• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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

The Local · 5 Feb 2013, 15:51

Published: 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."

Story continues below…

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

Related links:

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
Police resources back to normal after terror threat
The headquarters where Säpo, Sweden's security police is based. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedish police say they're no longer deploying extra resources following a reported terror threat in the run-up to Eurovision.

Why this fearless woman is the talk of Sweden
Photo: David Lagerlöf/Expo/TT

Swedes are calling this picture an instant icon.

Opinion
'Swedes, please give your sperm a purpose'
File picture of an embryo. Photo: Richard Drew/AP

Swedish men should stop jerking off in public places and start donating sperm to help single women have babies, argues Stockholm-based writer Matilda Karlsson.

Petrol firm tries to woo women to pumps with new name
A Statoil station in Enköping. Photo: Fredrik Strandberg/TT

A Statoil petrol station in Stockholm today becomes the first in Europe to get a makeover.

Half of Swedes support law banning begging
A man begs for money on Hamngatan in central Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Only one political party in Sweden wants a ban on begging, but half the population shares their view, a new survey shows.

Presented by Stockholm University
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Photo: Stockholm University

Thousands of outstanding researchers from across the globe have chosen to make Stockholm University their home and hub. What is it that attracts them? We asked.

Stockholm taxi drivers 'help clients find prostitutes'
A Taxi Stockholm car driving in the capital. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Drivers from Stockholm’s biggest taxi firm are suspected of helping fuel the sex trade despite the purchase of sex being illegal in Sweden.

Eurovision 2016
Eurovision set for US as gay channel announces live show
Eurovision flags flying in Stockholm this week. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Now you can watch Eurovision in the US too.

'Isis' kids get taken into care in central Sweden
File picture of children in the middle east. Photo: AP /Manu Brabo

Three siblings authorities feared could be forced to go abroad to get married or fight alongside extremists have been taken into care in central Sweden.

Eurovision 2016
Palestine envoy angry at 'insulting' flag ban
The Palestinian flag (left) was included on the same banned list as that of Islamic State (right)

The Palestinian Ambassador to Sweden has waded into the row over a Eurovision ban on the Palestinian flag calling it "insulting" and "a big mistake".

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
National
Sweden set for sunny weekend
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vollsjö, Sjöbo
Features
How to be a cool Swede during a hot summer
Blog updates

29 April

Editor’s blog, April 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Relations between Sweden and Russia went from slightly strained to full-on James Bond this…" READ »

 

18 April

A day as a guard (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Life as an Ambassador. Driven around in the Jaguar. Visits all planned so you go straight…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Kista: The best office space in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: April 29th - May 1st
Sponsored Article
'Swedes must realize only soft power can defeat radicalism'
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
National
INTERVIEW: Swedish police officer 'beat me up and used racial slurs'
Gallery
People-watching: April 27th
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
Öresund bridge border checks net record number of drink drivers
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
National
Swedes bid farewell to iconic Volvo
Gallery
Property of the week: Enköping
Sponsored Article
Why international researchers love to call Malmö home
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Politics
Could Brits in Europe stop Brexit?
National
The first official picture of Sweden's new royal Prince Alexander
Sponsored Article
‘Life in Stockholm’s suburbs is better than people realize’
National
Sweden's Sami reindeer still live in the shadow of Chernobyl
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 20th
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
National
Why was a Nazi flag hoisted in a Swedish town on Hitler's birthday?
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
How did Sweden's deputy PM get in trouble over New York comments?
Sponsored Article
Sigtunaskolan: 'The best of what Sweden has to offer'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 16th-17th
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Culture
Sweden finally axes historic dancing ban
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
International
Have you phoned Sweden yet?
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 13th
National
Is booze going up in Sweden?
National
How Sweden's fake 'smombie' traffic sign is being used for real
3,278
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se