Sweden / 27-04-2012
U.S. Antisemitism envoy confronts Swedish mayor
Malmo - United States anti-Semitism envoy Hannah Rosenthal said on Thursday (April 26) she had very frank discussions with the mayor of Malmo who has been accused by some of harboring anti-Jewish sentiment.
Rosenthal spent two days in Malmo, in southern Sweden, where she held meetings with members of the Jewish community, the city's Interreligious Dialogue Forum and the head of the city council , Ilmar Reepalu who has been accused by the Jewish community of not doing enough to stop antisemitic attitudes.
Reepalu has been quoted as saying that the Jewish community in Sweden's third largest city that bears some responsibility for attacks against it because it has not condemned Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
In an interview with a Swedish magazine earlier this year, Reepalu suggested that the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrat party had "infiltrated" the Jewish community in Malmo to foster "anti-Muslim sentiments". Malmo has a large Muslim population.
Reepalu has been criticized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center for not doing enough to combat hate crimes but he said much of the misunderstanding was due to the misconceptions about the role of the mayor who in Sweden does not have powers over the police.
The Los Angeles-based center also issued a travel advisory, advising Jewish travelers to be careful when travelling in southern Sweden, citing security concerns.