Malmö youth politicians probed for anti-Zionist chant

The Local Sweden
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Malmö youth politicians probed for anti-Zionist chant
The Social Democrat's youth wing SSU risks losing a key grant. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

A Swedish government agency has launched an investigation into the youth wing of Malmö's centre-left Social Democrats after one of its activists chanted the words "Crush Zionism" during the party's procession on Labour Day.


The SSU Malmö group could be partially stripped of its funding if the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society rules that it broke acceptable standards. 
"According to our guidelines, we launch investigations like this when we receive information which might affect the possibility of continuing an existing grant," Lotta Persson, the agency's legal head, told Swedish state broadcaster SVT
The chant, which SSU initially claimed had long been a fixture of labour movement marches, repeats the words, "Long live Palestine, Crush Zionism". 
But the decision to sing it this Labour Day has led to major fallout. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Malmö Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, and the chairman of the city's Social Democrats all strongly criticized the decision to sing it. 
"This expression creates a debate which leads people to think that SSU is pushing anti-Semitic politics," Stjernfeldt Jammeh said. "I think that's unfortunate. There's no place for anti-Semitism in Social Democrat politics." 
"In Social Democracy, in the labour movement, there is zero tolerance for anti-Semitism," Löfven said in the Swedish parliament on Wednesday. "All who want to to be a part of the labour movement must stand up 100 percent against anti-Semitism." 
Electra Ververidis, SSU's chair, initially defended the song, claiming that was directed at Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories rather than at Israel's right to exist. 
But on Sunday, she gave an apology, pledging not to sing the song again and to meet with Malmö's Jewish congregation.
"We are sorry that the Jewish synagogue and its members have reacted badly to this," she said. 
"SSU Skåne is therefore taking the initiative to start a dialogue with the Jewish congregation in Malmö and the Swedish committee against anti-Semitism, with the aim of personally passing over our apologies, and at the same time to listen to how we can work together to fight anti-Semitism and other forms or repression together." 


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