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Party head says Swedish mayor’s comments were ‘wrong’

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(JTA) — Anti-Semitic comments made by Malmo Mayor Ilmar Reepalu were "wrong," the head of his Swedish Social Democratic Party said while expressing confidence in Reepalu.

Stefan Lofven made his remarks following a meeting Monday with Jewish community leaders at Social Democrat headquarters in Stockholm.

"I have confidence in him, but it’s clear that the statements he’s made haven’t been good and I’ve been very clear that it’s unfortunately that they were viewed as anything other than what the party stands for," Lofven said of Reepalu. "I want to improve dialogue with the Jewish community in Malmo, for which Ilmar Reepalu has a great deal of responsibility."

Lena Posner Korosi, chair of the Jewish Community in Stockholm, called the meeting "constructive," according to reports.

Reepalu last month told a Swedish magazine that the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Sweden Democrats party had "infiltrated" the city’s Jewish community in order to turn it against Muslims. Reepalu later said he had no basis for his remarks and that he "shouldn’t have said it that way."

In a letter to Lofven last month calling for the meeting, heads of the Jewish communities of Malmo, Stockholm and Gothenburg said Reepalu no longer had any credibility among the Jews of Sweden.

"Regardless of what he says and does from now on, we don’t trust him," the letter said.
 

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