Sunday, July 4, 2010

Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes on the Rise in Sweden

Last week “Brå” -Brottsförebyggande rådet (the National Crime Prevention Council) published a report stating that anti-Semitic hate crimes are on the rise in Sweden’s larger cities although the number of hate crimes overall has remained the same.

The council’s report concluded that the most frequent hate crime in Sweden was racist or against foreigners and added that “it did not know if there had been an actual increase in the number of anti-Semitic crimes or merely in their reporting”. During 2009 there were 250 reported anti-Semitic hate crimes in Sweden; this was an increase of 57% compared to the previous year. As noted previously in this blog, anti-Semitic hate crimes may be reported, but police may choose not to include complaints in their statistics.  According to Brå, the most common crimes were against individuals and included, for example, violent crimes, threats, insults or agitation against an ethnic group.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes in the southern city of Malmö in Sweden drew much attention during the beginning of the year. The situation for the Jews in Malmö today is so bad that some Jewish families have felt forced to move away from the city. The mayor of Malmö, Ilmar Reepalu, has been heavily criticized for not only failing to remedy the situation, but, in fact, has been taken to task for fueling Islamic aggression and further worsening the prevailing bad situation. Astonishingly, Reepalu’s  remarks blamed the Jewish community for the acts of anti-Semitism—and then blamed “the Jewish  lobby” for “misinterpreting” his remarks.

At the same time  Jewish community leaders have taken notice of the situation. For example, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor notes that the situation of European Jewry may in fact be “at its worst since the end of World War II."
In an interview with the European Jewish Press he recently stated that "Jews are afraid to walk the streets in Europe with Jewish signs [wearing kippot, stars of David, etc.] Synagogues, Jewish schools and kindergartens require barbed-wire fences and security and Jewish men, women and children are beaten up in broad daylight".

It is a very unpleasant to find that there are signs—most clearly seen in the Swedish city of Malmö—which point towards a scenario in which Jews in Sweden will be unable to live freely and safely.  What is more sad is that the Swedish society which internationally is known as upholding rights for all of its citizens clearly fails to do so--Where the rights of Swedish Jews are concerned.

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