Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Lofven, has announced that his country will host an international conference against antisemitism, in memory of the Holocaust, in October 2020.
The gathering for heads of state and government will be held in Malmo, southern Sweden, on October 27 and 28 — 20 years after the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust and 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz.
Mr Lofven told AFP: “You find antisemitism in Sweden, in Europe and all over the world. Antisemitism isn’t only a Jewish problem, it is a poison for all of society”.
The choice of Malmo as the venue is controversial — because the city has been the lightning rod for numerous antisemitic attacks and demonstrations in recent years.
In December 2017, after President Trump announced that Jerusalem would be recognised as the capital of Israel by the US, 200 demonstrators in a Malmo central square shouted that “an intifada has been proclaimed from Malmö and we will shoot the Jews”. The following day another crowd gathered to shout that “Jews must remember that the army of Mohammed will return”.
Sweden recognised a Palestinian state in 2014, but Mr Lofven, a Social Democratic leader, has taken an outspoken stance against antisemitism.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 Jews live in Sweden, out of a population of around 10 million. The country is also home to several hundred thousand Muslims, including a large community in Malmo.