IMG_0155I spent Wednesday this week at a conference in Stockholm organized by a Swedish organization combating anti-semitism, Svenska kommittén mot antisemitism (SKMA).

Jews are threatened in today´s society mainly by two extremist movements: right-wing extremism and violent islamism. Both are global movements, and both are growing.

Walking home from the conference – which was very interesting and gave many insights – I thought about the everyday racism and anti-semitism. I think we all need to listen carefully to our inner voice these days.

It is one thing to write articles (or blogs) or posts on Facebook and another thing to step up and protest in everyday situations at work, at a party, in the lunch room or at coffee breaks. I am not saying that writing posts on Facebook is unimportant. But there is a need of speaking out also IRL, in everyday situations.

Doing so might cause you trouble, and it can be painful. During this fall I met a man who said things about refugees I felt I had to protest to. The man got up from the table and left without saying goodbye. At another occasion I listened to a young man who was out on the streets trying to persuade people to vote for his right-wing neofascist party. He said things about Jews I simply couldn´t listen to without protesting. I spent an hour arguing with him. People around me were looking angrily at me – my behavoiur seemed to disturb them.

I tell you about these occasions, not to look brave (I am not). Too many times, I am silent. I tell you about it just because it gives a glimpse of the pain involved when you raise your voice.

I am not a person who is looking for a fight. Often, I try to avoid it. I know I´m not alone. Many Swedes hate conflicts. They want peaceful cooperation.

Facing the growth of neonazism (who would have thought that we would witness nazists walking the streets again??), racism and violent jihadism, I think it is necessary to raise your voice. I hope I will have the courage to do so.

And I think we need to support one another to build a moral courage army of people. This is the only way to build a society of hope, trust,  justice and where human rights are respected for everyone.