Activists burn Israeli flag outside Swedish synagogue to chants of 'Bomb Israel'

Jewish groups in the country have condemned the 'blatantly antisemitic' behaviour


Jewish communities in Sweden have said they are "deeply appalled" after pro-Palestine demonstrators burnt an Israeli flag in front of a synagogue.

Activists burnt the flag during a demonstration in Malmo, southern Sweden, on Saturday.

In a video clip of the rally posted to X/Twitter, demonstrators can be seen waving Palestinian flags to chants of “Free Palestine, bomb Israel”.

Aaron Verständig, chairman of the Jewish Central Council of Sweden, who captured the flag burning on camera, said: “Such acts of hatred towards the Jewish community in Malmo by extremists are utterly reprehensible.”

The European Jewish Congress added: “We are deeply appalled by the recent pro-Palestinian protest, which involved the burning of an Israeli flag in front of a synagogue... Intimidating the Jewish community and blaming them for the events in the Middle East is blatant antisemitism.”

Fredrik Sieradzki, a spokesman for the Jewish Community of Malmo, criticised Swedish police for not preventing the actions of the demonstrators, branding their apparent failure to intervene “reprehensible".

The Swedish Police Authority has not responded to a request for comment.

Malmo’s Jewish population has decreased from around 800 in 1997 to less than 400 in 2019. The southern Swedish city also has a large Muslim population.

Earlier this year, Swedish authorities were criticised after police granted permission for Jewish holy books to be burned outside the Israeli embassy in Stockholm.

At the time, Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen warned his Swedish counterpart Tobias Billström that any planned burning of Torah books would harm relations between the two countries. 

He urged an end to the threats to damage holy books, adding: “I talked with my friend the Swedish foreign minister and made it clear to him that we expect the Swedish government to prevent events like this, which are liable to harm relations between our countries.”

Justice minister Gunnar Strommer said the Swedish government was examining legal and legislative possibilities to ban the desecration of holy books following the incidents.

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