Jewish leaders in Sweden, party officials to meet over Malmo mayor’s rhetoric


(JTA) — Leaders of the Social Democratic Party in Sweden will meet with Jewish community representatives following charges that the mayor of Malmo, a party member, has been spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Ilmar Reepalu last week 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."

Jewish community officials sent a letter to Social Democratic head Stefan Lofven condemning Reepalu’s rhetoric. The letter, which was signed by the 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.

Lofven and Social Democratic Party secretary Carin Jamtin agreed to meet with Jewish community leaders to discuss the comments and actions of Reepalu, who also is being criticized by members of his own party. No date has been scheduled for the meeting.

"I’ve never been an anti-Semite and never will be," Reepalu told Haaretz.

In 2010, Reepalu said that a group of Jews in Malmo who were attacked by Swedish Muslims during a peaceful protest in support of Israel brought the violence upon themselves for not distancing themselves from Israel and its actions during the monthlong Gaza War in 2008-09.

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