While official Sweden is busy celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, the southern city of Malmö has become a no-go zone for the Jews of Sweden. Furthermore, in the city of Budapest in Hungary, where Wallenberg saved Jews from the Nazis, neo-fascists have once again become a force to be reckoned with in national politics.
At a special luncheon in the National Parliament in Stockholm on Tuesday, members of the Swedish Parliament and Christian leaders committed to strengthen their efforts to combat the rise of anti-Semitism as a way of honouring the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg. Swedish diplomat Wallenberg died in a Russian prison, having saved tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest in 1944.
At the meeting, several Members of Parliament confirmed the fact that anti-Semitism has got out of hand in Malmö, where Jews are afraid to wear a kippa and the local synagogue needs the highest level of security. No other faith group in Sweden needs protection in order to go to their place of worship.
‘This was hardly the Sweden that Raoul Wallenberg dreamed of’, said ECI director Tomas Sandell, who co-hosted the luncheon with MP Mikael Oscarsson and National Coordinator Lennart Fjell.
At the meeting Sandell announced that Stockholm will be one of several key capitals in Europe that ECI will focus on in order to strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism and support the right to exist of the modern state of Israel in an increasingly hostile environment. In Sweden local Jews are under attack today both by radical Muslims and neo-Nazis. Meanwhile, the modern state of Israel is also being demonised by these groups, often joined by a significant number of anti-Israel Christians and left wing activists. Those attending the luncheon indicated that one of the most active of the anti-Israel groups in the National Parliament consists of Christians whose top priority is to delegitimise the Jewish state. They achieve this by giving parliamentarians and the public at large a very one-sided picture of the realities on the ground, in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.
‘If some of the most active anti-Israeli groups are indeed made up of ill-informed Christians, the antidote will have to come from those Christian leaders and activists who do not accept that the Church should be misused to discredit the Jewish state, and indirectly fuel anti-Semitism’, said Sandell.
‘One would have thought that the mass murders in Syria or the growing persecution of Christians in the Middle East would be a cause for concern for Christian organisations in Sweden today. However, for many of them, the focus still seems to be only on one country, the only democracy in the Middle East, namely Israel. If this does not constitute anti-Semitism, nothing does’, said Sandell.
‘In these circumstances, there is no better way to honour the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, than to stand up in unity for the security of the Jewish people in Sweden and Hungary and in defence of the modern state of Israel’, concluded Sandell.