At Gates of Vienna we’ve been watching the Jews leave Malmö for quite a while now. I have no way to find the statistics on how many Jewish people have deserted all of Scandinavia, but an essay (dating from 2001) by Dr. Henrik Bachner at Lund University dates the rise of Sweden’s openly anti-Semitic public opinion to 1982. The Year of the War Against Lebanon.
Here is part of his conclusion:
… in mainstream political culture the public debate on Israel is a major forum for anti-Semitism. There appear to be several reasons for this. Two factors, however, are of fundamental importance.
First, as the prime Jewish actor in the global political arena Israel is a focal point for latent anti-Semitism. The Jewish state – in some cases its sheer existence, but more often its policies and actions – serves as a stimulus for anti-Jewish sentiments and prejudice to become manifest. Israeli policies…are interpreted by parts of the public through a filter of pre-existing, probably often unconscious, negative stereotypes and beliefs. As was demonstrated during the Lebanon War, Israel, to a substantial number of people, was not a state like other states and did not go to war for motives similar to those of other states. Israel’s war became in the eyes of many a “Jewish” war, pursued for specifically “Jewish” motives.
And you know the motives, right? Greed, the desire to dominate the Middle East (before going on to take over the whole world and then colonizing the moon). In other words, the usual ‘logic’ trotted out in this ‘discussion’.
Second, the debate on Israel has been a major forum for anti-Semitism within mainstream political culture because it constitutes the only public arena where negative attitudes toward Jews can be legitimately articulated…
Reactions to the Lebanon War, moreover, indicated that the strong anti-Israel mood was accompanied not only by a more visible anti-Semitism, but also a greater tolerance toward anti-Jewish expressions within the mainstream media. Although anti-Semitism lacked legitimacy within the democratic political culture, a large number of respected newspapers and periodicals published material that was quite openly anti-Semitic, and which, under “normal” circumstances, would not have been included.
The Swedish debate on Israel’s Lebanon War demonstrates the persistence of traditional Christian and secular anti-Jewish myths and stereotypes. Although largely absent from the public discourse for decades, historically- and culturally-rooted images were easily reawakened and formed the kernel of the antisemitically tinged argumentation. But the discussion that emerged also demonstrates the adaptability and flexibility of anti-Semitism as well as the propensity for its renewal.
And now, with the influx of large groups of rabidly anti-Jewish immigrants from various areas of the Middle East, there is a handy cover for what was at least a social problem before the Muslims showed up.
As I said at the start, I have no statistics for how many Jews have fled Scandinavia. But take a guess at the size of the current Jewish population in Malmö…
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That’s the total number of Jews in Malmö – against how many natives and immigrants who don’t care for their company? I’ve read lots of comment threads on this subject of emigration. The usual consensus turns out to be “the Jews ought to stay and fight. They shouldn’t take this,” etc. But why in the world would anyone want to do that given the odds and the systemic hatred? And why stay when you can go to a democracy where the sun shines on Jews (even if their neighbors don’t)? Seems like a no-brainer to me. On the other hand, one has to weigh the Iranians against the existential threats in Sweden. That’s a tough call.
From Israel National News, this report:
Violent anti-Semitism has become increasingly commonplace in Sweden’s southern city of Malmö, leading many Jewish residents to leave out of fear for their safety. “Threats against Jews have increased steadily in Malmö in recent years and many young Jewish families are choosing to leave the city,” said Fredrik Sieradzki of the Jewish Community of Malmö.
Last year , 79 crimes against Jewish residents were reported to the Malmö police, roughly double the number reported in 2008. In addition, Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have been repeatedly defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, and a chapel at another Jewish burial site in Malmö was firebombed last January during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Many Jewish residents of Malmö feel that local anti-Jewish sentiment is linked with negative attitudes towards Israel.
In addition to its small community of roughly 700 Jews, Malmö is home to a growing Muslim population. However, local Jews insist that the majority of anti-Jewish sentiment, although certainly existent in the Muslim community, is coming from local Swedes.
Sieradzki says that the attitudes of Malmö politicians, especially Social Democrat city council chair Ilmar Reepalu, have allowed anti-Semitism to fester. “He’s demonstrated extreme ignorance when it comes to our problems,” Sieradzki explained. “It’s shameful and regrettable that such a powerful politician could be so ignorant about the threats we face.
“If you read between the lines, he seems to be suggesting that the violence directed toward us is our own fault simply because we didn’t speak out against Israel. We’re a non-political, cultural and religious organization, and there are all kinds of Jews in Malmö.”
“All kinds of Jews in Malmö”? That’s a passing truth, unfortunately. Given that the city is down to seven hundred Jewish souls now, how long do you think it will be until Malmö is judenrein?
Hat tip: Kitman