Estonian-born mayor of Malmö Mr Illmar Reepalu seems to have an inbred need to disseminate hatred of everything Jewish.
He also appears to have a rather uncomfortable relationship with the truth.
And he seems to have a markedly selective grasp of the English language.
In fact, every time he speaks or writes – whatever the language of his choice – he adds further anti-Semitic hatred to a race crisis he deliberately sparked over a year ago when he attempted to prevent Jews from playing tennis in the southern Swedish city of Malmö.
In his latest diatribe, the Social Democratic mayor of Malmö, more than one-quarter of whose population is Muslim, makes a wildly inaccurate claim about the Community Security Trust (CST), a British charitable organisation that, among other things, monitors cases of anti-Semitism in the British Isles. Ilmar Reepalu writes in Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet:
“The UK saw a record increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2009. The Community Security Trust, a Jewish security organisation, says the reason for this is Israel’s offensive in Gaza. But when I say exactly the same thing, I am called an anti-Semite.”
Here follows a lesson in English, truth and integrity all in one:
Start off with what the CST actually wrote, in its own words:
“The reason for this unprecedented rise in antisemitic incidents lies in the reactions to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and southern Israel, which led to record numbers of incidents in January and February.”
(Page 10 of the CST report)
And again, more specifically:
“The unprecedented rise in the number of antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2009 occurred largely because of the extreme reactions to the trigger event of the Gaza conflict …
(Page 23 of the CST report)
At no stage does the CST write, claim or otherwise insinuate that the reason for the spike in anti-Semitic attacks in the UK is because of “Israel’s offensive in Gaza”, as Ilmar Reepalu claims.
The CST makes no value judgements as to who did what first. That is beyond its remit. The CST does not state that Hamas started the conflict by kidnapping an Israeli teenager from inside sovereign Israel. Nor does it state that even before the kidnapping, Hamas had fired more than 10,000 missiles on civilian Israeli communities in southern Israel, with the rate of Hamas missile fire actually increasing during a six-month cease-fire.
Nor, for that matter, does the CST say that Israel’s actions are a subsequent response, or an initiated action, or anything else. It simply notes that the Gaza conflict served as a “trigger event” for a sharp increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the UK. Nothing else.
Mr Reepalu’s misrepresentations do not stem from an inability to understand English.
They stem from his animosity toward Jews.
In Malmö, in the rest of Sweden, in the Middle East and even in Britain.
Several Swedish journalists and politicians have taken the Social Democratic mayor of Sweden’s third-largest city to task for his unsavoury views and his extremist statements.
After weeks and months of highly troubling silence, the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic party, Ms Mona Sahlin, has finally spoken on the subject. Mr Reepalu has previously gone on record as saying that the Jews of Malmö have only themselves to blame for anti-Semitic attacks against them because they did not clearly state their animosity towards the Jewish state of Israel. He has never required that the Muslims of Malmö adopt an equally dismissive stance towards rogue Muslim regimes such as Iran, Hamas, Hizbullah, Saudi Arabia or Somalia, for instance. Disparity in the treatment of two ethnic groups or two religions is recognised the world over as a clear expression of racism.
Now Mr Reepalu’s party leader Mona Sahlin says in an interview with Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet that “Ilmar is not an anti-Semite but rather someone who fights against racism”.
Bearing in mind Mr Reepalu’s track record of animosity towards Jews, this has been perceived as a rather extraordinary statement.
Ms Sahlin had more to say: “Jews deserve strong support but it is also necessary never to confuse the issues of anti-Semitism and Zionism”. Some analysts in Sweden see this as advice to the country’s Jews not to cry “anti-Semitism” every time Swedish Jews are attacked by Islamist and left-wing mobs demonstrating their hatred of the Jewish state by attacking Jews in the streets, Jewish places of worship and Jewish cemeteries. It calls into question Social Democratic party leader Mona Sahlin’s judgement and credibility.
Ms Sahlin, who hopes to win the general elections in Sweden this September, did, however, concede that “Ilmar did make some rather unfortunate statements”.
That might go down in the history books as the understatement of the year. And this is still only February.
Links to articles and blogs condemning Ilmar Reepalu for racism (in Swedish):
Gulan Avci: Are Jews worth nothing to the Social Democrats?
Matthias Sundin: Reepalu is responsible for increase in attacks on Jews
Svenska Dagbladet: Big debate in the media following SvD’s editorial about Reepalu
SvD article: Ilmar Reepalu should resign
SvD article: The Jews flee Malmö as Ilmar Reepalu watches
Sydsvenskan: An unpleasant picture of Malmö emerges