Bomb blast at Malmo community centre in Sweden

By Orlando Radice and Nathalie Rothschild, October 4, 2012
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Malmo’s Rabbi Schneur Kesselman

Malmo’s Rabbi Schneur Kesselman

A small bomb was set off outside Malmo’s Jewish community centre last Friday, just a week after Copenhagen Chabad organised a trip to Malmo to show solidarity over virulent antisemitism in the Swedish city.

No one was injured in the blast, which occurred at around 1am last Friday morning, but the residents of the centre were left traumatised.

Hours after the explosion, a group of 70 demonstrators gathered outside the building to show their support for the Jewish community.

Malmo’s Rabbi Schneur Kesselman said: “There has been a degree of extra security during the High Holy Days, extra barricades around the synagogue, that sort of thing. It is as if they are saying: don’t forget, we are here.”

Two men aged 18 were arrested by Swedish police in connection with the explosion. They were released hours after their arrest, but remain under suspicion.

Around 200 people are expected to gather at Stockholm’s Raoul Wallenberg Square on Sunday to show solidarity with Malmo’s Jews.

Malmo’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, who has been heavily criticised for failing to tackle antisemitism in the city, told TT news agency that he would contact the Jewish community.

“This is a criminal act,” he said. On being asked whether the incident damaged Malmo’s reputation, he said: “Of course, every shooting and every blast does. And that which is directed against congregations is extremely serious.”

Meanwhile, a new study has found that, in Europe, Swedes harbour the most negative views of Israel.

Sixty-eight per cent of Swedish respondents to the 2012 Transatlantic Trends survey expressed an unfavourable view of Israel, compared to an average of 51 per cent among all EU respondents and 32 per cent of Americans.

Anna Jardfelt, director of the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, said Swedes’ views of Israel could be connected to the Middle East conflict or with Sweden’s bilateral relations with Israel.

Ms Jardfeldt added that the media and the public conversation also “play an important part in how the population views various issues. It is important to look at what is behind Swedes’ views of Israel, especially since they stand out from other nations.

Last updated: 12:28pm, October 4 2012