Malmö, Sweden, May 13th, 2019 – The European Coalition for Israel has invited the City Council of Malmö to form a partnership in order to combat the growing anti-Semitism in the city which has raised concern internationally. Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden and is situated in the very south of the country, just across the water from Copenhagen in Denmark.
In a speech in Malmö on Saturday evening, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell explained that the real antidote to Jew hatred is not simply to condemn anti-Semitism but to actively celebrate Jewish life and culture.
“Do not repeat the mistakes of Portugal and Spain who waited for 500 years before realising that they needed to express their appreciation for their Jewish communities, but do it now, while there is still time”, he said at the solidarity meeting in Malmö on Saturday night.
The open invitation for partnership will be followed up with a written letter this week.
In his speech he stated that “the only way to defeat anti-Semitism is to begin to appreciate our Jewish friends and the positive impact they have in our local communities. Instead of organizing another rally against anti-Semitism, we should rather host an event in which we expressly thank the Jewish people of Malmö for the fact that they chose to live here. Instead of simply trying to accommodate the Jewish community, we should celebrate them.”
In Poland for example, Jewish festivals have become popular over the years as the local population realize that they miss the Jewish culture which flourished in their cities for hundreds of years, but then vanished as most of the Polish Jews were killed in the Holocaust. There has also been a similar revival in Jewish festivals in many other parts of Europe.
“In cities like Malmö, where Jews are now leaving the city because they no longer feel welcome, we should let them know that they are highly appreciated”, Sandell said.
The head of the Pentecostal movement in Sweden, Daniel Alm agreed. “How we treat the Jewish people among us today will reveal how we will eventually treat each other”, he said. “Hatred may start with the Jewish people, but it never ends there.” As a representative for the largest free-church movement in Sweden, he assured the audience that the Jews in Malmö and indeed all the Jews in Sweden are not alone – the Christian community wants to stand by their side.
The event was part of a nation-wide campaign against anti-Semitism and was hosted by the national organization “Israels vänner” (Friends of Israel) and the Christian newspaper “Världen idag”. It was also part of the Pray and Vote campaign of the European Coalition for Israel.
In his final appeal, Sandell encouraged the audience to become active and to remember to vote in the upcoming elections for the European Parliament. “If we do not shape the future of Europe, others will”, he concluded.