4 June, 2024

The IHRS condemns the act of vandalization against antisemitism-scholar

When the Political Scientist Anders Persson came to his office at Linnaeus University on Monday morning on May 27th it had been vandalized. Unknown persons had placed childrens clothing with “blood drops” on the wall, written “blood on your hands”, painted a Hitler mustasche on a photo of Anders and written on the white board: “Anders Persson is spreading Israeli propaganda. How much do they pay you, Anders? Be honest.” Persson is an expert specialized in antisemitism expressed within the Middle East-conflict and the author of a recently published report for the Segerstedt Institute at Gothenburg University. The act has been reported to the police.

The director of IHRS, Karin Kvist Geverts, phoned Anders Persson to offer our support and ask him about the event. Persson says that “academics are soft targets compared to government institutions and media outlets” because the Universities are still open spaces. And although he appreciates the openness he points out that ”academic freedom needs academic protection”.

There are several examples of antisemitism  in this act, and when asked what he thinks are the most striking ones, Persson points out two things: First, the perception of the Jew as the devil incarnate which is one of the oldest antisemitic ideas, here symbolized with the devils horns and the Hitler-mustache scribbled on his photo. And second, the conspiracy ideas expressed in the argument saying that Persson is “spreading Israeli propaganda” and is “payed” by the Jews which are old antisemitic ideas of a Jewish world conspiracy.

When this happened, Persson posted a photo on X (formerly Twitter) commenting “Goodmorning from my office…” and this post has been viewed several hundred thousand times since. Over 90% of the responses has been supportive, among these are the Chancellor of the Linnaeus University, Peter Aronsson who have condemned the attack. Persson also says that the minority who have expressed support for this deed has accused him for dragging it upon himself. The idea that “the Jews” bring antisemitism with them and are to blame for antisemitism is in itself an old antisemitic notion.

The IHRS condemns this blatant antisemitic act as a threat to academic freedom and will follow the police investigation closely.

BILDTEXT: The vandalised office of Anders Persson. Photo: Anders Persson

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