WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. envoy to combat anti-Semitism, will meet with the mayor of Malmo, Sweden, who is accused of fomenting anti-Semitism.
"I will be meeting with the mayor, I am aware of his remarks and I will express my concern," Rosenthal told JTA on Wednesday just before her departure for a tour of Sweden and Latvia.
Ilmar 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."
He has also said that his city’s tiny Jewish community bears some responsibility for physical attacks against it because the community has not condemned Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Rosenthal had said she was planning to visit Sweden this year in any case to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, the diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews before disappearing under Soviet occupation. However, she was spurred to go now because of the Malmo controversy.
Rosenthal also will visit Latvia to observe its Holocaust commemorations and tour its Holocaust commemoration sites.
She said she will raise with Latvian leaders the issue of an annual march honoring that nation’s veterans of the Waffen SS, the armed wing of the Nazi party.