Friday, March 5, 2010

Göteborg Better for Jews than Anti-Semitic Malmö.

Both Göteborg and Malmö, respectively Sweden’s second and third biggest cities are governed by Social Democrats. The atmosphere for the Jews living in these towns is however rather different.

The national daily Expressen two days ago mentioned that there have also been attacks on Jews in Göteborg yet they seem to feel much safer than those in Malmö. Some Jews from Malmö have even moved to Göteborg, where the anti-Semitic threats are much smaller. Why is there such a difference between two towns governed by the same party?

According to Jonas Daniel, the administrative head of the Jewish community in Göteborg, there are several explanations for this. One is that the Jewish community cultivates the connections with other religious groups in the city. In the “Soccer for peace” games for example, Christians, Jews and Muslims play soccer together.

The probably main difference however is the approach by the local politicians. The Göteborg Jewish community meets regularly with local politicians in a forum for national minorities at the municipality. Daniel described this forum as a place with a positive atmosphere where politicians listen with interest.

Expressen writes that the contrast with Malmö could not be bigger.
“There, [the national Social Democrat leader Sahlin] more or less had to order Reepalu [the Social Democrat mayor] to have a conversation with the Jewish community.” He has now initiated a dialogue forum but it has been criticized as no politicians participate in it.

It is hard to tell if Malmö can ever achieve a similar good atmosphere as exists in Göteborg as long as Reepalu is the town’s leading politician. After his recent statement in the Danish TV news program ”Lorry” that an “Israeli Lobby” defames him it is even more unlikely that the Jews of Malmö will have any confidence in him.

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