The answer is an emphatic “no”.
There is no institutional anti-Semitism in Sweden. Among the vast majority of Swedes anti-Semitism provokes the same revulsion as all other forms of racism do.
There are exceptions, however. One may safely discount the oddballs on the extreme Right – there are few people in Swedish society who would ever say a word in their defence.
The problem, instead, lies on the extreme Left, which is embracing ever-larger tracts of the mid-Left and huge swathes of this small country’s fast-growing Muslim minority. Of a total population of about 9 million, there are about 400,000 Muslims living in Sweden.
This Nordic country has traditionally had a very generous policy toward asylum-seekers and immigrants from the Muslim Middle East. The problem is that by and large, networking with immigrants or “New Swedes” as they are known is generally limited to throwing large sums of money at them and then proceeding to leave them to get on with life. Good-quality housing is provided, schooling – including Swedish classes for adults, job training, social benefits when needed (statistics suggest that 25 percent of the southern Swedish city of Malmö’s population is Muslim, and that 40 percent of them are unemployed).
And integration? Very little. It is little wonder then that Muslim immigrants increasingly group together in ethnic sub-communities, having little interaction with the host society in which they live and into which their children are born. It is no coincidence that Swedish local politician Adly Abu Hajal states (the article is in Swedish) that “the best Islamic state is Sweden”. He is talking about a state within the state.
The result is a sub-culture of outsiders who are permanent outsiders. It is here that the political and religious fanatics are harvesting followers. And it is here that Sweden is nurturing a generation of “New Swedes” who ought to be labelled “Old Swedes” – people either born in Sweden or living here for so long that they ought by now to be fully integrated with and aware of both the facilities available to them and the moral and legal obligations under which they live in their adopted country.
None of which is happening. That is why a popular TV debate programme bringing together Jews and Palestinian Arabs results in the Arabs refusing even to look at the Jews. That is why people demonstrating their support for the Palestinians march under the flags of Hamas and Hizbollah – both classified as terrorist organisations by Sweden and the rest of the EU, as well as the USA. That is why marches to support the Palestinians can bring together thousands of Swedish Muslims shouting “Khaiber, Khaiber ya yahud, ya’ish Muhammad saufa ya‘ud” (which translates as “Khaiber, Khaiber, Oh Jews, Mohammed’s army will return to finish you off“) – a blood-curdling racist battle-cry recalling the Muslim slaughter of Jews about 1300 years ago in the oasis of Khaiber in the Arabian peninsula. And it is why these racist marchers are led by leaders and other prominent figures in the Socialist (nee Communist) Party, the Labour Party and the Green Party.
With some notable exceptions, Swedish journalism is of the “tell me who to feel sorry for” variety – nothing sells like a good sob story and most mainstream Swedish journalists would not recognise terms like “fact-finding” and “background check” if they so jumped up and bit them in the nose. Swedish journalists – again with some notable exceptions such as Per Gudmundsson (http://gudmundson.blogspot.com/) and Dilsa Demirbag-Sten (email@example.com), among others, enjoy a quiet life. Nothing is simpler to handle than black-and-white concepts. Like an electric switch, either on or off. Nothing in between.
Sweden has quite rightly traditionally prided itself on its cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. And has made the cardinal mistake of assuming that it is sufficient to feel sorry for a bunch of people, bring them here, shower them with all the physical trappings of a safe life and a decent living standard, and then convince themselves that in order to make their new citizens feel at home in their new culture, they need to efface their own culture.
Immigration is all about integration. It is not about the physical relocation of the human body, but about the adjustment of the mind to a new cultural setting. It most emphatically does not mean discarding or in any way demeaning one’s original culture, but it does require a desire to live alongside the new culture, not supplanting but enriching it.
Which is where Sweden falls flat on its face. Leaving 400,000 immigrants from a very different culture and sometimes very difficult origins to fend for themselves is the first step toward failure.
Giving people the impression that nothing they do, however reprehensibly racist, anti-Semitic or anti-democratic, will ever result in a severe reprimand, is the second step. That is simply praying on the altar of Political Correctness.
And allowing extremist political parties who refuse to distance themselves from racist stances to work their poison into the very fabric of the immigrant society is the third and final step. It creates the only functioning interface between New and Old Swedes. Greens Party figurehead Per Gahrton said on national TV on March 12, 2009 that thousands of Arabs calling for the slaughter of Jews in Sweden was simply a matter of “a few enthusiastic people letting of steam”.
So is Sweden anti-Semitic? Definitely not. Are political correctness, lame-duck journalism and opportunistic political extremists creating a cesspool of anti-Semitism among a huge section of the population left to their own devices? Definitely.
Is anything being done to counteract this trend? Not a thing.
Are leaders of Left-wing political parties continuing to march under terrorist banners, wearing terrorist symbols and leading demonstrations where thousands chant their desire to slaughter Jews? Yes. Prominent Socialist Party figure Muhammad Omar openly supports his party leader (this article is in Swedish).
Lars Ohly, leader of the Socialist (nee Communist) Party wearing a scarf showing the obliteration of Israel and its replacement by an Islamist Palestinian state. Party leader Ohly has said that his favourite blogger is reviled anti-Semite Jinge whose work is considered so extremist that even many far-right-wingers will not associate with him.
So is Sweden anti-Semitic? Ask me the same question in a year’s time.
Articles in English on this subject:
WeeklyStandard, IM, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, TundraTabloids, TundraTabloids
Newspaper articles in Swedish:
SvD, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, DN, 2, Dag, 2, 3, Hd, Ab, 2, 3, 4, 5, Debatt, 2, Hd, B, 2, Smp, 2, 3, Kri, 2, 3, Y, Tra, ST, SVT
More in mixed Swedish and English:
Johan Ingerö om SvD-skribenten Paulina Neudings artikel ‘Welcome to Ramallmö‘ i Weekly Standard
Johan Ingerö om debatten inom vänstern
Jonathan Leman om gårdagens SVT Debatt
MXp om Hamasledarens son som tar avstånd från faderns terrorgrupp
More in Swedish:
Gudmundson, 2, Svansbo, Expressens sportblogg, MXp2, ‘Som jag ser det’ med bild på Ohly, IiS, Kamferdroppar om ett vänsterupprop mot antisemitism, 2, FiM, 2