Representatives of several Jewish organisations have demanded that Sweden act more forcefully against racism and anti-Semitism and ban related groups from organising.
In an opinion piece published by Svenska Dagbladet, representatives of the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish Central Council of Sweden and the Central Council of the Jewish Congregations in Finland called on Sweden to act tough on racists who pose a dangerous threat to both Jews and refugees.
“In recent years, racist and Nazi organisations have become increasingly active. The number of reported hate crimes is increasing, more activities are carried out by these organisations throughout Sweden and racist propaganda is becoming more common on the internet,” the Jewish representatives wrote.
The authors insist that the groups must be banned because they pose a threat to democracy, and seek to prevent them from organising, disseminating information or demonstrating on the country's streets.
“When a group seriously threatens democracy, it is of the utmost importance that the democratic society acts vigorously,” they wrote, referring to the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which requires the signatories to prohibit such organisations.
The Jewish representatives called on Sweden to follow Finland's example and specifically ban the pan-Scandinavian Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR). Finland outlawed the organisation in 2019 and upheld the ban in 2020, while many questioned its efficacy as its members may choose to organise under a different banner.
In the appeal, the NMR was accused of disseminating “classic anti-Semitic myths” that blamed the Jews for genocide, plans for world domination, sexual perversion and being bloodthirsty. “The same kind of anti-Semitic ideas that more than 70 years ago led to the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews,” the letter said.
The NMR was also described as being dangerous to refugees and members of the LGBT community, as both allegedly suffered attacks based on hatred.
“The NMR is a Nazi, racist and pro-violence organisation that poses a threat to our open democracy. The group's mere presence in the public space leads to concerns about incidents and psychological and physical violence against individuals,” the letter concluded.
The NMR is a pan-Nordic movement with roots in Sweden that seeks to create a unified non-democratic Nordic State. Since its foundation in the late 1990s, it has mushroomed into neighbouring Finland, Norway, Denmark, and even Iceland. Its members have reportedly served prison terms for crimes such as robberies, assault, manslaughter, and paramilitary activity that includes the illegal possession of firearms. Justifying the ban, the Finnish Interior Ministry branded the organisation a “revolutionary and militant movement whose goal is to create a National Socialist state”.