• Sweden edition
 
Anti-Semitism row 'could mar' Reepalu's legacy

Anti-Semitism row 'could mar' Reepalu's legacy

Published: 05 Feb 2013 15:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Feb 2013 15:51 GMT+01:00

Reepalu, 69, will bring his 19-year tenure to an end on July 1st. He addressed the anti-Semitism accusations, which have marred his latter years in charge, in a farewell editorial in newspaper Sydsvenskan, saying that his words had been misinterpreted.

Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, who has been on the receiving end of several anti-Semitic attacks, told The Local that he wouldn't miss Reepalu.

"This issue was not about somebody stepping down but about taking responsibility. I truly hope that whoever takes his place is more responsible," Kesselman said.

Kesselman, who dresses in traditional Jewish attire, has been physically attacked on the street and had the word Palestina carved into his car since moving to Malmö in 2004.

"Reeplau crossed the line on occasion with his comments and I just hope that his successor sees the reality of the situation," the US native added.

"Many Jewish people living in Malmö have lost their sense of security because of his comments. The problem goes much deeper."

At the beginning of 2011, Reepalu defended himself against anti-Semitism accusations.

"When people say that we have a right to take your land because we have some form of thousand-year promise from God that this is our land, then it creates conflicts," Reepalu said to the regional Sydsvenskan newspaper.

"Then they say that I am anti-Semitic when I put this across. I am flabbergasted that they are then able to tie all this together."

Frederik Sieradski, a spokesman for the Malmö Jewish community, told The Local that he didn’t wish to make a political statement regarding Reepalu’s imminent departure.

SEE ALSO: Malmö residents weigh in on Ilmar Reepalu's legacy

Sieradski did add, however, that he wasn’t surprised the mayor was quitting as he approaches his 70th birthday.

"I just hope that the person who replaces him will cooperate with the Jewish community," Sieradski said.

"It is important that there be respect and understanding for all faiths."

Reepalu’s work on revitalizing Malmö as a post-industrial city was praised by Jehoshua Kaufman. The organizer of the city’s kippah walks said he didn’t see a connection between the mayor’s decision to quit and the anti-Semitism scandal.

"If you look at what he has done for the city, then he has been really good," said Kaufman.

"Reepalu transformed the city from a port town to a post-industrial place with a lot of enterprise. He changed the outlook of the city."

Kaufman suggested that Reepalu's issues with the Jewish community would inevitably play a part in defining his legacy.

"From the outside, he will probably be known as the mayor who was accused of anti-Semitism. It is a little unfair if that is all he is remembered for, but at the same time he only has himself to blame. I wish him well in his retirement."

Reepalu's role in tackling Malmö’s record deficit was hailed by his Social Democrat colleague Joakim Sandell. Upon taking the reins in 1994, Sweden’s third largest city was 1.3 billion kronor ($206 million) in the red and had an unemployment rate of 22 percent.

"Malmö is an exceptionally different city now than before he took over. Now people want to move here, we have a university and landmarks like the Turning Torso," said the chairman of the Malmö Social Democrats.

Sandell also addressed the anti-Semitism furore, saying that Reepalu had been "deeply affected" by the accusations.

"Hopefully people will see the bigger picture and the role he has played in reorganizing the city."

Patrick Reilly

Follow Patrick on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

16:43 February 5, 2013 by Rishonim
There is no such thing as traditional Jewish attire. Black suit, white shirt,Tallit katan and a Borsalino hat is the classical garbs of the Hasidic Jews. Jews from Morocco, Iraq or Iran dont dress like that....
20:08 February 5, 2013 by bcterry
So what?

It's religious attire, and it clearly identifies they are Jews.
20:29 February 5, 2013 by johan rebel
"Could mar"?

Already irreversibly marred.
20:57 February 5, 2013 by Rishonim
@bcterry. No it doesn't Amish wear the same clothes, so with your logic they should be identified as Jews as well?
01:11 February 6, 2013 by Children Of Adam
I wonder when the Jews would stop playing with anti antisemitic card?

Any one who try to speak about Israel they are labelled right away as Antisemitic person. This card never gets old huh?
05:31 February 6, 2013 by dekamikaze
Just like you muslims isn't it, if people try to speak about you muslims they are labelled right away as racists right?
05:57 February 6, 2013 by engagebrain
Children of Adam

Racists love to play the

'I wonder when the Jews would stop playing with anti antisemitic card' card.

It's not a card, racism and antisemitism exist and should be denounced.

It is quite possible to criticise Israel without being antisemitic but the tiny jewish population of Malmo are not Israel and are not responsible for Israel's actions.

Children of Adam - odd name, something to do with denying evolution ?
11:03 February 6, 2013 by MangeF
The accusations are a joke. The fact that Obama sent a special convoy to Malmö gotta make the oblivious bystander scratch their head in confusion. Reepalu is not an anti-Semite in any way, shape or form. I am in fact an anti-Semite, so I would know.
11:40 February 6, 2013 by engagebrain
MangeF

'Reepalu is not an anti-Semite in any way, shape or form. I am in fact an anti-Semite, so I would know'

what is the identifying feature, smell, mad eyes, secret badge, handshake ?

marks for honesty and for not playing the ' i'm a racist because my parents were racists, card'
15:03 February 6, 2013 by bcterry
Rishonim,

You really want to go there?

When was the last time an Amish was attacked on the street in Malmo, or anywhere in Sweden, and where are Amish colonies located in Sweden?

Documented verifiable references.
17:00 February 6, 2013 by Rishonim
My point is that there is no such thing as traditional Jewish attire; whereas the author is alluding that Jews go about wearing their trademark clothing. The author should get his facts straight. Maybe he should stress the traditional Haredim clothing

Documented verifiable reference.
16:25 February 7, 2013 by bcterry
So you concede they are easy to spot because of their religious attire.

Look up traditional jewish religious attire, there are lots of examples.
20:34 February 7, 2013 by godnatt
Well if this is a democracy than being an anti-Semitic scumbag who thinks Jews should be run out of Sweden, then Europe then off the face of the earth is his job...

He's simply representing the interests of his "new Swede" constituents down there in Beautiful Baghdad... I mean Malmö.
00:48 February 9, 2013 by bcterry
Muslims make up 20% of Malmo's population, that's a hell of a large jew hating voting block.
Today's headlines
Ebola crisis
Stockholm patient does not have Ebola
Infection clinic at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Stockholm patient does not have Ebola

UPDATED: A patient at a Stockholm hospital was told on Monday morning that he does not have Ebola, after he was forced to spend the night in isolation. READ  

Business & Money
Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts
Photo: TT

Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts

Swedish electrical appliance maker Electrolux reported its third-quarter net profit soared 42 percent to 933 million kronor ($130 million) thanks to a cost-cutting programme started at the end of last year. READ  

National
School photographer fired for homophobic slur
Photo credit: Shutterstock

School photographer fired for homophobic slur

A photographer at a high school in southern Sweden was sacked after he called one of the students a "fag" during a shoot. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
No let-up in search for foreign vessel
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

No let-up in search for foreign vessel

A hunt for foreign underwater activity near Stockholm entered its fourth day on Monday as Sweden’s armed forces vowed to keep searching “day and night” for what media reports suggest may be a damaged Russian vessel. READ  

Ebola crisis
Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

A male passenger who landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport has been transferred to an isolation unit amid fears he may be suffering from the Ebola virus. But a specialist was keen to play down concerns. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast
Photo: Swedish Armed Forces

Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast

Sweden’s Armed Forces have said it is likely a foreign power is conducting operations in Swedish waters, and have released pictures of a suspicious object seen in the Stockholm Archipelago. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Mystery deepens over reported Russian sub
The HMS Visby combs the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday as the military operation continues. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Mystery deepens over reported Russian sub

Mystery deepened on Sunday over a Swedish military operation triggered by "foreign underwater activity" off the coast of Stockholm, amid an unconfirmed report of a hunt for a damaged Russian submarine. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Russia: No emergencies involving warships
A military patrol in the Stockholm archipelago during the ongoing submarine hunt on Saturday. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Russia: No emergencies involving warships

Russia's defence ministry has said there are no emergency situations involving any its warships amid reports that a Russian distress call prompted Sweden's hunt for "foreign underwater activity." READ  

National
Cops do boy's homework after burglar call out
Photo: Shutterstock

Cops do boy's homework after burglar call out

An 11-year-old boy in Stockholm ended up getting help with his homework by the police after he rang them up saying he was concerned a burglar was breaking into his house. READ  

Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Dewani honeymoon hitman dies in jail
British businessman Shrien Dewani appears in the high court in Cape Town. Photo: TT

Dewani honeymoon hitman dies in jail

A man convicted of killing British businessman Shrien Dewani's bride has died in a South African prison, officials said Saturday,just days after Dewani himself went on trial for her murder. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Gallery
Stefan Löfven through the years
Gallery
People-watching: October 1st
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

979
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN