Sweden has failed its Jews, ambassador says


(JTA) — Swedish authorities have failed to protect the country’s Jewish community, the Scandinavian country’s ambassador to Israel said following anti-Semitic incidents in Malmo and Gothenburg.

Magnus Hellgren made his remarks in an interview with the Israeli daily Makor Rishon following the attempted torching of the Gothenburg synagogue and cries about killing Jews in Malmo. Both events happened amid protests over President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Commenting on the fear of some Swedish Jews to be seen wearing a kippah on the street due to security concerns, Hellgren told Makor Rishon, “This is the reality of the Jewish community and it’s a failure, it’s not something that should be allowed to happen.” He added: “If a single Jew feels this way, we have failed.”

Police officers who heard the cries to shoot Jews during the Malmo rally would have intervened, but the cries were in Arabic and the “officers simply didn’t understand,” Hellgren said.

He also said the Swedish state has not given local Jewish communities the resources they asked for to provide security, but added the problem is being addressed.

Critics of Sweden’s policy toward Israel have charged that it was legitimizing attacks on Jews, including in Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s claim in 2015 that Israel’s actions are behind terrorist attacks by jihadists in France.

“To counteract the radicalization, we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence,” Wallstrom said in a television interview about Islamists’ murder of more than 100 people at a Paris nightclub. Sweden is the only European country that recognizes what it calls the State of Palestine.

Hellgren said Sweden does not have an anti-Israel foreign policy.

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