Swedish PM pledges to combat antisemitism

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven instructs government to propose additional measures to counter anti-Jewish incidents following an attack on a Swedish synagogue.

Police is seen at the site of an attack near a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden December 9, 2017 (photo credit: TT NEWS AGENCY/ADAM IHSE/VIA REUTERS)
Police is seen at the site of an attack near a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden December 9, 2017
 Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has assured members of the Jewish community that his government is looking into increasing measures to combat antisemitism, the European Jewish Association said Sunday.
Lofven was responding to concerns aired by Jewish community leaders following recent antisemitic incidents in the country, including firebomb attacks on Jewish buildings in Gothenburg and Malmo earlier this month.
Replying to a letter penned by founder and CEO of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin and coordinator of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup Alfiaz Vaiya, Lofven said: “I can assure you that I fully share your sentiments and have made my outrage at these abhorrent acts very clear.”
“There is no place for antisemitism in Swedish society,” the prime minister said, adding that the perpetrators will be held to account.
Margolin and Vaiya had requested a meeting with Lofven, along with other Jewish leaders including the Conference of European Rabbis president, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, in light of the recent incidents. Lofven apologized that he had not been able to meet with them in Brussels during the December 14 to 15 EU summit, due to prior commitments.
He stressed, however, that he has instructed his government to perform a complete inventory of all the measures take to date and to propose additional steps that can be taken to combat antisemitism.
“We will continue to take every possible step to protect the Swedish Jewish communities and to ensure that they can live here in safety and without fear,” he said.
Anti-Jewish incidents in Sweden and other European countries flared up following US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
In a protest rally in Malmo, following Trump’s announcement, demonstrators shouted, “We have announced the intifada from Malmo. We want our freedom back, and we will shoot the Jews.”
Margolin and Vaiya said in their letter: “We are concerned that the issues affecting Sweden’s Jewry are not just an internal problem, but a wider phenomenon, and that if we do not stamp it out in good time, it might be replicated in many other European states, as we often see how one Member State’s problems become a problem all over the Union.”
The European Jewish Congress received Lofven at its in Brussels earlier this month and lauded the Swedish government’s quick and decisive response to the recent wave of antisemitic incidents, and noted the prime minister’s unconditional denunciation of the attacks and statements in support of the Jewish community.