• Sweden's news in English

Talks called over 'anti-Semitic' Malmö mayor

27 Mar 2012, 12:18

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

"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.

The Local/dl


Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.
Today's headlines
Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available