WJC welcomes Swedish court ruling to reroute Nazi march away from synagogue on Yom Kippur
Tue, 26 Sep 2017
NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress on Monday welcomed a Swedish court ruling to redirect a neo-Nazi march planned for Yom Kippur away from its original route near the local synagogue in Gothenberg, which followed a number of WJC actions in protest of the originally scheduled event.
“The World Jewish Congress welcomes the Gothenburg administrative court’s very correct and moral decision to ban the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement from marching in the proximity of a synagogue in the city on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Such a march would be rife with implicit dangers and traumatic historical memory, and should never have been allowed in the first place. We hope that this will serve as an important precedent, both in Sweden and in other countries, to prevent any such event from taking place in the future.”
Last week, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder met with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in New York and emphasized to him that allowing the neo-Nazi march to take place on Yom Kippur in front of a synagogue was utterly unacceptable.
The WJC also sent a formal letter of protest to the Swedish Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Morgan Johansson, stressing that, “During the Holocaust, the Nazis routinely scheduled major deportations of Jews to concentration and death camps on Jewish holidays, including on Yom Kippur. It is abhorrent that this practice should be emulated today, to the detriment of the Jews of Gothenburg.
“The decision to march on Yom Kippur cannot be viewed as merely symbolic, as suggested by police… Sweden prides itself on the protection of its minorities, and on ensuring the rights of all Swedes to practice their religions without threat. The scheduled Nazi march on Yom Kippur marks a sharp failure on both counts.
“Far too often, Swedish Jews are already forced to hide their Jewish identity due to direct or indirect threats. The planned Nazi march in Gothenburg will only seek to exacerbate an existing climate of anxiety.”
WJC CEO Robert Singer also published an op-ed on the matter in the Göteborgs-Posten.
The Nordic Resistance Movement had originally asked to march on September 30 along the city’s main street during the Gothenburg Book Fair – the largest book fair in Scandinavia, attended by 100,000 people. After that request was denied, the police offered an alternative route that would take the demonstrators in close proximity of the local synagogue on the most important of holidays, Yom Kippur. The police also did not prevent the same Nazi organization from marching without permit in central Gothenburg.
The WJC maintained contact on the matter with both the local Jewish community in Gothenburg, and the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities in Stockholm, both of which gratefully accepted the WJC's offer to help and expressed their appreciation for the WJC's actions and assistance.
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