Sadly, just a few days after a march to demonstrate solidarity with Malmö’s Jewish community, a violent attack was launched against its community centre. An explosion was heard in the early hours of Friday morning, and stones were thrown at the building. This is of course just the latest in a whole string of incidents.
The Jewish community in Malmö was previously the target of anti-Semitic attacks. Earlier this year, a rabbi was physically assaulted and in 2010, a group of Jews were attacked by Swedish Muslims during a peaceful protest in support of Israel. Also in 2010, an explosion outside Malmo’s only Orthodox synagogue shattered the building’s windows.
It’s bad enough that Jews in Malmö have to put up with continual harassment – and many of course haven’t put up with it but have moved away instead. What is particularly outrageous about Malmö’s situation is the way its Mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, has responded to these continuing provocations. He has denied the significance of antisemitic attacks, expressed indifference at Jewish flight from Malmö, and blamed criticism of his views on the ‘Israel lobby’. Most gallingly, he has responded to attacks by saying he thinks Malmö’s Jews should distance themselves from Israel’s actions.
“We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism in Malmö.”
I suppose he thinks the person who carved ‘Palestina’ on the car of Malmö’s Rabbi a few days ago is just an anti-Zionist making a fair point.
So marked has been Reepalu’s lack of support, that the U.S. State Department’s Envoy on Anti-semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, went to visit him to make a personal appeal for him to rethink his approach. She reported that it was a frank discussion in which they parted holding different views.
Reepalu has condemned this latest attack, but only in the most deplorably feeble way.
“It’s a terrible incident which damages different groups in Malmö as well as Malmö’s brand,” he told the TT news agency.