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Talks called over 'anti-Semitic' Malmö mayor

Talks called over 'anti-Semitic' Malmö mayor

Published: 27 Mar 2012 12:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Mar 2012 12:18 GMT+02:00

Concerns expressed by Sweden's Jewish community over the "anti-Semitic" rhetoric of Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu have prompted Social Democrat head Stefan Löfven to call a meeting to discuss the issue.

In an interview published last week in the liberal-leaning magazine, Reepalu alleged that the Sweden Democrats, a political party with a clear anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim line which has its roots in Sweden's neo-Nazi movement, had "infiltrated" the Jewish community in Malmö to foster anti-Muslim sentiments.

While Reepalu later said he had "no basis" for the remarks, the interview riled Sweden's Jewish community and prompted the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities (Judiska centralrådet i Sverige – JC) to send a letter to Löfven blasting Reepalu's "anti-Semitic" rhetoric.

Speaking with the TT news agency following the release of the Jewish community's letter, Reepalu once again defended himself.

"I've never been an anti-Semite and never will be," he said.

In response to the letter, Löfven and Social Democrat party secretary Carin Jämtin have agreed to meet with Jewish community leaders to discuss the comments and actions of the Malmö mayor, who has now also come in for criticism from his own party colleagues.

"I still have confidence in Ilmar, but these comments are extremely unfortunate. It doesn't help that he says that he's not an anti-Semite," Heléne Fritzon, chair of the Social Demcrats' party chair in Skåne to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

She explained that she has received a number of letters from party members expressing their disappointment.

Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, a Social Democrat and deputy chair of the Malmö municipal council, also expressed her frustration over Reepalu's comments.

"His comments create mistrust. And damage relationships which we must now try and rebuild," she told DN.

While some party colleagues are have expressed concerns of Reepalu's statements, no prominent Social Democrats have openly called for him to be removed from office or formally disciplined over the issue.

"There have been statements that can give one cause for reflection. But on the whole, Ilmar is a good and worthy representative for social democracy," Anna Johansson, Social Demcrat party chair in Gothenburg, told the paper.

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Your comments about this article

12:48 March 27, 2012 by JulieLou40
They really need to fire this guy, and get a new mayor in Malmö. Preferably a Jewish person.
13:21 March 27, 2012 by truthworthy
Oh yeah. Anyone who criticizes Jews will be labeled anti-Semitic and punished. Those who go step further and spread plain hatred towards Muslims are labeled freedom of speech preachers.

I wonder when HYPOCRACY became DEMOCRACY.
13:38 March 27, 2012 by soultraveler3
Tbh, both groups jump way to quickly to calling people anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim.

The PC attitude is so strong here and in many places now that saying anything that doesn't fit in with what you "should say" automatically makes you a bigot, racist or some other nonsense even if what you're saying is true.

What you "should say" btw, is totally dependent on the group. If a group is in vogue currently with politicians, just don't say anything. If that group isn't in vogue (gypsies for example) it's okay to say whatever bigoted, hateful things you like about them.

I agree with truthworthy that hypocrisy is running rampant atm, but JulieLou is also right. The mayor has crossed the line between having an unpopular opinion and has laid the blame for his city's problems on a group of people that have been there for a very long time without any problems. He's made it more dangerous for Jews in Malmö and almost seems to be encouraging poor treatment of them. It's time to get a new mayor.
13:48 March 27, 2012 by AbangBeruang
The Jewish communities are acting like cry babies here! I don't see any anti-antisemitism in this comment. Grow up, guys! Learn to swallow some criticisms at some point of time. If the Jewish community hurls antisemitism allegations on anyone who criticizes them, then normal folks like me will start loosing our sympathies on Jewish causes.
14:00 March 27, 2012 by calebian22
If this was Reepalu's first misstep, it might be forgiveable. Considering his history of missteps with anti-Jewish sentiment, the calls for his resignation are legitimate.
14:06 March 27, 2012 by NickO.
"Reepalu alleged that the Sweden Democrats, a political party with a clear anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim line which has its roots in Sweden's neo-Nazi movement---"

What the hell kind of description of a party is that?

The Social Democrats no doubt have roots in the extreme socialist movement but you don't bring that up whenever you mention them.

Pretty blatant bias against the Sweden Democrats shown here.
14:12 March 27, 2012 by Frobobbles
Reepalu has never said anything antisemitic. He is just telling us what he has seen with his own eyes. "- Jag vet inte riktigt hur de här grupperna ser ut, men jag blev väldigt förvånad när jag blev medveten om den starka kopplingen mellan judiska församlingen och Sverigedemokraterna. Jag visste inte att den fanns, men när jag går på möten hos församlingen ser jag Kent Ekeroth, en av de tuffaste från SD." So he has personally met this Ekertoh at one of the organisations meetings. Why don't the organisation explain this, instead of yelling so hysterically?
14:45 March 27, 2012 by engagebrain
The antisemitism comes from accusing the Jews of Malmo of associating with the Swedish right wing - and then Reepalu says his statement was not true - so why say it ?

This plus a track record puts Reepalu solidly in the frame.
14:46 March 27, 2012 by nar klockan klamtar
It's time the rug was pulled from under this purveyor of blatant vile anti semitism. He has done untold harm to Sweden. It would be good to see a member of the Jewish community run as Mayor, but I guess that few now remain in Malmo, which is a great pity for Malmo, and a disgrace for Sweden.
15:28 March 27, 2012 by acidcritic
An israeli journalist denounced some weeks ago that in a poll made to jews living in Israel, more than 60% of the polled answered yes to the following two questions: first: Do you believe jews are a superior race? and second: do you believe jews are a people chosen by God? The journalist told the he was truly "frightened" by the answers. That`s rampant racism. The jews always overreact to critics. Their answer is always the same: you are an antisemit, a jews killer and a nazi. I advice them to read the book: "The Non Jewish Jew", by Issak Deutsher. Deutsher was a revolutionary intelectual jew. During the October russian revolution he fighted along with Lenin. Deutsher tells that the problems the jews had were due to jewish behavior.
15:30 March 27, 2012 by bcterry
"It would be good to see a member of the Jewish community run as Mayor"

LOL, good one. :)
16:06 March 27, 2012 by RobinHood
".... no prominent Social Democrats have openly called for him to be removed from office or formally disciplined over the issue."

Why not? What's wrong with them? Do the Social Democrats agree with him? It seems they do!
16:21 March 27, 2012 by engagebrain
acidcritic - and the same questions addressed to Muslims would produce what by way of answers ?

as to jews being chosen by god, it turned out to be a very bad arrangement. The context would be chosen to do something, rather than chosen for a prize - say lots of oil. Jews have just managed survive the love of their Muslim and Christian coreligionists.
16:59 March 27, 2012 by Frobobbles
engagebrain, but they ARE associating with Ekeroth, Reepaly met him at their meeting! That is what he has seen, and tells us about.
16:30 March 30, 2012 by guliver
Aangberuang -"I do not see any anti semitic.."-leave the Jews in Malmo in peace let them pray in their Synagouges without minnaces, stop bother them phisicly and verbaly,stop the vandalism in their cemeteries and stop blaming them in what happen in Israel ,they are not responsabile for that.

Acidcritic"choosen people superiore race?who did that poll?Hamas? I have never heard about it I am Israeli who live here since I was born,just one answer to you:NONESENSE, no Israeli believe in such things , no party even Israel Beteynu of Lieberman has such nonesense on its Agenda because it is contrary on our Independence Declaration from 1948 in which Israel must respect all its citizens and give them equal rights in health social security ,right of speech and right of having its own represent in Knesset, ask KM Ahmed Tibi from Raham Tahal who calls for the destruction of its own country inour parlaiment.
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