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 Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

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Read more at Jager File

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics