Simon Wiesenthal Center to Issue Travel Advisory for Sweden - Officials Confer With Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask

Stockholm, December 14th 2010

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO, has announced it is issuing a travel advisory concerning Sweden due to harassment of Jewish citizens in the southern city of Malmo, the third largest city in Sweden. The decision was conveyed to Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask, by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate Dean of the Center and Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director of International Relations, during a wide-ranging meeting in Stockholm, earlier today.

“We reluctantly are issuing this advisory because religious Jews and other members of the Jewish community there have been subject to anti-Semitic taunts and harassment. There have been dozens of incidents reported to the authorities but have not resulted in arrests or convictions for hate crimes”, he added. “A contributing factor to this decision has been the outrageous remarks of Malmo mayor Ilmar Reepalu, who blames the Jewish community for failing to denounce Israel. The travel advisory urges extreme caution when visiting southern Sweden. It is not connected to last week’s Islamist terrorist bombing in the heart of Stockholm. (The Wiesenthal Center reevaluates its travel advisories every three months.)

“During our meeting with the Minister, we expressed our sympathies to the two people injured in Friday’s suicide bombing. We discussed how the Internet has changed the rules of engagement in dealing with the threats of terrorism”, said Rabbi Cooper, who directs the Wiesenthal Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Project. The Center also offered its expertise in inviting Swedish officials to participate in its Museum of Tolerance’s renowned Tools For Tolerance Law Enforcement training program. Over 10,000 US federal, state and local police and delegations from around the world including Canada, Germany, France have participated in the programs.

Dr. Samuels urged Sweden to strengthen the security of all Jewish institutions, adding “ It is unacceptable in a democracy committed to protecting its citizens, that the Swedish Jewish community is forced to pay for necessary upgraded security measures to safeguard their lives and property,” he said.

For more information contact Dr. Samuels at +33609 770158 or Rabbi Cooper at +1 310-210-9750, join the Center on Facebook,
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).