Swedish mayor blasts Zionism at holocaust memorial....
Sweden is now beyond the pale...
Jewish residents in Malmo are furious after the Swedish town's mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, equated Zionism to anti-Semitism in an interview published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
During the interview with Skanska Dagbladet newspaper, Reepalu was asked whether he considered a public condemnation of anti-Semitism in Malmo. The mayor responded that "Malmo does not accept anti-Semitism and does not accept Zionism," charging that both adopt extreme positions towards certain groups.
Reepalu added that local Jews bear some responsibility for the attitude towards them, noting that "they have the possibility to affect the way they are seen by society." The mayor then urged Malmo's Jewish community to "distance itself" from Israeli attacks on Gaza's civilian population.
"Instead, the community chose to hold a pro-Israel demonstration," he said, adding that such move "may convey the wrong message to others."
Charlotte Wiberg of the Swedish Committee against Anti-Semitism expressed deep concern in the wake of the mayor's words.
"Reepalu does not address other communities in a similar manner and his words constitute discrimination against local Jews," she said. "Reepalu chose not to show solidarity with Jews facing danger in Malmo, but rather, with the people who wish to marginalize a religious group because of Israel's policy. Moreover, Reepalu demonstrated historical ignorance by comparing Zionism to anti-Semitism."
Swastikas next to Stars of David
"Each year the situation gets worse. Living conditions in the city have become intolerable for Jews. Sometimes children need to be accompanied by guards when they go to kindergarten, and there are always guards around the Jewish Center, which Muslims have tried to break into a few times," Marcus Eilenberg, a Jewish resident of Malmo, told Ynet.
"Stones being thrown at the center and other Jewish institutions has become a routine occurrence," he said, "Graffiti is scrawled on the walls including swastikas next to Stars of David and 'Hitler'. My children can't go to any Jewish activities without security. It's very sad."
Eilenberg and his children
According to Eilenberg, it is this situation that led him to move to Israel together with his wife and their two children.
Regarding the words of the mayor, Eilenberg said the attitude to Jews had become worse since Operation Cast Lead.
"The mayor didn't denounce the aggression against Jews during the operation. On the contrary, he took advantage of the situation to attack Israel and in effect legitimized the aggression. After there were demonstrations against Jews here, we held a quiet vigil in support of Israel and the children of Sderot in the Jewish Center, and then dozens of Muslims attacked us, threw stones and glass at us, and tried to cut through the fence of the center. Some people were hurt, but luckily the police arrived," he said.
Eilenberg said that in his opinion this was the straw that broke the camel's back.