LONDON (Apr. 9)
A former deputy prime minister of Sweden active in fighting anti-Semitism offered a pessimistic forecast for the 1990s here this week at a public meeting of the European Jewish Congress Commission on Terrorism and Anti-Semitism.
He predicted anti-Semitism would grow.
Per Ahlmark, a leader of Sweden’s Liberal Party, is one of the non-Jewish members of the Swedish Committee on Anti-Semitism founded eight years ago. The committee was instrumental recently in silencing a viciously anti-Semitic radio station serving the Islamic community in Stockholm.
Ahlmark said that 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon, was a pivotal year marking the serious revival of anti-Semitism.
Since then, Moslem immigrants have absorbed European anti-Semitism, which they have added to their own, while non-Moslem revisionists in Britain, France, Canada, Australia and the United States denied the occurrence of the Holocaust to a new generation with no memories of World War II.
“I am very pessimistic about this,” Ahlmark said. “In Sweden, letters are now being published in the press which up to a few years ago would have been thrown straight into the (trash) bin,” he said.
His committee, composed half of Jews and half non-Jews, monitors anti-Semitic articles and innuendoes in the media and tries to educate the public on the dangers of Holocaust revisionism.
In 1989, it helped persuade the chancellor of justice, Sweden’s state prosecutor, to try the owner of a local radio station for racial incitement.
The station, Radio Islam, broadcast to the 100,000-member Moslem community. It was run by a Moroccan immigrant, Ahmed Rami, who became a Swedish citizen.
PUBLIC INDIFFERENCE ‘SHOCKING’
Rami, convicted on 17 counts, was sentenced to six months in prison. His final appeal was thrown out by the Swedish Supreme Court last December.
“What was shocking,” said Ahlmark in recalling the case, “was not just the rabid anti-Semitism of calling the Holocaust a Zionist hoax and blaming the problems of the Middle East on the presence of Jews, and claiming that Judaism called for murder and sexual perversion.
“It was the indifference of the Swedish press and politicians,” he said.
When Swedish Moslems were asked to dissociate themselves from Radio Islam, they refused, Ahlmark added.
He stressed the need to detach criticism of Israeli government policies from Israel’s and Jews’ right to exist. Even low levels of anti-Semitism must not be tolerated, Ahlmark insisted.
His remarks were seconded by Hayim Pinner, secretary-general of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who cited examples of anti-Semitic cartoons in the British press.
A delegate from Holland said anti-Semitic groups are quick to sense any policy disagreement among Jewish leaders, and it is important therefore to present a united front.