Sweden’s Anti-Semitism Problem

In October of 2015, in the Swedish city of Malmö, protesters at a “pro-Palestinian” rally—attended by several Swedish politicians—began chanting “Death to the Jews” and “More stabbings!” in Arabic. This sort of behavior, together with countless cases of small-scale harassment, has become almost unremarkable in Sweden. Josefin Dolsten writes (2015):

[I]ncidents where anti-Israel rhetoric turns violently anti-Semitic have created a climate of fear for Sweden’s small Jewish community, which numbers 15,000. Hate crimes against Jews are on the rise, with 2014 seeing a 38-percent increase in reported anti-Semitic incidents from the previous year. . . .

Expressing public support for Israel can be dangerous, and the police do not always provide proper protection at pro-Israel events. During a 2009 rally in Malmö . . . the small crowd of Israel supporters was forced to abandon the event after police were unable to stop thousands of pro-Palestinian backers from storming the barricades and running toward the group. . . .

The Swedish government, headed by the left-wing Social Democratic party under Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, is known for its staunch support of the Palestinian cause and criticism of Israel. In 2014, the country became the first European Union member state to recognize the “state of Palestine.” . . .

“When I say something [positive] regarding Israel I get a flood of hate mail and threats,” [said] Hanif Bali, a member of parliament for the center-right Moderate party, the largest party in the opposition bloc. . . .“The senders range from Palestinian or Arab immigrants to left-wing people in general, so the dialogue is very polarized and very aggressive. It’s hard to talk about the issue because you have to pay such a high price for it.” . . . The government’s stance on Israel is deeply ingrained in the political system, Bali believes. Pro-Palestinian groups are eligible to receive governmental funds to conduct lobbying activities, further [exacerbating the situation].

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Jewish World, Sweden

 

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey