Esor Ben-Sorek

British Labour and the Swedish Right-Wing

Anti-Semitism is alive and growing across the European continent. It is more visible in Great Britain and in Sweden than in other countries.

The British Labour Party, headed by Jeremy Corbyn, is infested with anti-Semites. While there are no reports of physical attacks on Jews or on Jewish properties, the vocal attacks cause much concern to Britain’s Jews.

Corbyn has been anti-Israel for decades and is a devoted friend and supporter of the Palestinians. The former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, only recently declared that “Corbyn is a very dangerous anti-Semite” and wondered if there is a future for Jewish children in Britain.

Today, the Labour Party voted to accept the international definition of anti-Semitism according to the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) but they included a caveat which states that criticism of Zionism and condemnation of Israeli “oppression” of Palestinians falls under the category of Freedom of Speech and is not considered anti-Semitism.

Britain’s Jewish Board of Deputies has denounced the caveat and has demanded that it be removed from the affiliation of Europe’s IHRA.

English Jews are pondering whether to remain in the land of their birth or to consider aliyah to Israel. It is not at present a danger or threat to the Jewish communities but at the same time it would be more prudent to leave a growing-sick community, one of whose members is quoted as reviving the ancient blood libel, asking if Jews still use the blood of Christian children to bake their Passover matzah. He later apologized for it.

Up North, 20,000 Jews live in the Swedish kingdom. Of that number, it is estimated that only 7,000 Swedish Jews are affiliated with a synagogue . Sweden is the 7th largest Jewish community in the European Union.

In past years, Sweden has been very helpful to Jews seeking asylum from persecution. The Swedish Red Cross, founded in 1865, was intended to provide humanitarian aid to all in need. And Sweden has been faithful to that commitment.

In 1942, Sweden gave 900 Norwegian Jews asylum from Nazi persecution. In October 1943 the almost impossible happened. 8,000 Danish Jews, almost the entire Jewish population in Denmark, were transported in fishing boats in the face of the Nazis to safety in Sweden which granted all of them asylum.

In 1967-1968 during the anti-Semitic oppression of the remnant of Jews in Poland, hundreds of Jews fled to Sweden which accepted all of them.

Every Jew remembers the name of the famous Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg, who issued thousands of “protective passports” to thousands of Jews whose lives were saved. He was arrested by Soviet soldiers, shipped off to Moscow, and never heard from again. May his memory be blessed !

Another famous Swede of the royal family, the Count of Wisborg, Folke Bernadotte, negotiated during World War II with the Germans and he was successful in obtaining the release of 450 Danish Jews from the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

In 1948 he was sent by the United Nations to be a mediator in the Jewish-Arab conflict in Palestine. Unhappily, he was assassinated by the Lehi, an underground military organization, on September 17, 1948 in Jerusalem.

Today, Swedish right-wingers have embraced anti-Semitism across the country. While there have been no physical attacks upon Jews, many synagogues have been painted with Nazi swastikas and many Swedish politicians have expressed pro-Palestinian sentiments and support.

A Swedish government study in 2006 discovered that 15% of Swedes agreed with the statement that “the Jews have too much influence in the world today”.

Much of the anti-Jewish activities and assaults have been attributed to the large Muslim influx into Sweden.

But Swedish Jews should see the hand-writing on the wall and should consider immigration to Israel while it is possible.

We know, tragically, from our history what happens to us when we delay too long.

Britain and Sweden are both kingdoms. Britain is ruled by a queen and Sweden by a king.

Jews also had a kingdom thousands of years ago. The Royal House of King David is now calling upon Jews to return.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.