Swedish politician calls for Jews to abandon their faith

Björn Söder, who is a deputy speaker in the Swedish parliament, causes uproar among the country’s approximately 18,000 Jews.

By JTA
December 18, 2014 19:26
1 minute read.
Björn Söder

Björn Söder. (photo credit: TWITTER)

 
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Jews must abandon their religious identities to become proper Swedes, an ultra-nationalist Swedish politician declared this week, according to reports in the European media.

In an interview, Björn Söder of the Sweden Democrats party stated that “most [people] of Jewish origin who have become Swedes leave their Jewish identity” and that it is important to distinguish between “citizenship and nationhood.”

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Söder, who is a deputy speaker in the Swedish parliament, caused uproar among the country’s approximately 18,000 Jews, with Lena Posner Körösi of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden being quoted by The Guardian as saying his statements were “exactly like in 1930s Germany” and that they constitute “good old right-wing anti-Semitism.”

Muslim violence against Jews in Sweden, especially in Malmö, the country’s third largest city, have been a cause for great concern in the local community. Last September a bomb was set off outside of Malmö’s Jewish Community Center.

Dozens of anti-Semitic crimes are reported annually in the city. Last month, a man was beaten there for displaying an Israeli flag in his window.

Representatives of the Jewish community did not respond to a request for comment from The Jerusalem Post.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman announced yesterday his refusal to meet with his Swedish counterpart next month in protest at the Swedish parliament’s decision to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.

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Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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