Category Archives: Scandinavia

Special Report: Rise of far right in Europe being overlooked

Western mainstream media had been fully geared up to cover the expected victory of the far right presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, in the recent Austrian election. The win of the Green party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, robbed them of the opportunity to cover what they had been predicting as the first European post-Second World War far right head of state election victory.

Norbert Hofer
Norbert Hofer

Yet, the rise of far right European parties and candidates into the established international realpolitik, rather than their traditional fringe position, is something that has been and is being fundamentally overlooked.

In France, the far-right National Front won 6.8 million votes in regional elections in 2015 – its largest ever popular endorsement.

The far-right Jobbik party who polled third in Hungaryorganises patrols by an unarmed but uniformed “Hungarian Guard” in Roma (Gypsy) neighbourhoods.

In Denmark, the government relies on the support of the nationalist Danish People’s Party and has the toughest immigration rules in Europe.

While, the leader of the nationalist Finns Party is the foreign minister of Finland, after it joined a coalition government last year.

Andrzej Duda
Andrzej Duda

Less than a year after Poland elected Andrzej Duda, a previously little-known right-wing politician as president, Warsaw’s nationalist government moved to strip a leading Jewish Holocaust scholar of a national honour for asserting simply what the previous Polish presidential incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, acknowledged. Namely, that Poland was in part responsible for Nazi war crimes against its Jewish population during World War II.

Perhaps one of most shocking situations currently exists in Croatia. During World War II, Croatia was ruled by the Ustashi, an axis-aligned regime that was every bit as bad as the Nazis. The Ustashi killed over 600,000 people, 500,000 of which were Serbs. The Ustashi-ruled Independent State of Croatia had a population of around 6.3 million, meaning the Ustashi killed around one in 10 of its own people. Eighty percent of the nation’s Jews were murdered.

Ustashi
Ustashi – axis-aligned regime during World War II, every bit as bad as the Nazis.

Now the Ustashi are making a comeback. It has now penetrated cabinet ministers and the mainstream media. Ognjen Kraus, the leader of Croatia’s Jewish communities, said that the government “is simply not doing anything” and that it “does not want to.”

The nation’s new right-wing coalition that came to power at the start of the year is responsible for much of this change. As part of that coalition, Zlatko Hasanbegović became Croatia’s culture minister in January. He was once a member of a small far-right, pro-Ustashi party.

Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia
Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia

Since taking office, Hasanbegović has cut funds for progressive groups and independent media and has endorsed a revisionist documentary film that denies the scale of the crimes committed by Croatia during its alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Reporters Without Borders, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Serb and Jewish groups in the region have all condemned the new government.

The government’s tolerance of such a man as a minister in government is creating a climate of fear throughout the country.

Croatian soccer fans frequently chant Nazi-era slogans during games with only indirect criticism from the government. During one game with Israel, fans were heard to shout, “We Croats! Ustashi! Ustashi!”

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Israel and Eastern Europe, warned that Croatia is “a country where manifestations of fascism and anti-Semitism are very common, especially in the local soccer stadiums, but not easily identifiable by those ignorant of the country’s World War II and Holocaust history.”

In the UK much of the media coverage of anti-Semitic issues has focused attention to the political left following the storm that has engulfed the Labour Party. Equally, many in the western media, following mass immigration stories and terrorist outrages, have, unsurprisingly, concentrated on radical Islamist matters and any associated anti-Semitism. Yet, if world history, our history, tells us one thing, we cannot afford to ignore or overlook the rise of the far right. If the mainstream media will not do it we shall have to do it for ourselves.

Unchecked wave of anti-Semitism in Sweden continues

Some 120 pupils around the age of 15 and their teachers at the Korsavad school in Simrishamn had posed for a picture together for their yearbook last autumn, reported regional newspaper Ystads Allehanda on Thursday.

But when the photographer later processed the pictures he discovered that a number of pupils appeared to be doing Nazi salutes in at least one of the photographs.

He contacted principal Pia Svensson who pulled the picture from the yearbook and contacted the boys’ parents.

After speaking to the pupils the school decided to report the incident to the police.

The boys have denied any criminal offence, however the prosecutor argues that they had been “in mutual agreement to express contempt for a group of people” by making the gesture.

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Photograph captured from Facebook

Residents were shocked to see the flag, understood to have been a Nazi swastika banner, flying from one of the official flagpoles next to Vetlanda town hall in southern Sweden in the morning.

The local authority reported that a security guard had discovered it at around 6am and that it had been taken down shortly thereafter.

Vetlanda council issued a statement saying, “We take this very seriously. Vetlanda should be an open and welcoming council and these types of symbols are completely unacceptable to us. We’re reporting it to the police.”

It was not known by the afternoon who had hoisted the flag, but it was believed to have been intended to mark the birthday of German dictator Adolf Hitler, who was born on April 20th 1889. Last year a Nazi flag was raised at the Njudung school in Vetlanda on the same date.

“[This] is a clear assault on our open democracy and our fundamental values,” said the council executive committee’s chairman Henrik Tvarnö of the Social Democrat party and deputy chairman Jan Johansson of local party Vetlanda Framåtanda in a joint statement.

Meanwhile, residents took to social media to voice their disgust after a picture purporting to be of the flag at the town hall was posted on Facebook.

“What a horrible affront to all people who have fallen victim to this dreadful ideology. Awful that the echo of history does not reach all residents in our little town,” commented one user under the picture, which was posted in the group ‘You know you’re from Vetlanda when‘.

“Hope whoever has it now burns it,” wrote another one after it was removed.

Police meanwhile said they had launched an investigation into incitement of racial hatred.

Read more here.

Is Sweden a lost cause? Has battle against anti-Semitism been lost?

In one of the most shocking recent anti-Semitism episodes to emerge, a Jewish-Israeli woman referred to as ‘A’ who emigrated to Sweden 39 years ago, has claimed she was fired from a teaching post for being Jewish.

images-6After just a week’s employment at the school in Malmö, the principal told ‘A’ there could be problems because of her origins. “It won’t be easy for you here. Most of the Swedish students are racists. They hate everybody, but especially the Jews, so it’s very possible you’ll ‘get it’ from both the Swedish and the Arab students.” He suggested she find a different job, far from any school.

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, a Swedish-Jewish activist well-known in the country for her pro-Israel activism and both personal and public battles against anti-Semitism in Europe, told The Algemeiner that, “Malmö is lost to us. And by that I mean Sweden, not merely Jews. This is a city that represents an accelerated version of what we see going on in the rest of the country and the continent today.”

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein
Annika Hernroth-Rothstein

Hernroth-Rothstein said that Swedish municipalities have started segregating communal swimming pools, due to the complaints by young women that immigrant men molest them when they go swimming. This, she said, “is how Sweden responds to the violation of human rights and transgression of the Swedish law — it adapts to the perpetrator and abandons the victim, and I see the same thing happening to us Jews in Sweden today. Indeed, the teacher in question will likely receive neither a public apology nor compensation, but she is asked to adapt to the perpetrators and accept this reality. There is no excuse for this travesty of justice.”

‘A’ drew a similar analogy suggesting that Malmö “has become a place I no longer recognize. I feel the way I did when I arrived here 39 years ago – like a tourist. Though the buildings and streets are familiar, everything else has changed.”

When she started working in this school, the history teacher came to her and told explained, “I’m on your [ie, the Jews] side, but it’s important you know this school has a serious problem with racism.”

Although she naturally felt like crying when the principal fired her she also understood what problems he was talking about. She understood that it is not enough to cover up her Magen David necklace with scarves, and that she will have to continue and stay silent when people ask her about her origins.

Hernroth-Rothstein meanwhile also explained, “The Malmö orthodox Rabbi has long sounded the alarm and filed numerous police reports citing harassment, both physical and verbal. Yet the answer, from both politicians and intellectuals, has been to condemn the Jewish state and excuse anti-Semitism by saying that it is the logical consequence of Israeli military actions. The fish rots from the head, and Malmö is an excellent example of this, as it has sold out and abandoned its once significant Jewish population.”

Another former Israeli, Noami Lind, a friend of ‘A’, has said she faced similar problems. Lind emigrated to Sweden 34 years ago and lives in a Stockholm suburb, where she taught computer science.

“A girl was upset at her marks and told me she hopes Hitler will come back and finish the job. I always felt that the school administration wasn’t comfortable with the fact that I’m Israeli. They talked in class about the Holocaust, but despite that, they didn’t know how to deal with modern anti-Semitism. The school didn’t deal with the girl who said those racist things, even though it’s a criminal offense here. I’m a daughter of Holocaust survivors, and I took it really hard. My coworkers were amazing, they demanded the school lodge a complaint and expel the girl, but the administration didn’t do it.”

“Over the years, I also got uncalled for remarks from Arab students.” For example, an Arab student asked if she was Jewish, and when she answered in the affirmative, he started arguing and saying bad things. She also had a student from a Muslim country who became very devout “because the Jews control Coca-Cola and the all world.”

She finally decided she could not stand it. “I felt that I don’t want to expose myself. I left the school. I quit / was fired.”

When asked about the situation of the Jews in Sweden, Lind said, “They, the Swedes, are pushing us away. They’re scared, they don’t want conflicts. They suddenly didn’t feel comfortable because now there’s a lot of Muslim students, so they just push us, the Jewish teachers, away. It’s not easy and it’s not okay.”

She sued the school and was awarded the highest compensation level possible. However, she had not found a good job since.

Another Jewish teacher, Katrine Hamori, lives in Southern Sweden. Now retired, she said she faced anti-Semitic harassment. A few years ago, late at night, she got an anti-Semitic picture by mail. The picture showed two men with a kippah and long, crooked noses, murdering a Christian child.

It turned out the picture was sent by her principal. When she asked him about it, he said he sent it by mistake, that he meant to send it to himself. She did not buy it, since she was the only Jew in the school. He said he was sorry.

When she spoke to her union, the union rep said, “The principal apologized, it was by mistake, you Jews get insulted so easily. Why don’t you drop it?”

After her dismissal, alone in a train car, ‘A’, “Allowed the tears of my frustration to flow. I was angry with myself. I was angry with my frustration. I was angry with my tears. I was angry about maybe having to find other work, not as a teacher. Above all, I was angry at Sweden in 2016. When I arrived home, I began to look for another job.”

Her union will not back her up because she can not prove she was fired due to racism. She has also discovered that her co-workers have blocked her on Facebook.

Is there any future left for the Jews in Sweden?

Let us know your thoughts and / or your experiences – use the comment section below or email us at secretary@antisemitismwatch.com

 

The sad irony! Anti-Semitism protest cancelled over anti-Semitism fears

In an ironic but sad twist, organisers of a demonstration against anti-Semitism in Sweden have been forced to cancel the event amid fears of violence and public disorder generated by the very societal elements they were looking to protest against.

images-6The demonstration was supposed to take place in the city of Gothenburg on Thursday. However, with apparent minimal police support or protection on offer, the organisers were forced into a decision:

“At the last minute we learned that many Jews are afraid to come, and that there were rumors that people will come and try to destroy the demonstration and crash it to spread political messages,” the organisers Elin Schwartz and Kaino Nordgren wrote on Facebook to announce the cancellation.

They added they could not verify the rumors but, said “we are two individuals and as organizers dare not take upon ourselves the responsibility of ensuring everyone’s safety.”

They also wrote: “Had we had more time, we could find out more about the threat, but now we feel that we need to postpone.”

Presently, no new time or venue has been set for the alternative holding of the event.

On the Thursday, a well-known Swedish hip-hop music artist, Jacques Mattar, wrote on Instagram that Zionists created the ISIS jihadist group.

Posting a picture of dead bodies, he wrote: “The media aren’t there. Why? The same people who created ISIS control the media: Senior Zionists.”

Mattar, who is known by his stage name Jacco and who is a member of the popular band Labyrint, removed the remark about Zionists from his Instagram account shortly after posting it, the Dagens Nyheter Daily reported.

Kosher butcher shop vandalized in Copenhagen

A kosher butcher shop in Copenhagen has been vandalized for the second time in a year.

The attack on the shop in the Danish capital occurred Wednesday night and was discovered early Thursday, according  to a statement by the local police force.

At around 3:40 a.m., a patrol car reported that a brick had been thrown through the shop display window.

The previous attack, in April 2015, involved the scrawling of the words: “Jew pig” on the window.

 

 

Mass murderer gives Nazi salute in court

Mass murderer Anders Breivik made a Nazi salute in a Norwegian court today as he claimed to be a victim of human rights abuses.

The right-wing extremist killed 77 people in bomb and gun attacks in 2011. He made the offending  gesture as soon as prison guards removed his handcuffs during the hearing.

The 37-year-old is suing the government, alleging it has violated the European Convention on Human Rights by holding him in isolation in Skien prison, about 60 miles south-west of Oslo.

Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo’s government district and then carried out a shooting massacre at the annual summer camp of the left-wing Labour Party’s youth organisation on the island of Utoya.

Kept apart from other inmates, he has likened his prison conditions to “torture”.

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Breivik at his original trial

His lawyer, Oeystein Storrvik, told reporters ahead of the trial: “He wants contact with other people.”

He added: “One of his main things to do [in prison] was to study and he has stopped that now, and I feel that is a sign that isolation has been negative to his psychological health,”

Marius Emberland, lawyer for the state, said: “There are limits to his contacts with the outside world, which are of course strict.”

In letters sent to media from prison, Breivik said he has abandoned his armed struggle and now wants to create a fascist movement while serving his sentence.

The court hearing, which is being held in a gym inside the prison for security reasons, is expected to run until Friday.

Read more here.

Terror trial starts in Copenhagen over synagogue attack

A year after a terror attack left two dead and several people injured, the terror trial of those accused of assisting the terrorist is finally set to begin today in Copenhagen.

The Great Synagogue - scene of terrorist attack.
The Great Synagogue – scene of terrorist attack.

Four young men are charged with assisting the attacker Omar el-Hussein in his deadly strike on the Great Synagogue on Krystalgade after his initial attack on Krudttønden theatre in Østerbro.

The four men – LE (aged 20), IA (aged 18), BH aged 24 and MR (aged 31) – have been held on remand for the past 12 months. Under Danish law suspects are not named.

The City Court has set aside around 30 days spread over seven months for the trial. If convicted of helping el-Hussein they face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Pleading innocent
The prosecution claims the four met with el-Hussein on February 14 at 16:30, before his attack on the synagogue, and supplied him with a hoodie and a shoulder bag that he carried during the attack.

They also stand accused of providing el-Hussein with access to a computer and giving him ammunition that he used during the attack. The police also believe that they encouraged el-Hussein to commit his second attack.

Furthermore, BH and LE are accused of getting rid of the M/95 rifle el-Hussein used in the attack on Krudttønden, while MR was found in possession of the same kind of ammunition used during the attacks.

All four men have pleaded not-guilty in the case, which is scheduled to last until the end of September.

For a long time, the media reported that five men faced charges. A 18-year-old man was also held in remand for 11 months, but was released after the authorities dropped the charges against him.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Danish girl charged with planning to bomb Jewish school

Danish prosecutors say a 16-year-old girl who was arrested in January was planning bomb attacks against a Jewish school in Copenhagen and another school in Denmark.

Prosecutors presented the preliminary charges against her and a 24-year-old man suspected of being her accomplice in a court hearing Tuesday in Holbaek, northwest of the Danish capital.

He is accused of, among other things, having provided the girl with bomb making manuals. Local reports suggest he is a former Islamic State fighter in Syria,

Reports also suggest the girl had recently converted to Islam. Both have pleaded not guilty. They have not been named by the authorities or media, according to Danish practice.

It is alleged the suspects obtained chemicals and tried to produce explosives with the intent to commit terror attacks against the two schools.

map_2The targeted schools are said to have been, the Carolineskolen Jewish day school in Copenhagen, and the Sydskolen public school in the western Zealand town of Farevejle. Both were told of the plot by Mid and West Zealand Police and the Danish Security Intelligence Service.

The Intelligence Service said the arrests had not changed their assessment of the security threat, classified as “serious” since February 2015 when a gunman killed two people in shooting attacks on a debating event and a Copenhagen synagogue before being shot dead himself by police.

The court extended their pre-trial detention until March 30.

 

 

 

 

Academic rushes to delete social media posts after being caught out

A Finnish academic deleted numerous posts from his Facebook page on Wednesday, after a pro-Israel blogger publicized what he called their “outright Jew hatred.”

Paavo Kinnunen, professor of biomedical engineering and computational science at Aalto University in Helsinki, removed the content a day after IsraellyCool published an entry containing numerous screenshots from Kinnunen’s page.

There were multiple posts supporting and celebrating the violence perpetrated by Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel. There were dozens of anti-Israel posts, including, the blogger observed, “belief in blood libels and conspiracy theories.”

One post, for example, claimed that Sweden’s Jews have nothing to fear from Muslims but only from “Mossad jihadists” committing a terror attack and making it look as if it was done by Islamists. Another post suggested that the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States were organized by Jews, allegedly absent from the Twin Towers on that day.

Kinnunen’s posts frequently accused Israelis of harvesting the organs of Palestinians. In one, he charts the dollar amounts that different organs earn for Israel over images of what appear to be one or two dead Palestinians with long scars on their bodies; in another he posted a report called “Israel Caught Harvesting Palestinian Organs Again” below his comment, “Lucrative ziobusiness …”

Post on Kinnunen’s Facebook page. Photo: Facebook.
Post on Kinnunen’s Facebook page. Photo: Facebook.

Many posts equated Israel and Zionists with Nazis, and characterized Israelis and Jews as having a penchant for blood and violence. “When genocide is on the agenda,” Kunnunen wrote in one, “it is important to kill children … incl. toddlers, pregnant women …”

Others were what the blogger deemed openly antisemitic:

Jews certainly are special, more special than any other group of people. They have established the most racist religion, involving lineage to their God, giving them the promise of land, slaves, property, license to kill all non-Jews. Following these religious items described in their Talmud, which we Goyims are banned from reading, these God chosen wackos have established, by treacherous deception, the most ultrafascist “society” in today’s world …

Similar claims about the Jewish Talmud occurred frequently, including that it makes “all property of non-Jewish belongs to Jewish,” and that it permits Jews “to kill all non-Jewish.”

In another post, Kinnunen wrote: “Definition of antisemitic: Anyone, who opposes genocide & fascism, killing of children, women, unarmed.”

This spurred IsraellyCool to publish an entry Tuesday, entitled: “Anti-Zionist-Not-Antisemite Of The Day: Paavo Kinnunen of Aalto University, Finland.”

When The Algemeiner visited Kinnunen’s Facebook page on Thursday, it discovered that many of the posts publicized by the blogger had disappeared.

A fellow Aalto faculty member told The Algemeiner that Kinnunen’s views are his own and do not represent his department or the university and highlighted this clause in the university’s code of conduct:

Each member of the Aalto University community has a right to be treated with respect regardless of their gender, gender identity or expression thereof, age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, beliefs, opinion, political or trade union engagement, family relations, health, disability, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics.

Whether Kinnunen’s writings violate this clause would depend, the colleague suggested, on

(a) whether these opinions make their way into Kinnunen’s classroom and professional work, and

(b) whether there are any Jewish students or faculty members at Aalto.

 

 

TV star quit over anti-Semitism

Danish actor Kim Bodnia has revealed that one of the reasons why he quit the hit show The Bridge was because as a Jew he did not feel safe working in Sweden.

Bodnia played detective Martin Rohde in two seasons of the Scandi-crime show, but after first signing up for a third, he later dropped out.

The 50-year-old had previously cited issues with the script, but has now said his departure was also caused by of the rise of anti-Semitism in Sweden.

The Bridge is filmed on both sides of the Oresund – in Denmark and Sweden – and its first two seasons starred Bodnia as Rodhe, and Sofia Helin as the socially awkward Swedish detective Saga Noren.

Despite initially signing up to return as Rohde in season three, Bodnia later announced he was quitting the show.

Bodnia made the controversial comments during an interview for Israeli TV where he spoke about why he left The Bridge.

After initially explaining that the changes made to the script and lack of influence on it as an actor was the main reason, he is then asked about anti-Semitism in Scandinvia.

‘It [anti-Semitism] is growing, especially in Malmo where we shot The Bridge in Sweden,’ he told Channel 10.

‘It’s not very nice, and not very comfortable to be there as a Jewish person.

‘So of course this also had something to do with it [quitting The Bridge].

‘It’s easy for me to say no to work in Sweden. It’s very easy, when they didn’t have the script right, I could say; “well, I don’t feel safe there”.’

Interview med skuespiller Kim Bodnia. -

Bodnia was born in Copenhagen to a Jewish family with Polish and Russian roots, and recently finished filming television show Hostages in Israel.

During the interview, he also indicated that there is a connection between the rise in anti-Semitism in Sweden and Denmark and the influx of migrants and refugees in recent years.

‘[Among] the young people that’s living there now, who comes from outside into Denmark, this is growing too much.’

Read the original article here.