Arutz Sheva recently reported, “Bullies in Malmo, Sweden threw stones and snowballs at a 15-year-old Jewish boy and saluted him with Heil Hitler.” Indeed, the Swedish Jewish community has faced increased anti-semitism from Muslim radicals and Neo-Nazis. European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Cantor asserted, “The situation is intolerable for Jews in Malmo, and every week we hear of another attack. The community is slowly being pushed out; it is dying of a thousand cuts. Each attack should be seen and dealt with as a part of a greater pattern to make Jewish life unsustainable in Sweden.” He referred to Sweden as a “center of anti-semitism.”
Indeed, earlier this year, an explosion went off at a Jewish Community Center in Malmo. Also this year, swastikas were discovered sprayed onto the doors of members of the Malmo Jewish community and on the old Jewish cemetery in Malmo. In 2011 and within the first six months of 2012, approximately 40 hate crimes were reported in Malmo. In 2009, the same year as Operation Cast Lead, a group of Holocaust survivors organizing a rally for peace in the Middle East were brutally attacked by an Islamist group. That same year, one American Chabad rabbi living in Malmo reported 15 different anti-Semitic attacks against himself.
According to the Jerusalem Post, “Anti-Semitic hate crimes are on the rise in Sweden, and as in France and Great Britain, the violence and harassment is increasingly a consequence of immigration from the Muslim world. And just as in other parts of Western Europe, there is no reciprocity between the two groups: the war in Gaza caused a sharp rise in anti- Semitic hate crime, while there were no reports of Jewish attacks on Muslims.” The situation is especially difficult for Malmo’s Jews, a city which the Simon Wiesenthal Center advises Jews not to visit.
The attitude of the political leadership in Malmo has not aided the situation. Malmo’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu of the Social Democratic party, was opposed to permitting a Davis Cup Match between Israel and Sweden. He had also previously stated that Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant party with its roots in the Swedish neo-Nazi movement, had “infiltrated” Malmo’s Jewish community in order to turn it against Muslims. Reepalu is also in denial about the plight of Malmo’s Jewish community.
According to Tablet, “When a journalist from the Malmö daily Skånska Dagbladet asked him in January 2010 about growing anti-Semitism in his city, he replied, “We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism in Malmö.” His reaction to the fact that Jews are leaving his city because of anti-Semitism was to maintain that “there have been no attacks against Jews, and if Jews want to leave for Israel that is not a concern for Malmo.” In an interview with Danish television in March 2010, he described criticism about his statements regarding Jews and Zionism as an attack orchestrated by “the Israeli lobby.”” Reepalu has been chided by a representative of the Obama Administration for not doing enough to combat anti-semitism in his city.
Yet according to the Jewish Chronicle, change in policy might come. Municipal commissioner of Malmo Hanna Thome stated, “In 2013, the action plan on discrimination will be revised. We have received views from people and organizations who think we ought to address anti-semitism and antagonism more explicitly than we do currently.” Whether the situation will actually improve or not for the Malmo Jewish community, only time will tell!