(JTA) — A suburban Stockholm politician resigned after questioning the Holocaust, becoming the third public figure in Sweden to be embroiled in controversy involving anti-Semitism in recent weeks.
Alexander Kieding, an alderman in Jarna, resigned last week from his rightist Swedish Democrats party and the City Council hours after the publication of an interview in which he said the Holocaust may have never happened, or that “Israel inflated the number” of victims.
The online edition of the Expo Idag daily, which published the interview, reported that Kielding left at the request of the leadership of the nationalist party, which was founded in 1988 but crossed Sweden’s 4 percent voting threshold only in 2010. It now has 20 seats in the 349-seat parliament and also is represented in 612 of Sweden’s 12,978 municipal councils.
On March 20, another one of the party’s aldermen, Mikael Hoglund, said in an interview with Expo Idag that the party “hates Muslims” because of Jews. Hoglund, of Upplands-Bro near Stockholm, singled out one of the party’s prominent lawmakers, Kent Ekeroth, who said in 2010 that his mother was a Jew of Polish descent. Hoglund also said Jews control the White House.
The party, which faced condemnations from across the political spectrum for the words of both representatives, has distanced itself from their statements.
Meanwhile, the left-leaning Social Democratic party of Sweden — the country’s largest — also has been criticized for what was perceived as a display of anti-Semitic sentiments by one of its representatives.
Expo Idag published an article this week alleging that Omar Mustafa, the chairman of the Islamic Association in Sweden and a member of the party’s steering committee, showed support on Facebook for anti-Semitic Muslim preachers, including Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric who encourages suicide attacks against Israelis and has called the Holocaust “Allah’s punishment.”