In a documentary that aired last week on Channel 12, Israeli journalists Elad Simchayoff and Ohad Hemo traveled to Malmö, Sweden ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest which is set to be held in the city in May. During their visit, the pair discovered disturbing amounts of antisemitism and anti-Israel hate in the city.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva-Israel National News, Simchayoff notes that Malmö has a long-standing negative reputation, "I think we came back rattled, to be honest. Malmö has this reputation, which is not new, of being the most antisemitic city in Europe. Back in 2010, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel warning for Jews, specifically to Malmö, and generally to the southern part of Sweden. So we knew what we were getting into broadly speaking, while traveling there, specifically going to Muslim neighborhoods and mosques, demonstrations, and the market which is generally controlled and operated by immigrants."

With this, he was still shocked by what he saw: "Yet still, I at least, came back surprised and as I said rattled because we faced so much hatred and such a poor form of antisemitism. Even I, who covers Europe and antisemitic processes that have been going on the continent for the past 11 years, didn't think that we would encounter this level of aggression and hatred like the one we encountered in our four days in Malmö."

Simchayoff sheds light on the delegation that is expected to travel with Israel's entry into the competition, Eden Golan, and the measures being taken to protect it: "It's going to be the smallest Israeli delegation to the Eurovision in recent years and the most secured one, by far. We're talking about tripling the number of security escorts to the Israeli delegation and I can tell you that the participants of the Israeli delegation to the Eurovision received very strict instructions from the Shin Bet telling them exactly when they're allowed to leave the hotel, that they can only travel together in groups, and so on. It's a big headache for the Israeli security team and the local security teams in Malmö. We spoke to the local police commander who's partially responsible for the security of Eurovision, and when we spoke with members of the city council, everyone told us, 'Yes, the situation is complex but we are getting on top of it, we are handling things.'"

He recalls: "When we were taking part in the anti-Israel protest in Malmö, and speaking to participants and the organizers, they told us that approximately 40 or 50 thousand people would come during the Eurovision from all over the continent, especially Denmark, Norway, and other places in Scandinavia, to participate in anti-Israel protests."

Regarding the local security which is supposed to protect the event, Simchayoff says: "If you're asking me whether the security services are ready and capable of handling so many people. Are the local security services ready to tackle so many people and groups that might be more aggressive and inclined to more violent acts than just protesting? I'm not sure, at least that's not the impression that got. One of the most amazing parts of the documentary that we did was when we spoke to security guards outside the biggest mosque in Malmö equipt with hidden cameras when they heard that we were tourists coming for Eurovision, they told us 'don't go' because there's going to be a terror attack. When we asked why, they said that it's because Israel is participating, and the Israeli song talks about Palestine, which is obviously not true. There is talk within Malmö, especially this area of Malmö, about the potential terror attack at the Eurovision."

Simchayoff says the anti-Israel hate in Europe, especially after October 7th, is clearly interconnected with antisemitism and recalls an incident that occurred several months ago in Malmö: "There was a small protest of anti-Israel activists who burned an Israeli flag. The most interesting thing about this small protest is that it was held outside the big synagogue in Malmö. You can see in the video that was taken from the protest that once the guy burning the flag is holding the pole and the flag is burning, he tilts his body toward the synagogue and proudly shows the burnt flag to the synagogue structure. So, I think that symbolizes more than anything that for many people and for many of the groups and anti-Israel crowds, the things are connected.

According to him, "The anti-Israel slurs you hear are more often than not connected with antisemitic tropes, and the antisemitic tropes that we hear are disguised in some way to act as criticism of Israel. While not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic, since October 7th we've seen more of a mixture of the two, where people are saying things that are purely antisemitic and doing it with a facade of criticizing Israel. The bottom line is it's aimed at Jewish communities, and I've heard Jews in the diaspora say how their lives have changed for the worse since October 7th because of the treatment they are receiving from their counterparts and fellow people because their religion makes them into a target from being associated with Israel."

Watch Elad Simchayoff and Ohad Hemo's full documentary:

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