Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel. 26 juni 2012
Erik Ullenhag, Integrationsminister
The Legacy of Raoul Wallenberg
This year, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg would have turned 100. Wallenberg is recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous among the Nations for his work to save Jews in Hungary from the scourge of the Holocaust. His courage and determination should be remembered in the continuing fight against anti-Semitism and intolerance.
Today, leading experts meet at Yad Vashem to discuss the legacy of Wallenberg and what it teaches us. I feel privileged to take part in this high-level symposium and to continue the close dialogue between Sweden and Israel on how we can learn from the Holocaust and combat anti-Semitism today. I would also like to take the opportunity of my visit to Israel to address some of the key challenges we're facing together.
Sadly, anti-Semitism is still alive in Europe. Populist political parties are growing in many European countries and their messages bear traits of xenophobia, nationalism and protectionism. Those who stand up for openness and tolerance are far too quiet. We have seen the patterns before. As Europeans, as democrats, we need to meet this challenge head on.
No country is free from racism and intolerance. In my own country, despite strong traditions of democracy and respect for human rights, we still face instances of anti-Semitism, as well as intolerance towards other groups, such as Roma and Muslims. An intolerable situation has developed for the Jewish community in the city of Malmo in southern Sweden. There has been a rise in the number of Jews who have suffered anti-Semitic harassment and some Jewish families have even left the city.
It is clear that the situation is unacceptable. The Swedish Government stands firm in its commitment and will continue to tirelessly combat anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance. As Minister, I work closely with the vibrant Jewish community in Sweden on these issues. Last year, I published an article together with the Chairpersons of the Jewish Central Council and the Muslim Community, jointly urging stronger efforts to fight hatred. It is the responsibility of the public and local authorities, the police and the justice system to allow all Swedes to live their lives without fear of threats or harassment.
The Living History Forum, a public authority which promotes issues of tolerance, democracy and human rights, has lead efforts to teach the lessons of the Holocaust in Sweden. In 2011, the Forum surveyed anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attitudes in Sweden and their causes - constant monitoring is necessary to be able to fight these phenomena effectively. In 2012-14, the Government will intensify efforts to teach children and young people about xenophobia and intolerance, an essential part of combatting hatred. The Government has also provided financial support to the Jewish community in Sweden in order to strengthen the security for the Jewish population.
We must not let the Holocaust deniers win. Those who were murdered in the Nazi death camps must not also be deprived of their deaths. We have a duty to fight anti-Semitism. We have a duty to show leadership and courage in standing up to hatred. This is the most important legacy of Raoul Wallenberg.