Malmo U-turn over policy on antisemitism

By Orlando Radice, October 11, 2012
Malmo’s Mayor Ilmar Reepalu

Malmo’s Mayor Ilmar Reepalu

Malmo council will alter its policy on discrimination after it emerged that it has no specific stance on antisemitism, despite regular hate attacks against Jews in the Swedish city.

Municipal commissioner Hanna Thomé said this week: “In 2013, the action plan on discrimination will be revised. We have received views from people and organisations who think we ought to address antisemitism and antagonism more explicitly than we do currently.”

Malmo’s 1500-strong Jewish community are afraid to walk the streets for fear of being attacked and abused. Two weeks ago, a bomb was set off outside the Jewish community centre.

When asked three weeks ago whether it recognised that antisemitism was a major problem in the city and what could be done about it, Malmo council initially failed to answer. However, it recommended that the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish community, Fred Kahn, could provide some answers.Last week, Björn Lagerbäck, who oversees the council’s “Dialogue Forum”, released a statement saying that the council was creating a new “Conflict Council” to “combat hate crime of an ethnic or religious nature”. Neither the words “Jew” or “antisemitism” featured in the statement.

Malmo’s Mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, who has in the past said that if Jews want to avoid being attacked they should denounce Israel’s policies, last week put out a statement condemning “discrimination”, but also failed to mention Jews or antisemitism.

Last Sunday, 300 people gathered in Raoul Wallenberg Square in Stockholm to show solidarity with the Jews of Malmo.

Last updated: 2:45pm, October 11 2012