Sweden / 01-04-2012
Silence in face of hate
Op-ed: Swedish blogger says European society becoming blind to Jew hate, must wake up
It gets dark very early here in Stockholm in the winter. Some young men are crossing the square where some Jews are dancing, speaking in Arabic amongst themselves, perhaps with a Libyan accent. They already know what they plan to do.
I can hear them mentioning Israel. They are looking for trouble. Suddenly one of them approaches a stand with a couple of Israeli flags on it. One grabs a flag forcefully and the other Arab men are following him, running. People pretend like nothing really happened - but it did happen.
The Arabs are trying to put fire to the Israeli flag, their prey. They are suddenly approached by a Swedish guy who asks them what they are doing. They answer that Israel killed a brother and ask the Swede if he has a problem with their actions. He says: "No, I am neutral."
With a burning Israeli flag they rush down the stairs to the square, screaming "Fuck Israel!” This can be seen in a recent clip on YouTube from Stockholm, Sweden, my country. I am disgusted. I found the clip by chance a few days after the horrible, racist murder of Jewish children and a father outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
To me, there is no doubt that burning an Israeli flag under any circumstances, killing Jews and Israeli citizens are all signs of racism and of a society in decline.
But I hope Sweden and Europe will wake up soon. I hope, but I'm skeptical.
All over Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise. In Eastern Europe we have the right-wing extremists representing the face of Jew hate, but in the West it is a different, new racism we cannot talk about openly. At least not in Sweden. If you do, you lose your face or your friends.
'Jews deserve it'
It already happened when a Swedish politician tried to characterize the threat to Jews in the city of Malmo. Speaking on television, he nervously uttered the words ”extremist Muslims” to define the perpetrators. And so, one who defends Jews and Israel has been labeled as a racist and hater, when in fact it is completely the other way around.
I faced cold hate myself when I brought up the situation in Malmo during a discussion with a former Arab friend and human rights activist. Jews ”deserve it,” he proclaimed. I was shocked but not surprised, and with those words our friendship ended forever.
I don’t claim all immigrants from the Middle East are racists, far from it, but too many bring their irrational hate towards Jews and Israel into our democracy. This hate is also imported by religious and political satellite TV channels from the Arab world. Aid to Mideastern countries allowing this to be produced must end.
Moreover, disinformation from aid associations and Swedish "human rights groups" like Palestinagrupperna feed hate towards Israel and Jews here. Swedish aid organization SIDA has to stop giving pro-Palestinian groups like Palestinagrupperna financial support for projects as long as they keep spreading disinformation about Israel.
I believe anti-Israeli propaganda is at the root that gave rise to the murderer in Toulouse. It makes our politicians change their behavior towards Jews. Step by step it makes the society blinder to hate when we see an Israeli flag burned in the streets, when we hear the words "death to the Jews" or "Jews are infidels" in Arabic, and when racist war chants are chanted in our squares while politicians are present and silent.
The Swedish media is now depicting Toulouse Killer Mohamed Merah as "a very special person" who is a victim of the burqa ban and an Islamophobic society. This is madness! We need to face the truth about the perpetrators in order to prevent the horrible crimes in Toulouse from happening again, rather than seeking excuses for the crimes!
We Swedes, and Europeans in general, need to wake up and stand up to the anti-Jewish violence and the irrational hate, and we need brave politicians, journalists and editors who really understand the Middle East - because by now, the Mideast is burning in Europe.
Tobias Petersson is a student at the Institution for Oriental Languages, Stockholm University. He runs a pro-Israel blog called Kol Kach Israel