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Populist Right-Wing Lawmaker Claims Jews Are Not Swedes

(JTA) — A lawmaker for a populist right-wing party in Sweden has been accused of racism after writing on Facebook that Jews and members of the Sami minority are not Swedes.

Bjorn Soder, who represents the Sweden Democrats party at the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament, maintains that in his post Sunday he never questioned minorities’ rights as Swedish citizens but merely stood up for their rights to preserve their distinct ethnic identities.

Soder on Facebook criticized Annie Loof, a Cabinet minister for the liberal Centre Party, who wrote on Twitter that her “Jewish friends are simply my Swedish friends: As a citizen of Sweden, you are Swedish, even whether you belong to one of our national minorities or not.”

Soder responded that Loof was “undermining” the status of those five minorities by downplaying their distinctive identities, as he described it.

“These groups have minority positions in Sweden precisely because they are not Swedes. Shame on you, Annie Loof, for your racist attitude,” he wrote.

Soder made similar statements in a 2014 interview with Dagens Nyheter. Lena Posner Korosi, who was then the president of the Jewish Council in Sweden, said that Soder’s reasoning was “reminiscent of 1930s Germany.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

This story "Populist Right-Wing Lawmaker Claims Jews Are Not Swedes" was written by JTA.

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