Swedish minister joins Malmö march against prejudice

By Nathalie Rothschild, August 23, 2012

Around 400 people participated in a “kippah march” in Malmö, Sweden, on Saturday to protest against antisemitism.

Sweden’s minister for European affairs, Birgitta Ohlsson, was among the participants. She said that the march represented a “refusal to be indifferent to antisemitism, prejudices and intolerance”.

Malmö has seen a surge in hate crimes against its 600-strong Jewish community, leading many of the city’s Jews to leave for Stockholm, Israel and the US. The local Chabad rabbi claims to have personally experienced around 90 antisemitic incidents since moving to Malmö seven years ago.

In an effort to stand up against antisemitism, a small number of Malmö Jews began to go on group walks around the city, openly wearing kippot and Stars of David.

Saturday’s walk was the biggest and most high-profile one so far. It went from Malmö’s synagogue to Möllevångstorget, a central square where a 2009 Israel solidarity demonstration ended in violence as participants were pelted with eggs, bottles and fire crackers.

Sofia Nerbrand, the president of a liberal think tank, organised Saturday’s march. “I want, as a fellow human being, to show solidarity with Malmö’s Jews, who live in fear,” she said.

The Jews’ situation in Malmö has received international attention, with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre advising against visiting the city and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe expressing concern. Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu has suggested that Malmö’s Jews could avoid antisemitism by condemning Israeli policy.

Last updated: 1:26pm, August 23 2012