U.S. Sends Anti-Israel Advisor to Anti-Semitic Sweden (JEWISH PRESS) By: Soeren Kern 04/17/12)
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U.S. President Barack Obama’s controversial anti-Semitism advisor,
Hannah Rosenthal, will be visiting Sweden on April 24 to meet with
Ilmar Reepalu, the famously anti-Israel mayor of the city of Malmö.
According to the American embassy in Stockholm, Rosenthal has been
following the rise of anti-Semitism in Malmö for some time and wants
to make sure that there are no politicians in the area that encourage
discrimination, racism, or hatred against Jews.
Rosenthal’s visit to Sweden is likely to amount to little more than
an empty photo opportunity. This is because Rosenthal and Reepalu are
both self-styled “progressives” who hold the insidious belief that
Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism because of their support for
Like other European countries, Sweden has experienced a significant
uptick in anti-Semitic hate-crimes in recent years. Jews in Sweden
are frequently subject to harassment and some have been physically
assaulted; Jewish cemeteries in the country have repeatedly been
desecrated; Jewish worshippers have been abused on their way home
from prayer; and Jews have been taunted in the streets by masked men
chanting phrases such as “Hitler, Hitler” and “Dirty Jew.” Some Jews
in Sweden have stopped attending prayer services out of fear for
The problem of anti-Semitism in Sweden is so widespread that the Los
Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center has advised Jews to avoid
traveling to the country altogether. “We reluctantly are issuing this
advisory because religious Jews and other members of the Jewish
community there have been subject to anti-Semitic taunts and
harassment. There have been dozens of incidents reported to the
authorities but have not resulted in arrests or convictions for hate
crimes,” the center said in a statement.
Malmö, the third-largest city in Sweden, has become an especially
hostile place for Jews, who are increasingly subjected to threats,
intimidation, and physical violence.
The only synagogue serving Malmö’s 700-strong Jewish community has
been a frequent target of attack. The synagogue, which is often the
target of bomb threats, has also been set on fire, and now has
security guards stationed around the building. The windows of the
synagogue have been replaced with bullet-proof glass, while the
Jewish kindergarten can only be reached through reinforced steel
The situation for Jews in Malmö is so bleak that some 30 Jewish
families have already left the city for Stockholm, England, or
Israel — and more are preparing to go.
The upswing in anti-Semitic violence in Malmö is being attributed to
two key factors: the exponential increase in the number of Muslim
immigrants in the city, and Malmö’s bigoted left-wing mayor, who
rarely misses an opportunity to publicly demonize Israel.
Muslims now comprise between 20% and 25% of Malmö’s total population
of around 300,000, and local observers say most of the increase in
anti-Jewish violence in recent years has been perpetrated by
shiftless Muslim immigrant youth.
Anti-Semitism is also being stirred up by Ilmar Reepalu, the left-
wing mayor of Malmö, who has a pathological obsession with Israel.
Reepalu, who has been mayor for more than 15 years, says Jews are to
blame for anti-Semitism because of their support for Israel.
In January 2010, for example, Reepalu marked Holocaust Memorial Day
by declaring that Zionism is racism because it is an “extreme
ideology that puts one group of people over another.”
In an interview with the daily newspaper Skånska Dagbladet, he also
said: “I would wish for the Jewish community to denounce Israeli
violations against the civilian population in Gaza. Instead it
decides to hold a [pro-Israel] demonstration in the Grand Square [of
Malmö], which could send the wrong signals.”
Reepalu was referring to an incident in January 2009, during Israel’s
brief war in Gaza, when a small demonstration in favor of Israel was
attacked by a screaming mob of Muslims and Swedish leftists, who
threw bottles, eggs, and firecrackers as the police looked on.
In July 2011, after a Hollywood film production company cancelled
plans to shoot a movie in the southern Swedish province of Skåne due
to concerns over anti-Semitism in Malmö, Reepalu cast his rage on the
Simon Wiesenthal Center for issuing the travel warning.
Reepalu, in an interview with the newspaper Sydsvenskan, said: “I
have a feeling that the Simon Wiesenthal Center is not really looking
for what is happening in Malmö but they want to hang the people who
dare to criticize the state of Israel. Are they once again saying I
should be silenced? I will never compromise my morals.”
More recently, Reepalu accused Jews in Sweden of teaming up with an
anti-immigrant party to “spread hate” against Muslims.
In a March 22 interview with the magazine NEO about the rise of anti-
Semitism in Sweden, Reepalu said the Jewish community has
been “infiltrated” by the conservative Sweden Democrats party to
promote their mutual disdain for Muslims.
Enter into the mix Hannah Rosenthal, who has been President Obama’s
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism since November 2009.
Rosenthal’s first official act in office was to rebuke Israeli
Ambassador Michael Oren for describing the self-described “pro-
Israel” activist group J Street as “dangerous” to Israeli security. J
Street — which says it aims to “redefine” what it means to be pro-
Israel, and has repeatedly worked to undermine Israel’s fight against
terrorism — is funded by George Soros, an anti-Israel secular Jewish
billionaire who blames Jews for anti-Semitism.
Rosenthal, a former director of J Street who has also served on the
board of the left-wing activist group Americans for Peace Now (which
is part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] movement
against Israel aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state), has also
implied that Jews around the world who are vocal supporters of the
Israeli government are fair game for anti-Semitic attacks.
Commenting on the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, Rosenthal
said: “It’s a scary time, with people losing the ability to
differentiate between a Jew, any Jew, and what’s going on in Israel.”
According to Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard: “Parse that
quote and it’s pretty clear what Rosenthal is saying — the Israelis
have it coming, but the rest of the world needs to distinguish
between the good progressive Jews who are not living on Palestinian
land and the Israeli Jews who are committing daily atrocities in the
name of colonialism and occupation.”
Rosenthal has also criticized non-leftwing supporters of Israel as
having “narrow, ultra-conservative views of what it means to be pro-
Although her job description is to combat anti-Semitism, Rosenthal
focuses much of her time and effort on fighting “Islamophobia.”
Speaking to the London-based Community Security Trust, an
organization that is dedicated to protecting the Jewish community in
Britain, Rosenthal called for a crackdown on bigotry… against Muslims.
A few months later, at the so-called High-Level Conference on
Tolerance and Non-Discrimination organized by the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Rosenthal again attacked
Islamophobia and also criticized the “severe constraints” to
the “free practice of Islam” in Europe, as well as the “great
difficulty” Muslims face in building mosques on the continent. She
made no mention of the fact that many, if not most, of the attacks on
Jews in Europe are perpetrated by Muslims.
During a visit to Vilnius in April 2010, Rosenthal refused to
confront the Lithuanian government’s efforts to hide the country’s
complicity in the Jewish Holocaust. Instead, she declared that
Lithuania had “taken very proactive steps in dealing with anti-
Semitism,” and also promised the Lithuanians a €64,000 ($85,000)
grant “to develop Holocaust education.”
Rosenthal made no mention of the fact that Lithuania is spending
millions of euros on a pernicious campaign to obtain official
recognition by the European Union that the crimes of communism are
equivalent to those of the Nazis.
On a return visit to Vilnius in November 2011 to participate in a
conference called “Tolerance and Totalitarianism: Challenges to
Freedom,” which was sponsored by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Rosenthal again refused to address the issue of anti-
Semitism. Never mind that the Lithuanian government is currently
sponsoring a series of events to honor as heroes Lithuanians who
murdered their Jewish neighbors even before the Germans arrived in
Rosenthal now wants to travel to Sweden to find out what Reepalu is
doing to combat intolerance in Malmö. Since both share similar
perspectives on the root cause of anti-Jewish hate crime in Europe,
namely Jewish support for Israel, Rosenthal and Reepalu can be
expected to downplay the severity of anti-Semitism in Sweden and
focus their attention on Islamophobia instead. Originally published
by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org (© 2012
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