit until only the one mentioned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center remained, Cooper said.

Tibell told Aftonbladet that the institution has a “zero tolerance for all types of harassment and offensive treatment.” She also said that “relevant investigative measures” are being taken when “misunderstandings arise.” According to Aftonbladet, Karolinska has launched an internal investigation and asked outside council to review the complaints.

The report in Aftonbladet did not elaborate on the alleged harassment. Cooper said he wasn’t at liberty to recount it to protect the identity of the alleged victim, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Svante Weyler, chairman of the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism, said the senior physician accused of abusing the Jewish employee posted anti-Semitic texts on Facebook.

“It shows extremely bad judgment, they are quite obviously anti-Semitic. If they are also part of a larger context, it is an issue,” he told Aftonbladet.