By Bruce Bawer
One of the more obscene mantras of our time is that in Europe nowadays the Muslims are today’s Jews. No: the Jews are today’s Jews. The other day, in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, journalist Andreas Lovén reminded us of the kinds of disgraceful occurrences that are now familiar in Europe, and that are probably more common in Sweden than elsewhere.
On October 8 and 9, for example, a Jewish meeting hall in the town of Höllviken was bombed with eggs by a gang of “youths” who, within the hearing of Jewish children between 7 and 12 years ago, yelled out epithets about “Jew bastards.” Lovén noted that while Swedish police have collected a towering stack of complaints about such incidents, the Swedish media have – with rare exceptions – refrained from reporting on them.
Lovén, a writer for Skånska Dagbladet, writes that when he was transferred to his paper’s headquarters in Malmö a year ago, he decided to look into anti-Semitism in that city. It was not a popular decision, but he had heard so many stories, and seen so little reportage, that he felt compelled to take on the topic. He was distressed by the almost universal media indifference to such incidents as the harassment of a rabbi in public and an attack by soccer spectators on athletes wearing Stars of David.
Even when statistics were released to the public confirming that the level of anti-Semitic hate crimes had risen sharply, they were greeted with what Lovén describes as an almost total “media silence.”
Last January Skånska Dagbladet ran a series of articles by Lovén about these matters. The series, he writes, appeared to put anti-Jewish hate crimes on the public agenda – for example, a council was set up in Malmö whose purpose was supposedly to resolve interreligious tensions.
Yet of course the problem Malmö faces – the problem Europe faces – is not interreligious tensions. Jews aren’t harassing Muslims. Jewish kids aren’t beating up Muslim kids. This is a one-way street. The problem isn’t “tensions,” but the systematic, out-and-out terrorizing of a relatively small, innocent, and powerless group of people by members of another, fast-growing, and increasingly powerful group who despise them and would like to see them eradicated.
No surprise, then, that the cosmetic measures taken by authorities in Malmö accomplished nothing. Swedish officialdom’s multicultural mentality – which lies at the root of this whole mess – endured. Ditto Muslim Jew-hate. And ditto the massive indifference of the Swedish media to the entire issue of anti-Semitism. Many of Lovén’s journalistic colleagues, he confides, actually questioned the veracity of his articles and accused him of fanning the flames of xenophobia.
And (needless to say) the Swedish left came down on him like a ton of bricks. Left-wing friends turned their backs on him. A leading Social Democrat sent him an e-mail accusing Jews in Malmö of being oversensitive and suggested they move to Israel, where they could “live in a fortress on occupied territory.”
Lovén had known he was stepping onto a mine field, but he hadn’t realized just how bad it would be.
As Lovén observes, the widespread indifference in Sweden to Muslim anti-Semitism is tied up with a blind, fanatical loyalty to the “Palestinian cause.” In Sweden, as elsewhere in Europe, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is invariably portrayed in what Lovén rightly calls “black and white” terms: Israel is the villain, Palestinians the victims. Period. The Swedish Left despises Israel and its policies, and Swedish Jews are punished for it.
Lovén himself refrains from commenting on Israel’s policies. He simply states that “conflicts in other parts of the world must never be allowed” to turn Swede against Swede. Yet it is naïve, I would suggest, to think that anti-Semitism in Sweden – whether on the part of Muslims or native leftists – would suddenly disappear if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were resolved tomorrow. The plain fact is that for both Swedish Muslims and the Swedish left, the “Palestinian cause” is a mere pretext. Anti-Semitism is a deep-seated facet of Islam, and it is also a centuries-old European malady that, quiescent in the decades after World War II, is once again on the rise.
Kudos to Lovén for daring to tackle Muslim anti-Semitism in the Swedish press. But how sad is it that it takes such courage, in a supposedly free country, to report these terrible and important facts – and that doing so can result not in meaningful reform but in a torrent of personal calumny?
(Author’s note: This version of the article rectifies errors in the originally posted version, which stated incorrectly that Lovén is Jewish and that he writes for Svenska Dagbladet; in fact, as indicated here, his newspaper is Skånska Dagbladet. The original version also misidentified the target of those egg-throwing youths and inadvertently misrepresented Lovén’s characterization of the Islamic Center in Malmö. I apologize to Lovén and to the readers of rights.no for these errors.)