A Critique of Confused Criticism
On International Workers’ Day earlier this week, the mayor of Malmö, Ilmar Reepalu, participated in the traditional demonstration in Malmö. The tabloid Expressen noted that he marched under the slogan “Stop the occupation of Palestine”, and the paper’s reporter asked Mr. Reepalu if he didn’t think that to be ill-advised, considering the criticism that has been directed at him due to his positions on the Middle East conflict over the last few months. The mayor answered that it was his right to express how he felt about this issue and that he had no intention of hiding it.
And I agree with him completely.
The reason I do, is that – whatever Expressen might claim – no one has questioned Mr. Reepalu’s right to express the opinion that Israel should end the occupation of Palestinian lands. What people have been criticizing, is the fact that the mayor called Zionism a supremacist ideology, indicated that the local Jews in Malmö are to blame for antisemitism directed against them, that they should speak out against Israel if they want to avoid harassment, and that some hidden Israeli lobby is directing a campaign to shut him up.
That’s the problem – not that he wants the Palestinians to have a state of their own. If the support of a Palestinian state was an indicator of antisemitism, then I would be an antisemite too – and so would the majority of Israelis, for that matter.
One could have hoped that Expressen wouldn’t conflate the two quite separate issues.