Measures to combat antisemitism and increase security

Updated

The Government has adopted a number of measures to combat antisemitism and increase security that have been implemented and are ongoing. These measures are being carried out both by the Government and by government agencies on behalf of the Government.

Of key importance to these efforts is the involvement of the Jewish national minority in the issues that concern it, for example through regular consultation within the context of Sweden’s minorities policy and in implementation of the national plan to combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime. Dialogue with Jewish organisations is also conducted on specific issues such as security enhancing measures, interreligious cooperation and the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.

Several of the measures are being carried out within the context of the national plan against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime, which the Government adopted in 2016. The plan takes an integrated approach to these efforts and comprises strategies and measures to prevent and combat antisemitism and other forms of racism through improved coordination and monitoring, more education and research, increased support to and deepened dialogue with civil society, strengthened preventive measures online and a more active justice system.

Below are a few examples of measures:

Holocaust remembrance

  • In April 2020, an Inquiry Chair presented proposals on how to establish a museum to preserve and perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust (SOU 2020:21). One starting point is that stories of Holocaust survivors with a connection to Sweden should be at the core of the activities. The inquiry report is currently being circulated for comment.

  • The Government has allocated funds to support remembrance trips to Holocaust memorial sites in 2018–2022.

  • On 13–14 October 2021, Sweden will host the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. The Forum will focus on issues concerning remembrance, Holocaust education, antisemitism in social media, and measures against antisemitism, antgypsyism and other forms of racism. Heads of state and government from some 50 countries, experts, researchers and civil society representatives have been invited to the Forum.

Measures for education and knowledge-enhancing initiatives

  • The Living History Forum carries out extensive education activities on different forms of racism – historical and present-day – in which antisemitism is included. The agency produces information material and provides training for school staff and other public sector employees at e.g. the Swedish Police Authority, the Swedish Public Employment Service, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and social services.

  • The Swedish Media Council works to empower children and young people as conscious media users through media and information literacy. The Council is also running a campaign to combat racism on the internet – the No Hate Speech Movement – targeting children and young people.

  • In connection with the Malmö International Forum for Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, the Government is conducting a national initiative to increase knowledge in schools and society. The initiative consists of the following four assignments:

    • The Living History Forum is to implement a national initiative with enhanced educational initiatives on the Holocaust, antisemitism, antiziganism and other forms of racism. It is to particularly target audiences that the Forum’s activities rarely reach. Various parts of the educational system, including the liberal adult education, are to be the focus of the initiatives. Civic orientation for newly arrived immigrants is also included in the assignment.

    • National Historical Museums is to develop a Swedish-language version of the Dimensions in Testimony installation (developed by the Shoah Foundation) that allows visitors to converse with Holocaust survivors via pre-recorded answers to questions, made possible by artificial intelligence technology.

    • The University of Gothenburg (the Segerstedt Institute) is to prepare a research review and conduct a research seminar on education in the school system that can combat antisemitism and other forms of racism.

    • The Swedish Defence Research Agency is to produce a report on antisemitism in social media and other digital environments.

Support to civil society

  • The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society distributes annual funding in accordance with the Ordinance on government grants to activities combating racism and similar forms of intolerance. In recent years, the Agency has received more funding to increase the distribution of government grants to projects specifically aimed at combating forms of intolerance such as antisemitism.

Measures in the judicial system

  • The Swedish Police Authority has raised its level of ambition with respect to hate crime. A national contact point for hate crime issues is now in place, as are democracy and anti-hate crime groups in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. When considered necessary, the Swedish Police Authority increases its surveillance efforts and takes other security measures to protect Jewish interests.

  • The Government has instructed the Swedish Police Authority to continue measures against racism, hate crime and other crimes that threaten democracy. The assignment includes producing and disseminating information, including through different types of educational materials. In carrying out its assignment, the Swedish Police Authority is required to work collaboratively with relevant actors, both government agencies and civil society organisations.

  • The Swedish Police Authority has also been tasked with reporting on the results of measures taken aimed at combating hate crime and other crimes that threaten democracy. The Swedish Police Authority is to describe how cooperation with government agencies and organisations is conducted and how a functioning dialogue is ensured with regard to groups subjected to this type of crime. When carrying out this task, the Swedish Police Authority is to take account of other relevant work in the pertinent subject area and analyse how it could help develop police activities.

  • The Swedish Prosecution Authority has taken measures to enhance the quality of its work to combat hate crime.

  • The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention was tasked by the Government with conducting an in-depth study of antisemitic hate crime in Sweden. According to the study, antisemitism can be found in broad layers of the population, and far from everyone who subjects others to antisemitism is part of an organised group.

Measures against violent extremism

  • The Swedish Center for Preventing Violent Extremism was established in 2018 under the auspices of the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. The Center gives needs-based support to local actors, serve as a knowledge hub and contribute to creating greater effectiveness and coordination in preventive measures.

  • Since 2016, the Swedish Defence Research Agency has been tasked with analysing violent extremist propaganda in digital environments. The analyses conducted have increased knowledge of the content of the antisemitic propaganda spread by radical nationalistic and extreme right-wing environments.

  • The Government has appointed an all-party committee to consider the introduction of specific criminal liability for participation in a racist organisation and a ban on racist organisations. The committee is to present its report by 28 February 2021.

  • As of 2018, appropriations to security-enhancing measures for civil society and schools have been increased.

International cooperation

  • Sweden is an active member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which it helped establish in 2000. The Living History Forum represents Sweden in the IHRA under the leadership of the Ambassador for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

  • In January 2020, the Government made clear that Sweden supports the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism, including the list of examples, adopted by the IHRA.

  • The Government has appointed a special envoy for intercultural and interfaith dialogue, including for international efforts to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia at international level, based at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The special envoy works to enhance coordination of intergovernmental efforts and strengthen Sweden’s cooperation with key international stakeholders and international Jewish organisations.