Archive for January, 2010

Mayor of Malmö: Jews to Blame for Antisemitism

The southern Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet has recently published a series of articles describing the precarious situation of the Jews in Malmö. Families leave the city, either for Israel or Stockholm since they don’t feel safe bringing up children in Malmö, a teenager relates how other kids in his school threatened to “halal butcher” him, and the Malmö police confirms that the number of antisemitic hate crimes rose drastically last year.

On January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Skånska Dagbladet interviewed the Mayor of Malmö, Ilmar Reepalu and asked him for a comment to all this.

In the beginning of the interview, Mr. Reepalu says all those things that he must say: he denounces racism in general, in all its forms. Fair enough, but then — when the interviewer asks him to relate more specifically to the issue of antisemitism — the shit hits the proverbial fan.

Mr. Reepalu does indeed denounce antisemitism specifically, but his choice of words is interesting, to say the least:

– We don’t accept Zionism nor antisemitism. That’s extremes that put themselves above other groups and think that they are worth less.

He then goes on condemning Israeli violations of human rights and abuse of the civilian population in Gaza. When asked by the reporter if he can’t do anything at least to reduce the antagonism against those local Jews in Malmö who aren’t involved in Israeli actions, and don’t wish to be responsible for it, he says:

– I wish that the Jewish community would distance itself from Israel’s violations of the civilian population in Gaza. Instead they choose to arrange a demonstration on the Main Square, which can send out the wrong signals.

How are the readers supposed to understand this in any other way than that Mr. Reepalu thinks that the local Jews in Malmö, at least to a certain degree, have themselves to blame for the growing antisemitism in the city? That as long as they don’t share — and declare — his positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they must count on being attacked?

Those who are interested in reading the whole interview with Mr. Reepalu can do so here.

For some amateur footage of the demonstration that annoyed Mr. Reepalu so, see this clip on YouTube of a mob chasing away the Jews and other supporters of Israel with bottles, eggs and fire crackers.

For an excellent summary of the Swedish debate on Mr. Reepalu’s statements, see Jonathan Leman’s blog.

UPDATE: Mr. Reepalu’s statements are also reported in the Israeli media. Both Yediot and Haaretz carry articles about it today.

UPDATE 2: Jamal el-Haj, member of the Malmö City Council for Mayor Reepalu’s Social Democratic Party, says in a comment today that he wishes that more people would “show the same courage” as Mr. Reepalu, and that it’s “regrettable” that Jews choose to leave Malmö, but that the Jewish community could “help a lot” to improve the situation by condemning Israeli actions. The whole interview with el-Haj can be read here.

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January 29, 2010 at 08:38 5 comments

Frum Flight Fright

Do you remember the good old days, when you could board a plane without taking off your belt and shoes, could keep a convenient pair of nail scissors and a bottle of contact lens fluid in your hand luggage, and could transfer at a stop-over air port without fretting over whether someone would demand to throw away the duty free booze you bought at the original port of departure?

I know, it’s starting to become a faded memory belonging to that lost world of one — state-run — TV channel when Europe was still divided between East and West and unicorns roamed the land.

Following the attempted Christmas bombing of a Denver-bound flight, where someone tried to detonate an explosive devise that he was hiding in his underwear, security levels have been raised even further. Now, apparently, you’re no longer allowed to conceal your groin with a blanket on transatlantic flights, and soon we will all be forced to undergo body scans before boarding.

In America, the paranoia recently caused a pilot on a flight from La Guardia to Louisville, Kentucky to land his plane as soon as he possibly could since someone in the cabin reported that a suspicious looking kid was behaving weirdly — probably trying to set off a bomb.

I can only imagine how this deeply embarrassed teenager must have pleaded with a stewardess, trying to convince her that he wasn’t actually out to kill them all — but just wanted to put on his tefillin.

Read more about it here.

January 22, 2010 at 09:08 Leave a comment

Grip Needs Tightening

CBN, the Christian Broadcast Network, seems worried that Sweden is “in the grip of Islam”. They sent their reporter Dale Hurd on a tour of Malmö, and he returned with this slightly alarmist report about how the Muslims are taking over Sweden’s third largest city.

I don’t have the energy to point out all the flaws in the report, but I would like to draw your attention to a point 01:22 into the clip. My question to Dale is quite simply:

If Sweden is really in the grip of Islam, why in Allah’s name is there a poster advertising ham-in-a-tube on the billboard in the background?

January 12, 2010 at 15:24 3 comments

Count on Me!

I’ve written about gematria before here, so I really shouldn’t have to explain it to you again. But since there might be one or two new readers out there I’m going to do it anyway. Basically, it’s a way of using the Hebrew alphabet to assign a word a certain numerical value and then believing that all words with the same numerical value are somehow connected, or share common qualities or whatever.

Some of you might find it less than convincing, but if you want to try it, I recommend a site I recently discovered called Khochmat Hagimatriyah. Here, you can type in any word and see what other words or phrases share the same numerical value.

I typed in my own name — מיכאל טוסבאינן — and these were some of the results I got:

מבין באופנה גדול

חי בסרט

?מי כאן אוהב פסטה

סקס באמבטיה

אידיוט גמור

and my personal favorite:

גבלס צדק

Convinced? Those of you who find these findings inconclusive, can try for yourselves here.

January 3, 2010 at 18:22 4 comments


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