Is antisemitism on the rise or declining in Sweden?
According to the results of the present study, the prevalence of antisemitic attitudes and ideas in the Swedish population fell between 2005 and 2020. The reasons for the change are difficult to determine. One possible contributing factor was that problems relating to antisemitism and other forms of racism were more prominent in the public debate in the past decade, which might have led to an increase in awareness and knowledge regarding these issues. Educational and public awareness-raising initiatives on this and other issues such as the Holocaust and other genocides may also have had an impact.
The fact that support for antisemitic attitudes and ideas has weakened is positive. But it should be noted the results show that antisemitic beliefs live on among a significant minority of the population.
For several years, fears have been voiced in the public debate that antisemitism is on the rise in Swedish society. Surveys show that this is also a widespread view among the Swedish Jewish minority and in the majority population. It is not for this study to say whether they are correct or not. Antisemitism is multifaceted – it takes different forms and manifests in different ways. To answer the question of whether antisemitism is on the rise or declining in Swedish society, comparable quantitative and qualitative studies are needed to complement surveys of attitudes to shed light on developments regarding hate crimes and incidents, the existence of antisemitic attitudes and tropes in political debate and the media, antisemitic propaganda spread on the Internet, antisemitism’s role and function in specific political and political-religious movements, and Jews’ and others’ experiences of antisemitism. It should also be stressed that different forms and manifestations of antisemitism simultaneously can pull in different directions.