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‘Concrete measures’ needed to fight anti-Semitism says Swedish PM

Swedens's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven speaks during the Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, in Malmo, Sweden, on October 13, 2021.
Swedens's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven speaks during the Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism, in Malmo, Sweden, on October 13, 2021. Copyright JONAS EKSTROMER / AFP
By Josephine Joly with AP
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A conference on Wednesday focused on the receding memory of the Holocaust and the rise of anti-Semitism views on social media.


Sweden's prime minister has called on other heads of states to come up with "concrete measures" to tackle anti-Semitism, as he started a two-day conference on the issue in Sweden on Wednesday.

Focusing on the receding memory of the Holocaust, the country marked the 20th anniversary of the conference.

The Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti-Semitism got participants to look at how social media is contributing to a rise in anti-Semitism.

The conference was originally due to take place in October 2020 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the 20th anniversary of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, and the establishment of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, but was postponed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Delegates from around 50 different countries were invited, including heads of state, government officials, and researchers.

Swedish media reported that many heads of state declined the invitation.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who has made a number of pledges to strengthen education, research, and memory of the Holocaust, said: "We are not looking for (just) another declaration. And therefore, I've encouraged the delegations to present concrete measures to promote Holocaust remembrance and to combat antisemitism, antigypsyism, and other forms of racism."

The European Jewish Association (EJA) recently carried out a survey across 16 European countries with a significant Jewish community on the rise in anti-Semitic views on social media, examining the antisemitic views of European citizens, their discriminatory tendencies, and their views on the state of Israel and the Holocaust.

Some 16,000 European citizens were polled in 14 languages. The 16 countries were: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

"We see in most of the European countries that there is still a lot of work to do to fight anti-Semitism. And the most important conclusion we're having today is a very strong call to European leaders to understand there's a lot of work that needs to be done and we need them to lead us to a better situation," Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the EJA, told Euronews.

Israel's Diaspora Affairs Minister has recently blamed the rise of anti-Semitism on the spread of social media.

"Anti-Semitism is a wrong perception of people about another kind of people and motivation to bother them or to harm them. So you see, it shouldn't be something very difficult to deal with, and there's no question that social media is one of the things that could educate people in the wrong way," Margolin added.

"So, yes, social media is just one channel, but the most important thing is that we are missing here is leaders who will understand that antisemitism is not an issue that should be used for political interest only. This is a disease. This is a pandemic that grows every year."

Margolin and thousands of Jewish communities leaders from across Europe gathered on October 13 to establish a plan to fight the issue.

Watch the full interview with Euronews anchor Tokunbo Salako in the video player above.

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