NEW YORK – Sweden’s Southern District Police Chief Carina Persson and the head of the department’s investigations division, Petra Stenkula, responded Wednesday to World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer’s letter of concern condemning an arson attack that targeted a Jewish woman near Malmo last week.
The police officials told Singer that they were aware of the “critical social consequences regarding hate crimes, and in this case, a crime caused by antisemitism”, and underscored that “antisemitism is unacceptable, and we’re doing a lot of good work to ensure that our Jewish community in Sweden won’t be a targeted community.”
Personn and Stenkula also assured Singer that the police department is working in cooperation with Jewish security groups in Malmo and nearby Copenhagen, and that it looks seriously upon the “experienced fear that the Jewish members of our community are living through.” They also emphasized that in light of the recent incidents, security and supervision has been “tightened and strengthened” in the region.
“We will of course continue our efforts to increase our Jewish citizens’ perceived safety, and our cooperation with the local and regional Jewish security organizations will continue to be prioritized,” wrote the police officials.
In Singer’s letter dated 10 October, the WJC CEO wrote that “hate crimes of any sort are completely unacceptable and undermine the critical values of democracy and tolerance upon which Swedish society is built. It is incumbent upon the Swedish authorities to make this crystal clear and to do everything in their power to prevent such attacks from happening again, and to ensure the security and well-being of every citizen.”
Singer also stressed in his letter that Antisemitism is not just a Jewish issue. The antisemitism of today will inevitably spiral to target other vulnerable minorities and have a damaging impact on all of society.”
“On my visit to Sweden last year, I conveyed this message to members of the Swedish government, as well as to former National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson, who assured me that this issue was a priority for them,” Singer concluded. “I sincerely hope that the current police authorities, as well as the new government of Sweden, will dedicate the same effort and understanding to this critical issue.”