Sweden

Now the Malmö mayor opposes Jewish studies

By Nathalie Rothschild, May 5, 2011

Swedish school pupils will have the opportunity to take Jewish studies as an optional subject starting from this autumn.

After a lengthy consultation period, the Swedish government has commissioned the National Agency for Education to formulate a study plan for the new course, which will be available to pupils in years seven to nine (ages 13 to 15).

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European Jewish communities on 'brink of extinction'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

The president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) has warned of “a very dark period for the Jews in Europe.”

Moshe Kantor said: “Small Jewish communities are facing a situation where they are being physically, verbally and psychologically threatened by fundamentalist elements and their extreme left-wing cohorts on one side and the far-right neo-Nazis on the other.”

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Swedish comedians stand up for Judaism

By Nathalie Rothschild, September 28, 2010

While stand-up comedy has been common in Sweden since the late 1980s, Swedish-Jewish stand-up is a new phenomenon. Spearheaded by performers Aron Flam and Jonatan Unge, comedy by and about Jews is becoming an unexpected, and big, hit.

Mr Flam (pictured) and Mr Unge, both in their early 30s, met at a Jewish summer camp in the Stockholm archipelago and later co-authored a sardonic book of quotes and facts about death. Since their stand-up debuts in 2007, both have become regular guests in Swedish TV studios, asked to comment on everything from Jewish identity to Swedish politics.

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Swedish synagogue attacked

By Jennifer Lipman, July 26, 2010

Members of the Swedish Jewish community have expressed sadness after an attack on a synagogue in the city of Malmö.

Security has been stepped up after a bomb threat was left at the synagogue and the following day a firecracker exploded outside, shattering three windows.

It was reportedly the second threat to the synagogue in as many weeks.

In March 2009 there were violent anti-Israel demonstrations in Malmö when an Israeli tennis team arrived to play Sweden in the Davis Cup.

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New British envoy to Israel challenged

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 22, 2010

The man soon to be Britain's first Jewish ambassador to Israel was given a warm reception on Wednesday when he met the Manchester community.

Matthew Gould spoke at King David High School as part of a UK tour before leaving for Tel Aviv in eight weeks' time.

But it was not an easy ride for the Foreign Office high-flyer.

Almost as soon as he finished his hour-long address, he was challenged for not having spoken about the EU's attitude to Israel.

Another member of the audience questioned the viability of a two-state solution for Israel, a firm British government position.

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Auschwitz sign thief hunted in Sweden

By Jessica Elgot, February 2, 2010

Poland has issued a European arrest warrant for a Swedish man whom it says is behind the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei” sign at Auschwitz in December.

A court in Krakow issued the warrant for Swede Anders Hoegstroem, who, it is claimed, was the mastermind of the theft of the sign, which infamously read “Work Sets You Free” above the Nazi death camp.

Five Polish men aged in their 20s and 30s have been arrested by police who recovered the 16-foot wrought-iron sign cut into three pieces.

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EU: Jerusalem must be capital of Israel and Palestine

By Jessica Elgot, December 9, 2009

The Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has defended the EU’s statement on Jerusalem, which called for it to become the capital of two states.

Mr Bildt’s original proposal, which has firm support from Britain, recommended re-dividing the city, so that east Jerusalem could be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

A watered-down version of the Swedish proposal was approved by the EU, removing the recognition of east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, and referring to the Palestinian Authority, instead of “Palestine”.

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EU: A Palestinian state is ‘premature’

By Jessica Elgot, November 17, 2009

The European Union has said that Palestine is not ready to be recognised as a full state by the UN.

The current holder of the EU presidency, Carl Bildt of Sweden, said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels that conditions were not yet right for Palestinian statehood.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said they had decided to seek recognition of the Palestinian state from the UN because of the failure of recent peace talks.

The proposal is an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and with June 1967 borders.

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Oy! You’re killing me. Laugh? I hardly started

August 27, 2009

Have you heard the one about the Jewish woman suing her daughter-in-law for telling too many mother-in-law jokes?

Comic Sunda Croonquist, who is a regular on the Hollywood comedy circuit, is being taken to court by her husband’s mother, Ruth Zafrin, for allegedly spreading false, defamatory and racist lies about her. Mrs Zafrin seeks damages and requests that Ms Croonquist remove any offensive statements from her website and routines.

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"Blood libel": IDF organ trafficking claim

By Jessica Elgot, August 19, 2009

A Swedish newspaper has claimed that IDF soldiers murdered Palestinian youths to sell their organs, prompting a shocked Israeli government to call the suggestion a “blood libel.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry called the article in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet “a shocking example of Israel’s demonisation.”

The paper, which is Sweden's biggest-selling daily, ran the headline "They plunder the organs of our sons" and a double-page spread devoted to the article.

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