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 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.
Entry filed under: Allosemitism.