Anti-everyone

A new poll finds Swedes reject anti-Semitism, but a sizeable minority appear to hold anti-Jewish feelings:

The study found that 59 per cent of Swedes generally rejected anti-Semitic attitudes, while 36 per cent were ambivalent and agreed with some anti-Semitic statements and rejected others or did not express an clear opinion. Five per cent displayed strong anti-Semitic attitudes.

Among those with higher education more rejected anti-Semitic notions as opposed to those with less education, 70 per cent versus 48 per cent. However, the beliefs in Jewish power over media, finance or US foreign policy were equally widespread among all the respondents, irrespective of education.

Buried in the news story, however, is a more disturbing figure:

In order to compare attitudes toward other religious minorities, some questions in the poll were about Muslims, the largest religious minority in Sweden. There are 18,000 Jews in Sweden and 350,000 Muslims. The poll showed that the intolerant attitudes towards Muslims were higher than those towards Jews.

2 per cent supported discriminatory measures toward Jews. Only 2,9 per cent of Swedes think that there are too many Jews in Sweden, while 24.1 per cent think there are too many Muslims. 6.7 per cent also feel that “Muslims ought not be allowed to vote in political elections”.

Sweden is a liberal, open, fairly tolerant country, but then, people used to say that about Denmark. That country is currently experiencing a rise of the far-right and anti-immigration parties. Jews are rarely seen as not fitting into the mainstream, while Muslims are often shunned and tarred with the “terrorism” brush.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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