Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sweden: Figures of authority admit to having neglected anti-Semitism over the years

Judith Bergman @ Gatestone Institute:
[…] One issue that Swedish figures of authority are now admitting to having neglected over the years is anti-Semitism. Municipal managers in Malmö, for instance, Sweden's third-largest city, where immigrants constitute one-third of the population, now say that it took a long time before they "saw the extent" of the problem. Anders Rubin was school council member of the Malmö municipality from 2013 to 2018.  "Many students who have a background in the Middle East, and in several Muslim countries, have notions of Jews that are not at all compatible with democratic values," he told Sydsvenskan recently. He also confessed that the municipality had not taken the complaints of its Jewish citizens seriously. According to Sydsvenskan:
"Anders Rubin says he and the other leading Social Democrats initially underestimated the alarm from the city's Jews about a growing amount of threats and harassment. He describes it as the municipality management having had their 'guards down'."
"It was not felt that there was an established anti-Semitic attitude more than in extremely peripheral right-wing groups. I think we understood that the problem was marginal" admitted Rubin to Sydsvenskan. The newspaper also recounts how in 2009, Malmö's then-mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, responded to attacks on a Jewish demonstration by saying that Swedish Jews ought to distance themselves from Israel.

"It was only when we began to realize that in some of our immigrant groups there were ideas that were problematic, that we realized that we were forced to do something", Rubin said. He said there are probably limits to what municipal authorities can do about anti-Semitism.
"To think that we could achieve the frictionless city is a utopia. In such a diversified city as Malmö, one cannot change those types of attitudes by coming from the top and being forceful and telling people what to think. Somehow, it is extremely difficult to drive this down to a municipal political level. I think it is a complicated question, how we as representatives of the majority society should act to influence the attitudes of minorities. It easily becomes counterproductive".
Perhaps unwittingly, Rubin made a crucial point here: namely, that for years authorities swept serious problems related to migration under the rug, making them taboo and then vilifying those who dared to talk about them in public. The Linköping University report about the culture at Brå, sadly, exposed this pattern.
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