Swedish Police at the scene of local synagogue that was firebombed [Photo Credit: Dromografos]
Over the past week, multiple incidents of antisemitism have been reported across Sweden. Approximately 20 people in masks threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Gothenburg on Saturday. Three people were arrested the following day in connection with the attack on the synagogue. The Swedish police are still investigating.The men arrested are 18, 20 and 21-years old; two are from Syria and another was born in Gaza, The Local reported.
Over the weekend, a couple of pro-Arab demonstrations took place in Malmö in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement, in which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. During one of the demonstrations, violent antisemitic slogans were shouted. Below are two of the slogans that were chanted during the recent protests (taken from the blog of the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism).
- “We have announced the intifada from Malmö. We want our freedom back and we will shoot the Jews.”
- “Khaybar, Khaybar, o Jews, Muhammad’s Army will return,” referencing a battle between Muhammad’s forces and the Khaybar Jews in the Arab Peninsula during the 19th century.
Also in Malmö, early on Monday, a Jewish cemetery was attacked.
During a Tuesday press conference held in Paris, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven unequivocally denounced the recent wave of antisemitism and even went so far as to admit antisemitism has become a growing problem across Sweden.
“We need to see it clearly. In Malmö we see it, and in Gothenburg. It is up to us to both counteract and prevent this,” Löfven said, referring to the events over the past week. “We need to be really clear that such antisemitism and hatred of Jews has no place in our society. This shouldn’t have any place,” Löfven added, in comments which expanded on an earlier statement in which he said he was “terribly upset” by the events.
Sweden’s Prime Minister also emphasized the need to learn lessons from history. “In the government, for example, we have made the decision to give money for remembrance trips for school classes. More school students must see this firsthand and be in Auschwitz, for example, or another [former] concentration camps to really understand what happened,” the Löfven said.
“We should listen to the generation which experienced this themselves. We should never, ever allow this again. We have work to do in schools, civil society, businesses, and in the workplace. We should, of course, protect those who feel threatened and under pressure here and now, but above all, we must gradually make sure that this form of expression is never actually uttered,” he continued. “We cannot accept growing antisemitism and hatred of Jews, not in Sweden nor in any other country. We know what this once led to and we must never go there again.”
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