Sweden might be a secular country, but most Swedes still have one faith: the orthodox religion of political correctness. This religion has worked its way into every nook and cranny of the Swedish society, including the Jewish Community. There’s a fear of speaking up, to have an opinion that’s not mainstream – officially we all have to be holier-than-thou and better than the rest of the world no matter what the cost. There’s absolutely no room for open, straight-forward discussions or for sticking your head out and telling it the way it is – if you do, you are immediately shunned by the establishment.
There’s no secret that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Sweden. But there’s an unwritten rule, a ban, on talking about where most of this new anti-Semitism is coming from. Yes, Neo-Nazis are part of the problem, but it’s not a coincidence that the city of Malmö has the largest Muslim population in the country, and is also the worst place for a Jew to live. The Rabbi of Malmö talks about it here and here.
Try bringing this issue up and you are immediately branded an evil racist. You see, in Sweden, it’s only politically correct to condemn Nazis or right-wing parties like Sverigedemokraterna (now Sweden’s third largest party), no one else. This denial, this stubborn refusal to discuss what’s happening, is political correctness at its worst – nothing good will come out of it – only more anti-Semitism going unnoticed.
Even organisations like SKMA, who officially are supposed to fight anti-Semitism, are caught up in this orthodox religion. They refuse to write anything about Israel (“we don’t get involved in affairs of the Middle East”) and how anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is basically the same, and by doing this they are stabbing the people they are supposed to protect in the back. Unfortunately we see the same disgraceful and counter-productive behaviour by some well-known Jewish leaders and personalities, who refuse to tell it the way it is. No names mentioned, you know who you are.
Two years ago I went to Malmö to participate in something called a Kippah Walk. The idea, to walk peacefully through the city for Jews right to wear religious symbols without fear, really appealed to me. Imagine my surprise when arriving in Malmö, the first person I see is Ilmar Reepalu. This horrible man, now the former mayor of Malmö, is well known for his anti-semitic opinions. I was shocked to see him there, and even more shocked that the organisers of the event, did not seem bothered by his presence, but allowed him to participate and smile to the cameras.
The walk ended with a few, politically correct of course, speeches at Möllevångstorget in central Malmö, including one by a well-known anti-Zionist called Hanin Shakrah. She managed to speak for 15 minutes without mentioning the word anti-Semitism once.
Not only that, the so-called Kippah Walk turned out to be an event against racism in general, and representatives from all minorities in Sweden were there. Very Swedish – everyone is included, no one is left out. Of course, all racism should be fought, but why call it a Kippah Walk? Why aren’t Jews allowed to talk about anti-Semitism without having to include everyone else on the planet? Can you imagine any other group being asked to do this? Would African-Americans be asked the same thing when organizing a Black Pride event? Think about it, it’s crazy! Not even the anniversary of the Kristallnacht is ours anymore. The day has been kidnapped by other groups who don’t care whether Jews participate or not. In fact, a Jew showing up with an Israeli flag got more attention and critique from these so-called anti-racists than the Neo-Nazis organising a rally at the same time.
Another Kippah Walk was organised in Stockholm this fall and the organiser of the event, a Swedish Jew, specifically asked everyone not to bring any Israeli flags. Apparently, Jews and Israel are not connected, and the fact that anti-Semitic attacks spike when there’s a conflict, is not important. I confronted her about the absurdity of this, Jews and Israel ARE very much connected, and she said: “Politicians will not come, people will not come, unless we do this as a manifestation for Jews without mentioning Israel. So either we do it this way, or not at all.” The result: one Kippah Walk and one pro-Israeli rally (by different organisers) later that day. The Kippah Walk was attended by several Swedish politicians and therefor successful in the eyes of the organiser. Needless to say, none of these We-Support-The-Jews-But-Not-Israel-Hypocrites showed up at the rally afterwards.
This is why I call it the Kippah Walk of Shame. It’s the ultimate betrayal of our people, and one of the most disgusting way that this orthodox religion is affecting our very survival as Jews in the diaspora. We bend our backs and sell ourselves in order to be politically correct, not stand out or make a fuss. We negotiate with people who will happily take away our rights in exchange for granting us a handful of privileges that they control, and in the end we will lose both our rights and privileges.
Once you start selling out your principles in hopes of not rubbing powerful people the wrong way, people who fundamentally hate you, nothing will end well.
In Sweden 2015, you are only accepted as a Jew if you don’t openly support Israel. In Sweden you are only a good Jew if you are not a Zionist – that is, if you do not support the right to our ancestral Homeland. In Sweden you are only a good Jew if you don’t fight back and don’t acknowledge why anti-Semitism is on the rise.
By abiding to these unwritten rules, you are making compromises no one should have to make. You have the mindset of Chaim Rumkowski: “If we only behave, follow THEIR rules and stay quiet, nothing will happen and no one will hurt us.”
My question is this: haven’t we learned anything from history?
Political correctness doesn’t work when you are fighting something as ugly as anti-Semitism. Bending your backs to please the establishment didn’t work in the 1930’s, and doesn’t work today. By avoiding, in every way we can, to talk about what is happening, what the problem is, we are digging our own graves.
The truth is out there, but unless we talk about it, nothing will change. We already know that the media find anti-Semitic attacks less newsworthy than attacks against other minorities. Why are we making it easier for them to ignore us by not speaking up? Where are the rallies? The loud protests? No one will fight for us – we can only depend on ourselves and each other. And finally, if you can’t support Israel when she needs it the most, when she’s being constantly attacked and ostracised, then don’t come knocking on her door when you need it – and they way things are developing in Europe now, you know you will need her soon.
Please, start speaking up, start fighting back, tell the truth, be fearless and start walking with your head held high! Wave the Israeli flag with pride! Leave the orthodox religion of political correctness where it belongs: in the trash can. Our very survival depends on it.
(Originally posted on my blog at The Times of Israel, January 3, 2015)