In an op-ed piece in the New York Times
, Paulina Neuding [Tweet her
] grapples with the recent wave of anti-Jewish attacks in Sweden, that paragon of liberalism.Neuding
is, according to her bio at the end of the op-ed, “the editor in chief of the Swedish online magazine Kvartal, and a columnist with the dailies Svenska Dagbladet and Goteborgs-Posten.”
As Neuding points out, the facts of what’s going on in Sweden just doesn’t fit the Narrative. So the op-ed is entitled The Uncomfortable Truth About Swedish Anti-Semitism.
[December 14, 2017].
Here’s how she begins:
This past Saturday, a Hanukkah party at a synagogue in Goteborg, Sweden, was abruptly interrupted by Molotov cocktails. They were hurled by a gang of men in masks at the Jews, mostly teenagers, who had gathered to celebrate the holiday. Two days later, two fire bombs were discovered outside the Jewish burial chapel in the southern Swedish city of Malmo. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?
This is part of a larger trend. But who are the perpetrators? Are they mostly being perpetrated by white Swedish males with names like Carl, Stefan and Ingvar who just lost their jobs at an IKEA warehouse?
For Sweden’s 18,000 Jews, sadly, none of this comes as a surprise. They are by now used to anti-Semitic threats and attacks — especially during periods of unrest in the Middle East, which provide cover to those whose actual goal has little to do with Israel and much to do with harming Jews. Both of these recent attacks followed days of incitement against Jews. Last Friday, 200 people protested in Malmo against President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The protesters called for an intifada and promised “we will shoot the Jews.” A day later, during a demonstration in Stockholm, a speaker called Jews “apes and pigs.” There were promises of martyrdom.
“Apes and pigs”? Why would somebody call Jews “apes and pigs”? Could that be from the Koran, Sura 5 verse 62, by any chance?
That’s a hint at least, that all of these attacks aren’t perpetrated by Carl, Stefan and Ingvar.
Malmo’s sole Hasidic rabbi has reported being the victim of more than 100 incidents of hostility ranging from hate speech to physical assault. In response to such attacks, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel warning in 2010 advising “extreme caution when visiting southern Sweden” because of officials’ failure to act against the “serial harassment” of Jews in Malmo.
So officials are failing to act. Would they be more likely if the culprits were Carl, Stefan and Ingvar?
Today, entering a synagogue anywhere in Sweden usually requires going through security checks, including airport-like questioning. At times of high alert, police officers with machine guns guard Jewish schools. Children at the Jewish kindergarten in Malmo play behind bulletproof glass. Not even funerals are safe from harassment.
The next paragraph, for those who have read this far, makes things clear:
Jewish schoolteachers have reported hiding their identity. A teacher who wouldn’t even share the city where she teaches for fear of her safety told a Swedish news outlet: “I hear students shouting in the hallway about killing Jews.” Henryk Grynfeld, a teacher at a high school in a mostly immigrant neighborhood in Malmo, was told by a student: “We’re going to kill all Jews.” He said other students yell “yahoud,” the Arabic word for Jew, at him.
I don’t think Carl, Stefan and Ingvar would be using the Arabic word for Jew.
A spokesman for Malmo’s Jewish community put the situation starkly. You “don’t want to display the Star of David around your neck,” he said. Or as spokesman for the Goteborg synagogue put it, “It’s a constant battle to live a normal life, and not to give in to the threats, but still be able to feel safe.”
All this has made Jews in Sweden wonder if they should even stay.
The question that has dogged Jews throughout the centuries is now an urgent one for Sweden’s Jewish community. Is it time to leave? Some are answering yes. One reason is the nature of the current threat.
And what exactly is “the nature of the current threat”?
Historically, anti-Semitism in Sweden could mainly be attributed to right-wing extremists. While this problem persists, a study from 2013 showed that 51 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in Sweden were attributed to Muslim extremists. Only 5 percent were carried out by right-wing extremists; 25 percent were perpetrated by left-wing extremists.
So only five percent of attacks on Jews are being perpetrated by right-wing extremists. But they’re the ones the politicians are condemning.
Swedish politicians have no problem condemning anti-Semitism carried out by right-wingers. When neo-Nazis planned a march that would go past the Goteborg synagogue on Yom Kippur this September, for example, it stirred up outrage across the political spectrum. A court ruled that the demonstrators had to change their route.
OK, they’re outraged by neo-Nazis. Congratulations. But remember, only 5% of the attacks are perpetrated by those who are classified in any way as “right-wing”. What about the other 95%?
There is, however, tremendous hesitation to speak out against hate crimes committed by members of another minority group in a country that prides itself on welcoming minorities and immigrants. In 2015, Sweden was second only to Germany in the number of Syrian refugees it welcomed. Yet the three men arrested in the Molotov cocktail attack were newly arrived immigrants, two Syrians and a Palestinian.
Note that there is “tremendous hesitation to speak out against hate crimes committed by members of another minority group in a country that prides itself on welcoming minorities and immigrants.” Such hesitation makes Sweden a more dangerous place for Jews.
In other words, as Paulina Neuding puts it,
The fear of being accused of intolerance has paralyzed Sweden’s leaders from properly addressing deep-seated intolerance.
Sounds like the leaders of most Western countries.
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, was finally cornered into kinda, sorta, maybe saying there is a problem in the Muslim population.
In an interview in June, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was asked whether Sweden had been naïve about the link between immigration and anti-Semitism. His response was typical of the way in which leading politicians have avoided giving straight answers about the threat against the country’s Jews: “We have a problem in Sweden with anti-Semitism, and it doesn’t matter who expresses it, it’s still as darn wrong.”But the problem has grown so dire that it finally forced Mr. Lofven to admit in an interview this month: “We will not ignore the fact that many people have come here from the Middle East, where anti-Semitism is a widespread idea, almost part of the ideology. We must become even clearer, dare to talk more about it.”
Becoming clearer and talking more about it – that’ll stop ‘em! This guy is a regular Gustavus Aldophus the Great
But why do I suspect that they won’t even be able to “become clearer and talk more about it”, because in today’s PC environment, even that can get one into trouble.
Later in the op-ed, Neuding proposes her own solutions:
- Do more to protect Swedish Jews.
- “Adopt a coherent strategy to combat radical Islamism”, which would include regaining “control over immigrant neighborhoods”, not using taxpayer funds to finance radical Islamic schools, and countering “attempts by foreign clerics to radicalize its Muslim community with a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, including the insidious idea that the Holocaust is a lie.”
- And, it’s necessary she says, to openly acknowledge “the nature of modern anti-Semitism in Sweden.”
OK, those are good, but will all those proposals solve the problem if Sweden continues to open its gates to more and more Middle Eastern Muslims?