Rising Antisemitism in Sweden: Alarming Security Measures for Israeli Singer at Eurovision

Farrukh Saif

May 10, 2024

Eden Golan-police

The extensive security operation to escort Israeli singer Eden Golan to the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final in Malmo highlights the alarming rise of antisemitism in Sweden. Over 100 Swedish police officers formed a massive convoy, with a helicopter providing aerial surveillance, to transport Golan safely to the arena.

Such extreme measures were deemed necessary due to Malmo’s notorious reputation for high levels of anti-Jewish sentiment and the protests planned against Israel’s participation. Alarmingly, when hundreds of violent Pro Hamas and Pro Palestinian protesters attacked police vehicles in an attempt to target Golan directly. Around 10,000-12,000 protesters, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, rallied against Israel, with some calling for its disqualification from Eurovision.

Antisemitism Crisis In Sweden:

This incident is a reflection of the worsening antisemitism crisis in Sweden. A recent report revealed a fivefold increase in antisemitic hate crimes in the country following the 2023-2024 Israel-Hamas war, with 110 complaints registered between October 2023 and December 2023, compared to just 24 during the same period in 2022. Around 20% of these incidents directly referenced the conflict or violence in Gaza, including antisemitic placards at protests and threats against individuals based on their Jewish background.

Sweden’s Jewish community of around 20,000 has long grappled with antisemitism, which manifests through far-right neo-Nazi groups, Islamist extremists, and even mainstream political discourse. A 2019 EU survey found that 77% of Swedish Jews regularly encounter negative statements about Jews online, with the most common trope being the accusation that “Israelis behave like Nazis towards Palestinians.” Alarmingly, over a third of respondents had considered emigrating due to safety concerns.

Crack Down Against Hate Crimes:

Experts attribute the rise of antisemitism in Sweden to a combination of factors, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, and the normalization of anti-Jewish rhetoric in certain political and media circles. Addressing this deeply rooted issue will require a multi-pronged approach, from cracking down on hate crimes to promoting education and integration efforts within immigrant communities.

As the Eurovision incident demonstrates, the consequences of unchecked antisemitism extend far beyond the Jewish community, posing a threat to Sweden’s democratic values and social cohesion. Urgent action is needed to combat this pernicious form of hatred and ensure the safety and dignity of all Swedish citizens, regardless of their faith or ethnicity.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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