• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

All aboard! We're off to the island of Gotland for our Property of the Week - a home right in the heart of Medieval Visby. Whether you're looking to buy or dying to look - this is the place for you. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
Stockholm Pride glides into seventeenth year
Stockholm Pride. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Stockholm Pride glides into seventeenth year

The largest pride festival in Scandinavia is back for the 17th year in a row. The week promises to be packed with activities - and a glamorous opening gala with Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst. READ  

Preschool teacher arrested for child rape
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Preschool teacher arrested for child rape

A man has been arrested on the suspicion of raping a child at the preschool where he is employed. READ  

Police arrest 17 people after fatal shooting
Police at the scene. Photo: Niklas Luks/TT

Police arrest 17 people after fatal shooting

Seventeen people were arrested during the early hours of Tuesday after a man was shot dead in central Sweden. Several of the suspects were already known to the police for gang crimes. READ  

Cops find 15kg cocaine stash in woman's car

Cops find 15kg cocaine stash in woman's car

A 35-year-old woman faces charges for aggravated narcotic crimes after police found 15 kilogrammes of unusually high-concentrated cocaine in her car. READ  

Opinion
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ

The top six ways the US and Sweden differ

Back home in the US and with a solid Swedish stint under his belt, contributor Steven Schier has listed what he thinks are the six biggest differences between Sweden and the states. READ  

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert
Terrorism expert Ranstorp and a policeman in Norway. Photos: TT

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism expert has come forward criticizing the way Norway has handled its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total problem in intelligence". READ  

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group claimed on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
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

730
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
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
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