Leaders and prominent members of the Jewish community in Sweden have renewed calls to ban the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, following the latest of several demonstrations by the party in recent months.
Approximately 300 far-right activists participated in a demonstration held by the NRM on Saturday morning, designed to attract attention to the party in the lead-up to Sweden’s general election scheduled for September 9.
Saturday’s rally follows a demonstration it staged in July during an annual political conference, and a rally held in September last year in Gothenberg.
Despite advocating policies restricting citizenship to “Nordic” people, “repatriating” immigrants who are not of Nordic ancestry, and working “to regain power from the global Zionist elite,” the NRM has not been banned.
Jewish Community in Stockholm President Aron Verstandig said neo-Nazi activity in Sweden has been on the rise “for some time,” and described NRM as “an openly violent” party which should be outlawed.
“I see it as extremely troubling that we have a rising neo-Nazi movement in Sweden, and the politicians should do whatever they can to ban these organizations,” said Verstandig.
“The government hasn’t done enough to limit this group and legislation needs to be passed” to proscribe the party, he said.
Verstandig said the Jewish community had felt “very intimidated” by Saturday’s march, even though the demonstration was not directed specifically against Jews.
“This community is largely made up of Holocaust survivors and their descendants, so to see people openly saying they are Nazis in public is very scary,” he said.
The NRM describes itself as a “National Socialistic organization,” which seeks to establish a National Socialist society and has a specific policy agenda item of retaking power from the “global Zionist elite who have economically and militarily occupied the greater part of our world.”
Their policy platform says “global Zionists” not only “promote” the State of Israel, but also “work [for the] long-term for instability in all nations that could be a threat to their power structure.”
Despite the demonstration and rising visibility of the NRM, Verstandig said in general there is a “good environment” for the Jewish community in Stockholm, and that it does not feel any sense of discrimination, noting that Jewish summer camps and educational institutions are fully attended.
He said the community nevertheless feels threatened by the neo-Nazis, as well as by Islamist extremists who have been blamed for the majority of antisemitic incidents in the country in recent years.
Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, a journalist and political consultant, described the NRM demonstration as “incredibly uncomfortable” for the Jewish community, particularly because counter-protestors included elements from the far-left who have also been involved in antisemitic incidents and sentiment in Sweden.
She said NRM’s efforts to label certain people, including herself and other prominent public figures as “betrayers” of Sweden and Nordic people, represented a significant danger to her and others they have singled out.
Hernroth-Rothstein said, however, the NRM was not a significant threat to the Jewish community or society at large since it has very limited public support, and said that Islamists in Sweden represented a much bigger problem.
She said Jews are unable to freely identify as Jewish in public due to safety concerns, are banned from conducting religious slaughter for kosher meat, and cannot establish Jewish schools due to prohibitions on religious schools.
She also noted legislative efforts to ban the import of kosher meat, which is still currently available, and to ban circumcision are further evidence the Jewish community feels under siege.
“Antisemitism is the herpes of Europe, it goes away for a while and then flares back up,” she declared.
“Diaspora Jews are a tribute to society, and we are the canary in the coal-mine for all civilization, and by that measure this country and this continent are going down the drain.
“The Jewish community cares about the country and loves it, and it’s really upsetting that this love is not reciprocated,” said Hernroth-Rothstein.
“No one would care if the Jews would leave,” she said. “We’ve told them what is needed, like allowing kosher meat, allowing people who make themselves identifiably Jewish the ability to move freely, allowing religious schools, but no one does anything.”