Denmark's Jewish community has reported increasing harassment since the Gaza conflict began. Photo: Kasper Palsnov/Scanpix
Jews in Denmark have reported an increase in threatening messages since the recent escalation of violence in Gaza.
Following a TV appearance in which he debated the chairman of the Danish-Palestinian Friendship Association, the Danish Zionist Society’s (Dansk Zionistforbund) chairman Jonatan Møller Sousa has received a handful of death threats via Facebook.
“I hope you and your Zionist friends burn in hell and experience even more painful deaths than all the small children who have been killed in Gaza,” one Facebook message obtained by Kristeligt Dagblad read.
“Unfortunately there are no dead Jews: We’ll be sure to take care of that in Denmark,” read another.
Sousa is not alone. The Jewish Community in Denmark (Det Jødiske Samfund) reports that of the 18 anti-Semitic incidents reported within the community this year, 13 of them took place in July as the conflict between Israel and Hamas flared up.
The Jewish Community in Denmark reports that most of the incidents entailed threatening messages via email or Facebook but in one case it spilled over to the real world. A man wearing the Star of David around his neck was spit on and his assailant attempted to rip his necklace off.
“Some of these incidents could be written off as pranks, but when one has their life directly threatened on social media, we have moved beyond pranks,” The Jewish Community’s Dan Rosenberg Asmussen told Kristeligt Dagblad. “When you are spit upon on the bus and someone tries to take your necklace, we are talking about assault.”
The Danish-Palestinian Friendship Association disavowed the threats.
“I strongly oppose all types of anti-Semitic statements,” Fathi El-Abed told Kristeligt Dagblad. “But there is a group of people who can not figure out how to properly express themselves on the attacks taking place in Gaza. It’s too easy to go on Facebook and express yourself primitively.”
Asmussen said that it is vital that the violence in Gaza does not find its way to Denmark.
“The conflict between Israel and Hamas shouldn’t lead to those of us in Denmark having to accept anti-Semitic statements and attacks,” he said.
Across the bridge in Malmö, a man was violently beaten for flying an Israeli flag earlier this month in what Swedish police have called a hate crime.