Israeli flag burned outside Swedish synagogue to a chant of ‘bomb Israel’

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

A demonstrator burns an Israeli flag outside a synagogue in Malmo, Sweden, on November 4, 2023. (The Council of Swedish Jewish communities)
A demonstrator burns an Israeli flag outside a synagogue in Malmo, Sweden, on November 4, 2023. (The Council of Swedish Jewish communities)

The European Jewish Congress condemns the burning of an Israeli flag in front of a synagogue in Sweden yesterday.

“We are deeply appalled by the recent pro-Palestinian protest, which involved the burning of an Israeli flag in front of a synagogue in Malmo, Sweden,” the EJC writes today on X. “Intimidating the Jewish community and blaming them for the events in the Middle East is blatant antisemitism.”

The statement is about the actions of about 12 people who attended a protest rally outside the synagogue in the Swedish city of Malmo. In addition to the flag burning, at least one participant chanted: “Free Palestine, bomb Israel.”

The rally outside the Malmo synagogue also featured multiple Palestinian flags.

Videos of the incident show no police presence at the synagogue, which has been the target of several antisemitic acts of vandalism for years.

The anti-Israel rally was to protest Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza. On October 7, about 3,000 Hamas terrorists staged a cross-border assault into Israel, where they murdered some 1,400 people, and abducted some 240 more into Gaza. In response, Israel’s offensive in Gaza is aimed at destroying Hamas’s military and governance capabilities, and Israel has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates, while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.

Since October 7, there have been dozens of anti-Israel protests and riots across Europe and beyond. Jewish communities in Europe are reporting a surge of antisemitic hate crimes, including multiple cases of assault.

Malmo, a southern port city, has a large Muslim population that, according to some estimates, accounts for about a third of the city’s population of roughly 300,000. Its Jewish population has declined from about 800 in 1997 to fewer than 400 in 2019.

Aron Verständig, chair of the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, on Twitter calls on Malmo Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh to condemn the incident. Her account on X and the city’s official website have made no references to the incident. Her office does not immediately reply to a request for comment by The Times of Israel.

Fredrik Sieradzki, a spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Malmo, criticizes police for not preventing the actions of the protesters, calling their apparent failure to intervene “reprehensible.”

The press department of The Swedish Police Authority does not immediately reply to a request for comment on Sieradzki’s comment.

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