New York, NY, April 3, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern over the closing of a Jewish community center in Umea, Sweden after series of troubling anti-Semitic incidents and threats to members of the community. According to reports, the community center was vandalized with swastikas and the message, “We know where you live,” causing members of the city’s Jewish community to fear for their safety.
“This situation simply cannot be acceptable in today’s Sweden,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “This incident should be a catalyst to ensure that every Jewish community in Sweden both is secure and has a sense of security to live openly and freely as Jews.”
According to ADL’s 2014 Global 100 Poll, only four percent of Sweden’s adult population holds anti-Semitic attitudes, one of the lowest levels of anti-Semitism in the world.
In a letter to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, ADL raised concerns that many Jewish institutions across Sweden have insufficient security measures and the urged the government to do more to ensure that these institutions are adequately protected nationwide. ADL had recently discussed communal security issues with the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities.
“While Umea’s Jewish community may be small in number, we respectfully urge you to consider the magnitude of this event,” Mr. Greenblatt wrote. “A Jewish community center closed due to anti-Semitic threats, fear in the community, and lack of confidence that the authorities will protect them. Such a situation cannot be acceptable in Sweden today. This local crime and its consequence should be a national issue, as it speaks to the heart of Sweden’s democratic values.”