The Rabbi of the Malmö Synagogue in Sweden said AntiSemitism is threatening the survival of the city’s already dwindling Jewish population, Canada’s CBC Radio reported on Monday.
Rabbi Shneur Kesselman said, “AntiSemitism here in Malmö today is threatening the existence of a minority.”
The rabbi said he has been spat upon and cursed in different languages, and most recently, a bottle thrown from a passing car narrowly missed his head.
The Jewish community in Malmö has gone down 50 percent to about 1,000 Jews in the past 10 years.
There have been 137 AntiSemitic incidents reported to authorities in Malmö in the past two years. The AntiSemitism prompted The Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles to issue a travel advisory to Jews in 2010 suggesting they do not visit to Malmö. The center reissued the warning in 2014.
A few months ago, Jonathan Vaknine, 19 — the only Jew in his school of 1,600 students — was swarmed in the hallway at school, cursed at and pushed around by young men asking, “Are you Jewish?” Vaknine reported the incident to the police and named one of the attackers but it was three months before the police called Vaknine for a statement. The named attacker was never interviewed.
School authorities expressed concern for Vaknine’s safety, but he told them, “Safe is not enough.”
“That is not the issue,” he said. “If I hide who I am and hide my identity, of course no one will know I’m a Jew and they will not do anything. But if I am going with kippa, with things that show that I’m a Jew, I’m not sure I would be safe.”
AntiSemitismWatch.com says that the damning indictment of the situation Rabbi Kesselman describes must act as a wake up call to all Jewish leaders as well as the Swedish government. It must form part of the thinking of Jewish groups further afield because it provides a warning of what can happen if incidents are left unchecked. Only by understanding the wider global context of AntiSemitism can we properly start to understand and challenge this evil. Only by moving away from navel gazing in just our own back yard can progress be made.
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