A great letter from the Swedish Jewish community

"Xenophobia affects us all"

We, in the Jewish communities in Sweden look with dismay at how the Muslim and Roma minorities are being treated in Europe. Our parents or grandparents who were put into ghettos by the Nazis are still living in Europe when you build physical walls around areas where Roma live in poverty. The experience of persecution we have inherited is a constant reminder to us to consider others, whenever we see how a group are being discriminated against. All human beings are equal and all people have the right to be treated as individuals, regardless of whether they are Muslims, Jews, Gypsies, Roma, Travellers, homosexuals, or whatever their religion, sexual orientation or origin may have been. It's easy to say this and say again, however, it is much harder to raise their voice when you see the "iron fist" raised against groups other than those to which the majority themselves belong. Maybe it is, consciously or unconsciously, easier to think that it's nice that it is not me they're after. But this way of thinking can lull us into a false and short-term sense of security. Muslims in Europe are portrayed as a threat to all civilization. Switzerland legislates against minarets and wherever a mosque is to be built there are the strongest protests. Even in Sweden, we have discussions about immigration in an unpleasant way that has come to be associated with the Muslim minority. If the phrase "never again" that has been constantly repeated is sincere, we must now see racism for what it is and stand up against it. A lot of books and educational material has been produced in Sweden for us to learn from the oppression and murder of the Jewish people. But how do we as a Jewish minority learn to feel safe when we seethat the increasing discrimination against Muslims in Sweden and Europe, and the persecution of the Roma has resulted in, at best, little protest? Repression affects us all, always, regardless of whoever is the victim of it. Because, if we do not protest when groups other than we ourselves are being persecuted, the perpetrators may conclude that, in the famous poem by Pastor Martin Niemцller, "When the time came for me, there was no one left to protest..."


LENA-POSNER KЦRЦSI, ordfцrande Judiska Centralrеdet

ALF LEVY, ordfцrande Judiska Fцrsamlingen i Stockholm

GEORG BRAUN, ordfцrande Judiska Fцrsamlingen i Gцteborg

FRED KAHN, ordfцrand Judiska Fцrsamlingen i Malmц

Leaders of the Jewish Councils in Sweden.

 From Svenska Dagblat, "Frдmlingsfientlighet berцr oss alla" 23 September 2010