Malmo Jews Not Cowed by New Attack

Firebombing at Community Center Strengthens Determination

No Surrender: Jews and supporters gather outside a community center in Malmo, Sweden that was hit by a firebomb attack.
getty images
No Surrender: Jews and supporters gather outside a community center in Malmo, Sweden that was hit by a firebomb attack.

By JTA

Published October 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

“The community here used to keep a low profile, but there’s a feeling that we are lost if we do nothing now,” Frederik Sieradski, a spokesman for the Malmo Jewish community, told JTA during a recent solidarity trip that Jews from Copenhagen, Denmark, made to his city of 300,000 – the third largest in Sweden.

The newly aggressive public actions by Jews against anti-Semitism mark a significant shift for Swedish Jews, according to Mikael Tossavainen, a Swedish-born researcher of anti-Semitism in Scandinavia at Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary Jewry.

Tossavainen noted that a “very similar attack” against Malmo’s only Orthodox synagogue in 2010 “attracted far less international attention and response” than the Sept. 28 attack.

The emergence of the kipah walks was a major factor in attracting attention to the problem in Malmo, he said. Another factor, Tossavainen said, was the city’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, who made international headlines when he advised Jews who want to be safe in Malmo to reject Zionism.

Though he has condemned anti-Semitism, Reepalu has called Zionism a form of “extremism” comparable with anti-Semitism and said the Jewish community has been “infiltrated” by anti-Muslim agents.

During her visit to the country in June, Hannah Rosenthal, the Obama administration’s special envoy for combating anti-Semitism, said Malmo under Reepalu is a prime example of “new anti-Semitism,” where anti-Israel sentiment serves as a thin guise for Jew-hatred.

Since her visit, Malmo police have been more willing to follow up on complaints about anti-Semitism, according to Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, an envoy of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement to Malmo.

Data by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that in the years 2009-2011, Malmo saw an average of 70 anti-Semitic incidents a year.

Daisy Balkin Rung, a Jewish woman who grew up in Malmo but left years ago, came to a different conclusion after the attack. In a controversial Op-Ed on the website of Sweden’s TV4 that generated chatter on media outlets throughout the country, Rung called on Jews to leave Malmo.

“It’s sad to admit: The kipah walks are a good thing, but they are not changing the situation in Malmo,” Rung told JTA. “I’m afraid Malmo is one battle which the other side has won.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.