Jewish Woman's Asylum Request Brings Attention to Anti-Semitism in Sweden

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein Makes Point With 'Absurd' Plea

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein (in white coat) at a pro-Israel demonstration on Nov. 22, 2012 in Stockholm.
JTA
Annika Hernroth-Rothstein (in white coat) at a pro-Israel demonstration on Nov. 22, 2012 in Stockholm.

By JTA

Published November 21, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

There are indications that many Swedish Jews already feel afraid.

A recent survey of Jews in nine European countries found that Swedish Jews were the most likely to avoid publicly identifying themselves as Jewish for fear of anti-Semitism. In the survey, published this month by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency, 34 percent of Swedish Jews reported practicing such avoidance. They were followed by France at 29 percent; Belgium, 25 percent; Hungary, 20 percent; and Germany, 14 percent.

Hernroth-Rothstein is intimately familiar with such fears. In Stockholm, she has led “kippah walks” – marches by Jews and non-Jews who don yarmulkes as a protest against anti-Semitism and a sign of solidarity with the country’s Jewish community.

The problem is especially acute for the approximately 1,000 Jews who live in Malmo, a southern Swedish city where about a third of its approximately 300,000 residents are either immigrants from Muslim countries or their children. Malmo last year saw 60 anti-Semitic attacks, which accounted for 40 percent of the anti-Semitic hate crimes documented in Sweden, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.

Yet, seen in context, there are worse places to be a Jew in Europe, said Lars M. Andersson, an Upsala University historian who has researched Swedish anti-Semitism and the country’s refugee policy.

“There is definitely a problem with anti-Semitism in Sweden which needs to be addressed,” he said. “However, that problem should not be exaggerated. It is far less acute than in Hungary, for example, where a member of the Jobbik party spoke in parliament in favor of registering all Jews.”

Still, Andersson is supportive of Hernroth-Rothstein’s asylum request.

“I see no problem with the asylum move, which is obviously designed to attract the sort of media attention which will help treat the issue,” he said.

As for Hernroth-Rothstein, she says that if the migration board fails to address her request, then she will file a new one – next time outside the European Union.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.