Threats Against Jews in Sweden Ignored


Sweden’s most populated city, Stockholm, has once again become the focal point of a minority group claiming to be ignored by the press. Jewish chairwoman Lena Posner Körösi is shedding a light on a recent series of Islamic terrorist threats against Jews in Sweden, asserting that the media has blundered in its responsibility to cover the threats in three of Sweden’s big cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

It is uncertain which terrorist groups are responsible for the threats against Swedish Jews. Whether it is al-Qaeda, ISIS, imitators or jokers behind the threats is difficult to pinpoint. Some posit that the difficulty is because of the media’s lack of interest in Jewish communities across Sweden.

Apart from the terrorist threats, which ironically surfaced shortly after the Paris attacks, chairwoman Körösi asserted that too much media focus has been on Swedish Muslims and not on the current threats to Jews. During an interview with The Local, Körösi comically commented that journalists and politicians in Sweden are unable to multitask, meaning to process and manage issues regarding both Muslims and Jews residing in the country.

The magnitude of these threats can be seen in Sweden’s southernmost city, Malmö, where 20 percent of its population is Muslim. Because of the recent threats, scores of Jewish families living there have relocated north to Stockholm with the aim of avoiding possible clashes with Muslims. Backed by prominent Jews in the country’s capital, Köröski stepped up and voiced her opinion.

Founded in 1988, and recently having more say in Swedish politics, the right-wing political party, Sweden Democrats, has historically stood for anti-immigration and stronger ties to Swedish nationalism. They, too, have been publicly criticized by Köröski, who chided the party’s parliamentary speaker, Bjorn Söder, for saying, “I think most people with Jewish origins who have become Swedish have left behind their Jewish identity.” The comment infuriated Köröski, who declared Söder a “coward” for not answering to claims of discrimination.

Sweden’s national politics continue to be a hot topic as questions arise concerning immigration and the social standing of Swedish-born Muslims and Jews; so hot that a political party labeled flat-out racist by most of Sweden’s population, the Sweden Democrats, silently won 13 percent of all votes during 2014’s election. Over six million Swedes voted in 2014, and more than 800,000 voted for the Sweden Democrats. They are the third largest party in Sweden today. However large the party may be, Körösi is confident that the ideals for which they stand are not shared by the general public and pose no threat to the Jewish population.

The question whether Sweden’s media is ignoring or simply not showing interest in terrorist threats against Jews is up for debate, and Söder’s comment about Swedish Jews can be decoded in two ways. Either he does not see a difference between Jews and Swedes and his comment was stemming from genuine fairness, or it was a direct shot at the Jewish faith, meaning that Sweden has provided too much of a good thing to minorities, thereby converting them.

It seems as though the larger issue itself, whether threats against Sweden’s Jews are being ignored, can be looked at both ways as well. Either the liberal immigration policy of Sweden has resulted in an overly consumed media and a divided government, or they really do have a hard time multitasking.

By Darin O’Connor


The Local (1)

The Local (2)

Image by Mariusz Kluzniak – Flickr License

One Response to "Threats Against Jews in Sweden Ignored"

  1. swedishsurveyor   March 11, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    From the year 2000 until 2013 approximately 1,1 million immigrants have been granted permanent residence in Sweden. Many coming from countries in the Middle East that do not have a particularily friendly relationship with Israel or Jews for that matter.

    Today approximately 16% of Swedens population is born abroad. In 1990 there were 3 “outsidership areas” (places where 50% of the population is unemployed), in 2006 there were 156 and the government has since then stopped counting but according to a recent study by newspaper DN the country is becoming more segregated; areas with immigrants get more immigrants and ethnic Swedes move to ethnic Swedish neighbourhoods i.e. white flight.

    Anti-semitism may have in the 90:s stemmed from neo-nazi groups but they have since all but faded away. Today anti-semitims stems primarily from Muslims and other individuals with roots in the Middle East. They often live in poor segregated neighborhoods. Bear in mind that Sweden has granted residence to many Palestinians. Hatred against Israel and hatred against Jews in general often walk hand in hand.

    As to why the media don’t seem to pay much attention on the issue is debatable but my suspicion is that it stems from their political affiliation (left-leaning parties who are anti-Israel, pro-Palestine) and tendencies to portray immigrants as victims. It becomes problematic for them to admit that the hatred against Jews stems from the very same groups which journalists like to portray as being victims that are subject to Islamophobia and/or xenophobia.

    Regarding the Sweden Democrats; they have radical roots but have effectiently kicked out questionable elements. Seeing as they are the only political party in Sweden that wants to reduce Europes most extreme immigration policy (Sweden has 2% of the EU:s population but accepts 20% of its asylum seekers) they attract questionable followers but the party itself is far from racist.

    Now the interview with Björn Söder you are referring to is the following:

    “Can’t you be both Jewish and Swedish, simultaneously?

    I think that most people of Jewish origin that have become Swedes leave their Jewish identity. But if they chose not to it doesn’t need to be a problem. One needs to differentiate between citizenship and national identity. They can still be Swedish citizens and live in Sweden. Sami people and Jews have lived in Sweden for a long time.”

    The journalist who interviewed Björn Söder managed to extrapolate the following headline from that answer to the following “Jew’s aren’t Swedish”. The journalist said he could interpret his response in no other way but I’m not so sure. I consider it to be sensationalism and a tad unfair but the damage has already been done. It’s all quiet amusing considering several of SD’s representatives are Jewish and it is the only openly pro-Israel party in Swedish politics.

    On the one hand I understand Körösis response but on the other hand I find it curious that she is so actively working to discredit them. After all that means she is playing into the hands of the other political parties who all want to keep the, to put it mildly, generous immigration policy from the Middle East going.


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