Leaders of the Jewish community estimated there were 20,000 to 30,000 Jews in the country and approximately 6,000 registered members of Jewish congregations. The NCCP registered 182 anti-Semitic crimes in 2016, compared with 277 in 2015, a decrease of approximately 34 percent. Anti-Semitic crimes included threats, verbal abuse, vandalism, graffiti, and harassment in schools. Anti-Semitic incidents were often associated with events in the Middle East and the actions of the Israeli government, and Swedish Jews were at times blamed for Israeli policies.
The most common forms of anti-Semitism were unlawful threats/harassment (49 percent of complaints), hate speech (27 percent), defamation (5 percent), and vandalism/graffiti (10 percent). Ten violent anti-Semitic hate crimes were reported in 2016, an increase from eight such crimes in 2015. Authorities initiated an investigation in 58 percent of the complaints of anti-Semitism reported in 2015; 37 percent were directly dismissed due to lack of evidence. Formal charges were brought in only 4 percent of the cases.
On September 30, an estimated 500 supporters of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) marched through Gothenburg. The original route was supposed to pass a downtown synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, but a court changed the route after local protests. Participants in a counterprotest of approximately 10,000 persons clashed with the NRM supporters and police. Some NRM members attempted to break through police lines. Police arrested 22 NRM supporters and one counterdemonstrator. The Jewish community expressed appreciation for the robust police presence and reported they were not affected by the disturbances.
Police, politicians, media, and Jewish groups have stated that anti-Semitism has been especially prevalent in Malmo. The Simon Wiesenthal Center left in place its travel warning, first issued in 2010, regarding travel in southern Sweden, because Jews in Malmo could be “subject to anti-Semitic taunts and harassment.”
In April the Jewish Association in Umea ended its activities and closed the center following neo-Nazi threats. The small association with approximately 50 members received threatening emails, and its buildings were painted with swastikas and the phrase, “we know where you live.” A car connected to the association was also vandalized. Local authorities and police held a meeting with the center to see if they could find a new venue, but representatives chose to close since their members did not feel safe. Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman called what happened in Umea “completely unacceptable.”
In September unknown persons threw stones at the windows of the Malmo synagogue and broke the outer glass. The incident was classified as destruction of property and a hate crime.
In response to international events, on December 8 and 9, protesters at demonstrations in Malmo shouted “shoot all the Jews” and “the Jews should remember that Mohammed’s army will return.” Malmo Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh condemned the statements. On December 9, an estimated 10-20 persons threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Gothenburg. The incendiaries did not ignite the building, and nobody was hurt. Police later arrested three individuals in connection with the attack; the investigation continued. Government officials, including the prime minister and foreign minister, condemned the attack. On December 11, unknown assailants threw two Molotov cocktails at a building in the old Jewish cemetery in Malmo. Nobody was injured, and a police investigation was continuing.
The government allocated 10 million kronor ($1.2 million) to increase security for places of worship during the year. All religious communities may apply for the grant.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency continued to cooperate with religious communities on a national level to promote dialogue and prevent conflicts leading to anti-Semitic incidents. It continued to train police officers to detect hate crimes and visited high schools to raise awareness of such crimes and encourage more victims to report abuses. The government made available information in several languages for victims of hate crimes and provided interpreters to facilitate reporting. Police hate-crime officers operated throughout the country.
The Living History Forum, a public authority commissioned to work with problems related to tolerance, democracy, and human rights using the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as its starting point, continued to sensitize the public, and particularly the young, to the need to respect the equal value of all persons, with a specific focus on teaching about the Holocaust as a means of fighting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.