Sunday, 12 June 2011

Finnish parliament speaker recalls anti-Semitic attack

Not surprisingly in a country where Jews make up less than 0.03 percent of the population, Jewish issues do not feature prominently in local politics.  “As an MP during these 32 years I have rarely been confronted with issues related with Jews and Jewishness but of course the situation in the Middle East is always present,” he said.

Jerusalem Post, article by Gil Schefler

Ben Zysowicz, Finland's first Jewish lawmaker, tells of assault and anti-Semitic insults.

In a country like Finland, where the Jewish community of 1,500 people makes up a tiny percentage of a population of 5.4 million, anti-Semitic incidents are rare, which is why the recent attack on the Jewish speaker of the parliament was so unusual.

Ben Zyscowicz, the country’s first Jewish lawmaker, was walking home the Wednesday before last after a round of late-night political negotiations when he was suddenly assaulted by a stranger.

“I was walking with a friend in the city very late in the evening when a man who was clearly under the influence of alcohol came toward me,” he told The Jerusalem Post by phone on Friday. “He tried to hit me and he only managed to touch me on one shoulder. He also shouted insults to me based on the fact that I’m a Jew.

“After that I called the police and they took care of him. The insults continued and it became very clear he wasn’t fond of my politics, my party and also of Jews.”

The 57-year-old member of the National Coalition Party was not hurt and said he did not plan to file a complaint.  He said hate crimes against Jews in his country were uncommon.  In his long career as a politician he had received the occasional anti- Semitic letter. He had been physically attacked twice before, but not because he was a Jew. “This is very, very rare that this happens,” he said.

Zyscowicz, the son of a survivor of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp who emigrated from Poland and a Finnish-born Jewish woman, has never had to hide his Judaism. He grew up in a Jewish home in Helsinki observing religious holidays and received a Jewish education for nine years at the local Hebrew school before entering politics as an adult. [...]
Source: Norway, Israel and the Jews (Book review: Behind the Humanitarian Mask)
Little is known about Finland’s behaviour during the Second World War. Finland has won great sympathy in the world, including from Jews, due to the "White War" she fought so valiantly against the Red Army, and because her leader, Marshall Gustaf Emil Mannerheim did not allow the Jewish-Finnish soldiers to be harmed. There were those in his government who wanted to hand them over to the Nazis. But Finland did also give up Jews to the Gestapo, especially Jewish soldiers in the Red Army who were taken prisoner. In a short essay, Professor Steinberg gives illustrative details of significant current Finnish financial help to Palestinian organizations, supposedly for humanitarian purposes, but actually it goes to less honourable use, especially anti-Israeli propaganda, much like the financial support from Sweden, Norway and Denmark (according to various rumors there are some organizations in Israel generally referred to as the "Peace Camp" which are also benefitting from these funds - a subject worthy of examination).

1 comment:

Juniper in the Desert said...

I notice you do not have this on your blog-roll:

Very good nordic/Finnish blog.