Thursday, July 21, 2011

Car Torched in Exclusive Malmö Neighborhood

During the last year we have reported that almost every night, the notorious Malmö neighborhood of Rosengård faces arson and riots. Now it appears that this trend has spread way beyond the borders of Rosengård.

Photo credit: Sydsvenskan

During the night between Wednesday and Thursday (June 20-21st) a car was set on fire on Limhamns vägen (Limhamns road). The fire, which was identified as arson, occurred minutes away from the video store that was subjected to a bomb attack earlier this week.
The incidence of terror has now spread far beyond the borders of Rosengård, which actually is located on the far opposite side of the city. Limhamns vägen is, moreover, the street in Malmö, which hosts some of the cities most expensive villas, such as the one owned by famous football player Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The recent arson attack further emphasizes our assessment made earlier this week;
“Lawlessness and crime are still running high, apparently in all parts of the city, and it is becoming increasingly evident that hate crimes against Jews are just one part of Malmö’s problems.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lone Flotilla Boat Fails to Enter Gaza

Not missing the Flotilla:
Shoppers at newest Gaza Mall
Photo Credit: EoZ blog 
Early yesterday afternoon a single boat from the “Fizzled Flotilla” entered Israel’s territorial waters and was stopped by the Israeli Navy. The ship's activists had misled Greek authorities by stating that they were headed for Egypt, but they changed course to head for Gaza.
The boat was boarded without incident; this represented, we hope, the end of protest cruise season this year. The Ship to Gaza movement, which last year brought little or useless aid to Gaza  residents, was represented today by the French-Corsican registered Dignite al Karama. Like last year’s Mavi Marmara it is a passenger ship, and carried no aid supplies.  But unlike the Mavi Marmara, it carried no club- and knife-wielding mercenary jihadists, just a small number of protesters.
A flotilla information press release dated yesterday lists 16 passengers and crew, including Swedish repeat cruiser Dror Feiler. (Seems that Swedish author Henning Mankell missed the boat this time.) Since Feiler was barred from entering Israel for 10 years last year, we will see if Israeli immigration authorities prosecute him this year.
A talkback comment titled “Swedish news agency TT manipulates reporting”  by Fredrik on the Ynet news item stated:
-“The Swedish news agency TT manipulates the reporting on this story to Swedish media, because they sympathize with the activists and hate Israel. TT even edited the quote from Danny Ayalon, and took out the part where he says Ship to Gaza is breaking international maritime law by trying to sail to Hamas-ruled Gaza.  99% of the dispatches from TT contain claims favorable to the anti-Israel activists, while 1%, at most, could be viewed as neutral. TT SHOULD BE BANNED FROM REPORTING FROM ISRAEL.”
Here’s a quote from the Local with a slanted view of the protest, making it sound as if the flotilla is all about helping the Gazans:
-“The Freedom Flotilla II, uniting 300 activists from all walks of life and 22 different countries, and aiming to transport necessities and to protest the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian-controlled coastal strip, has suffered a slew of setbacks.”
As we have reported a number of times, the humanitarian aid is a negligible part of this protest, which primarily aims to delegitimize Israel. Painting it as a humanitarian mission to the hungry is flat out misleading, just like the Dignite’s sailing plans.  
SIJ supports freedom of the press, and so does Israel. In fact, in addition to the two Al-Jazeera reporters, Haaretz’s Amira Hass is also on board. However, we wonder what this minor media circus was supposed to achieve, beyond Israel delegitimization. 
By Chanah Shapira

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hate Crimes: Just One Part of Malmö’s Problems

It was recently reported by the BRÅ (Brottsförebyggande rådet, the Crime Prevention Council), that the numbers of hate crimes against Jews have decreased in Malmö. This is encouraging news for those who choose to believe that Malmö is going towards a brighter future based on these new statistics.  The reality, however, speaks for itself.
After a film crew from the US decided to cancel their plans to shoot a movie in Malmö last week, it seems like the authorities in Malmö are becoming increasingly desperate to improve the bad image of Sweden’s third largest, yet most infamous city.
Shortly after the decision was made to halt the plans for making the movie, a representative for the Scandinavian movie making industry was interviewed explaining exactly how many millions of kronor Malmö would lose by not getting the investments generated by the American movie production. It is clear that the situation and the city’s reputation, which Mayor Reepalu (Social Democrat) has created for Malmö, have started to become destructive, not only for the Jews living there, but also for the rest of the population.
Malmö’s reputation was tainted internationally in 2009 after it seemed the mayor managed to speak ill about Jews in every sentence he blurted out.  As if that weren’t bad enough, the city also faced several bombings as well as a deranged individual who  randomly shot down people with foreign looks.  So, since 2009, Malmö has become internationally infamous, and much of this can be accredited to the current mayor of the city, Ilmar Reepalu; during his term he has managed to make Malmö a place which is now internationally feared and avoided.
It is perhaps not a coincidence that the BRÅ, just days after the cancellation of the movie project, decided to reveal that numbers of hate crimes against Jews have decreased. One hence wonders to what lengths the Swedish authorities are willing to go in order to better Malmö’s image. It also makes one question the relevance of these numbers.
What is known is that Malmö faced a new bomb attack just a few days ago, not in Rosengård but in upscale Limhamn on the other side of the city. Lawlessness and crime are still running high, apparently in all parts of the city, and it is becoming increasingly evident that hate crimes against Jews are just one part of Malmö’s problems.
Reepalu has fallen into a habit popular among his Social Democrat political cronies and their allies who control media outlets such as Aftonbladet and the TT wire service—just to name a few.  They act as if inconvenient truths can be swept under the rug—in this case by false accusations against the SWC and a few manipulated statistics flung out in the media—even while actual events contradict their “creative interpretation” of reality. However, as seen in the movie producers’ cancellation, people are not being fooled, and Malmö is keeping its bad reputation.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Will Sydsvenskan Now Start Israel-bashing??

Last week Israeli security managed to stop some 100 European pro-Palestinian activists aiming at staging a “fly-in” or “flightilla” to Ben Gurion, Israel’s main airport. The goal of the activists was to create a major demonstration inside the airport. In the Swedish newspaper Sydvenskan, the article covering the event suspiciously managed to miss the whole point of the deportation of the activists.
The pro-Palestinian activists—imitating the tactics of the Ship to Gaza movement—tried to draw attention to the Palestinian agenda, and decided to fly from various destinations in Europe to Israel. Some activists were detained before leaving Europe while others were detained upon their arrival in Israel, and quickly deported. The Israeli airport is an ideal target for Palestinian terrorists but having a pro-Palestinian demonstration here is clearly problematic.
The Swedish article in Sydsvenskan, published on June 9th covering the story reads:
Headline: “Israel doesn't let in flight passengers” –Note that the phrasing indicates to the Swedish readers that these are normal leisure travelers.  
Intro: “Israel has denied entrance to some hundred passengers who have arrived at Ben-Gurion airport. The reason is that they are suspected of being pro-Palestinian activists.” There wasn’t much “suspicion”, since these passengers were identified easily when on entry they stated their destination as “Palestine”.
Text: “The visitors are mostly from Europe and have been planning to make joint visits to Palestinian areas….”.  Note that the writer uses the words “visitors” instead of activists and completely fails to mention the intentions of these activists to stage a major demonstration and disrupt operations inside the Israeli airport upon arrival.
The trend of spinning articles in an anti-Israeli way is something we have found to be “business as usual” for Swedish newspapers such as the notoriously left-wing Aftonbladet. Finding such bad reporting in a liberal newspaper such as Sydsvenskan as well is really disappointing. One can hope that Sydsvenskan won’t continue on this path of bad reporting, but will instead take a stand against lame and purposely confusing anti-Israel reporting.  
In the meantime we will continue to keep our eyes open for unjustified Israel bashing in Sweden.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reepalu Blames Jews Again

Following on the heels of the surprised reaction of a Swedish film board to an American film company’s change in plans, Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu is once again lashing out at the Jews, and claiming that this was a personal vendetta.

As we reported, on Tuesday, news broke that a Hollywood film production company had cancelled plans to shoot a movie in southern Sweden. The company’s decision was based on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s warning to Jews to use “extreme caution” when travelling  in the area. The cancellation notice pointed out that as the film had Jewish content, it was inappropriate to use a location which was unsafe for Jews.

The SWC has not rescinded the travel warning, as conditions have not improved since it was issued. So, now Reepalu is slamming the SWC for trying to silence him “again”.

Sydsvenskan reported in its Culture & Entertainment section on the politics Jewish protest:

“Malmö's Mayor Ilmar [Social Democrat] Reepalu believes that the Simon Wiesenthal Center is looking for him personally, not the city of Malmö.”

Reepalu also claims that SWC is spreading  “a false image of Malmö”. He also claims that when the SWC came to Malmö six months ago, he had already implemented half of the changes they suggested, and now the rest is done. In our coverage of the meeting between Reepalu and the SWC, we noted that the meeting ended very abruptly, indicating that relations weren’t exactly cordial. Nonetheless, the SWC did meet with a number of minorities, including Muslims and Roma (Gypsies) in the city, and developed an overall plan to promote integration and tackle the issue of rampant discrimination in Malmö.

Sydsvenskan also reports that Reepalu is taking all this personally as a response to his very public and negative criticism of Israel which he made regarding Operation Cast Lead, staged in response to years of Gaza missile attacks on Israel’s civilian population. Says Reepalu:

- “I get a right nasty 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?”

The article also says that Reepalu claims “that it is futile to try to act against Simon
Wiesenthal Center. But he does not believe that Simon Wiesenthal Center
warning will scare away more film companies from Malmo.”

Once again, it is the fault of the all-powerful Jews for doing this to the mayor. But, claims Reepalu, “I will never compromise my morals.”

Whether Reepalu has either morals or scruples, is a question open to debate. What clearly does have is a strong sense of his own importance, and an easy ability to blame someone else for his failings in the classic language of anti-Semites.

By Chanah Shapira

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Swedish Filmmaker: Aren’t We Immune to Backlash?

Naively, Mikael Svensson at the Öresund Film Commission was unpleasantly surprised to find out that the situation of Jews in southern Sweden, and the government’s failure to do anything about it would affect his industry. An American film company scrapped its movie project and notified the Film Commission via email regarding  its decision to find an alternative location.
According to the report, “A Hollywood film company was planning to set a movie with a Jewish theme in Skåne in southern Sweden but changed its mind due to concerns over anti-Semitism in Malmö.”
In 2010 a  travel warning advising “extreme caution” for Jews travelling to southern Sweden was issued by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The warning was cited in the email as the basis for scrapping the project:

”Only problem I see with this project... is the huge problem that this being a Jewish story and that the Simon Wiesenthal center in the USA called the south of Sweden a VERY unsafe place for the Jewish community.”

Svensson at the Öresund Film Commission said, "I have followed the debate, but never thought that it could spread to the film industry and this type of decision.”

Hello! Svensson! The world is increasingly global, it was only a matter of time…
Sweden cannot expect Jews to happily accept for lackadaisical attitude towards real threats to the local Jewish community.  Svensson’s naiveté is not encouraging sign for those who are hoping for a change in policy.  
By Chanah Shapira