STOCKHOLM — A representative of the World Jewish Congress was present at a demonstration against growing anti-Semitism in Stockholm today. WJC CEO Robert Singer was one of more than a thousand people who took part in the Kippah Walk organized by the Swedish Jewish community in the capital, which came in the wake of a series of anti-Semitic incidents in recent weeks. Several Swedish government ministers and leaders of the opposition parties joined the walk.
Lena Posner-KÃ¶rÃ¶si, the head of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, said: “Despite the general elections due to take place in just over two weeks, leaders from all major parties have taken time to come here today. This Kippah Walk sends an important message: There is no way that Sweden will tolerate expressions of hatred and intolerance: not against the Jews and not against any other minority.”
Erik Ullenhag, Sweden’s minister for integration, who was among the marchers, said: “In the past years, Sweden’s Jewish community has sometimes felt lonely, especially when it was collectively held responsible for Israel’s actions. Today, we are here to show to our Jewish minority that we support them and that they are not alone.”
Israel’s ambassador in Stockholm, Isaac Bachmann, highlighted that presence of so many Swedish politicians at the Kippah Walk and said this was a strong statement of solidarity with the Jewish community. He expressed hope that the government would act upon this commitment.
In recent weeks, a spike in anti-Semitic attacks and incitement against Jews could be witnessed in a number of European countries, including Sweden. The MalmÃ¶ synagogue was vandalized for the third time this year, swastikas were painted on Jewish homes and Jewish-owned shops, and Jews insulted on the streets.
The Stockholm gay pride festival became a focus for condemning Israel with slogans such as “Long live jihad” being shouted by participants. A manifestation against anti-Semitism which was to take place in Gothenburg was cancelled as the organizers feared for their own safety. In addition to this, a woman was beaten in the city of Uppsala for wearing a Star of David.
Photo: Jonas Karpantschof-Herzberg
Robert Singer also addressed the rally “For Israel – Against Anti-Semitism” in Stockholm on Sunday, which was organized by the Zionist Federation in Sweden. Singer declared: “Israel and its actions in Gaza are used as an excuse to besiege a synagogue in Paris, to shout ‘Jews to the gas’ on the streets of Berlin, or to attack people wearing a Jewish skullcap. None of this is acceptable, and it is high time that European leaders stand up against these expressions of anti-Semitism and take action.”
Zionist Federation in Sweden Executive Director Saskia Pantell said: “We must take a stand for out right to express support Israel without jeopardizing our personal safety. There can be no denying of the fact in today’s Sweden, increased anti-Semitism is directly related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a democratic and open society, no citizen should have to live in fear just for supporting Israel and its right to defend itself against attacks.”