Mayor of Malmö: Jews to Blame for Antisemitism

January 29, 2010 at 08:38 5 comments

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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Entry filed under: Allosemitism.

Frum Flight Fright The Ultimate Whipping

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. TinTin  |  February 23, 2010 at 19:44

    Every time I read about this article and the interview I shudder and am ashamed to be a Swede, even though I have barely set foot in Malmö. It’s appalling!

    Reply
  • 2. Minorities Don’t Win Elections « A Blog of Two Cities  |  February 27, 2010 at 16:25

    […] place the blame for the problems on the local Jews themselves go on. Since I last wrote about it here, Mr. Reepalu has accused his political opponents of orchestrating a campaign against him in this […]

    Reply
  • […] The south of Sweden is where the Democrats have the majority of their backing. Certain areas have an 86% immigrant population and tensions have been rising in recent years. White flight is on the increase and in places like Malmo, Jewish people are fleeing the city fearing for their lives, something they thought they would never have to do again, after being told they would be ‘halal butchered’, their chapels burned and cemeteries desecrated. […]

    Reply
  • […] Volgens de burgemeester van Malmö hadden de Joden in zijn stad het allemaal aan zichzelf te danken omdat ze voor Israël gingen demonstreren in het centrum van Malmö. Zoiets doe je tenslotte niet in een stad die inmiddels voor een kwart uit moslims bestaat, en waar fundamentalistische moslims steeds meer hun wil opleggen aan de ‘gematigden’. […]

    Reply
  • 5. EenVandaag naait nieuw rechts in Malmö  |  October 28, 2010 at 19:40

    […] Volgens de burgemeester van Malmö hadden de Joden in zijn stad het allemaal aan zichzelf te danken omdat ze voor Israël gingen demonstreren in het centrum van Malmö. Zoiets doe je tenslotte niet in een stad die inmiddels voor een kwart uit moslims bestaat, en waar fundamentalistische moslims steeds meer hun wil opleggen aan de ‘gematigden’. […]

    Reply

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