Photo Credit: Ben Zyskowicz's campaign.
Finnish MP Ben Zyskowicz was punched by a man yelling antisemitic slurs, March 25, 2023.

Finnish MP Ben Zyskowicz, 68, the former chairman of the National Coalition Party, was punched in the face Saturday while campaigning for Finland’s April 2 general election.

Zyskowicz told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that a large man who appeared to be between ages 30 and 40 confronted him at a metro station in the capital, Helsinki, which Zyskowicz represents. The man started yelling, blaming Zyskowicz for Finland’s decision to join NATO and hurling antisemitic insults at him, including accusations that the Jews control Finland.


Finland country is home to an estimated 1,800 Jews, 1,400 of whom live in the Greater Helsinki area.

The attacker also threatened to kill Zyskowicz by pushing him in front of the subway train.

By the way, in 2011, the same Helsingin Sanomat published a cartoon depicting a Nazi guard holding a bar of “Free Range Jew soap.” The cartoonist, Pertti Jarla, argued it was an anti-Nazi, not an antisemitic cartoon. He was misunderstood by many.

Also in 2011, MP Zyskowicz was assaulted for the first time by a man shouting antisemitic slurs, and in 2015, campaign posters with Zyskowicz’s picture were sprayed with swastikas in Helsinki.

Zyskowicz has been serving as an MP since 1979. He doesn’t know why the man attacked him and believes that angry online comments and the spread of extremist ideas on social media are influencing the Finnish people’s thinking and behavior. “Before social media, such extreme thinkers threatened somewhere in their own circle of friends, but now even the wildest and strangest theories and conspiracy theories get a wide echo base,” he said.

He mentioned the openly racist and fascist Sinimusta movement which is currently running for parliament, and whose leading candidate is the chairman of a defunct neo-Nazi organization. “This is a difficult issue,” Zyskowicz said. “It is unbelievable at times that people are running for parliament with open fascist symbols. It’s a phenomenon that I don’t remember seeing before.”

Leading Finnish politicians, from Prime Minister Sanna Marin to President Sauli Niinistö expressed their support for Zyskowicz following the attack.

In 1948, 28 Finnish Jews, mostly Finnish Army veterans, fought in Israel’s War of Liberation. After the state had been established, Finland saw a high rate of Jewish immigration to Israel which all but depleted the local Jewish community.

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