Leading Swedish politicians joined Stockholm’s Jewish community in a “kippah march” against antisemitism on Sunday. Over 1,000 people took part in the event, initiated by Sweden’s Jewish Youth Association.
Members of the government and the opposition joined the march, which took place just two weeks before Sweden’s general election and ended with speeches at Raoul Wallenberg square. The day before, large crowds had gathered nearby to protest a small neo-Nazi demonstration.
“It’s important to show solidarity with the Jewish population,” said Jan Björklund, leader of the Liberal Party. “Jews feel under pressure because they are being held responsible for events in the Middle East and because Nazi and xenophobic movements are advancing in Sweden and Europe.”
Mona Sahlin, a former leader of the Social Democrat Party and current national coordinator against violent extremism, called Sunday’s event a “democratic march”. She said: “I have Jewish friends who are scared openly to wear the Star of David.”
Current Social Democrat leader, Stefan Löfven, said attacks against Jews are “unacceptable” and that politicians have a responsibility to inform the public, especially youths, about antisemitism. “There is no ‘us and them’ here in Sweden, there’s just ‘us’,” said Mr Löfven.
The first kippah march was held in Malmö in 2012, when two Jewish men decided not to remove their kippot after a Shabbat synagogue service. Since then, several marches have been arranged in Malmö, a city marred by antisemitism.