Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he would visit Malmo to discuss chants about “crushing Zionism" at by supporters of his party at a rally.
The incident on a May 1 march for workers’ rights by the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League — a branch of Lofven’s party — prompted an outcry by Malmo’s Jewish community, whose members are often targeted with anti-Semitic attacks involving anti-Israel sentiment.
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Lofven will “present the party’s position on what happened, which views as a serious incident,” his press secretary, Gösta Brunnander, told Expressen Wednesday.
The TV4 channel this week aired an item profiling Salomea, a young Jewish woman from Malmo, who spoke about living in fear in the heavily-Muslim city. Her sister, she said, was assaulted at the age of 12 in a soccer field because she is Jewish.
Leading the rally was the former mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu. He has blamed the rise in anti-Semitism on Jews and advised them to distance themselves from Israel to remain safe during his tenure, which ended in 2013. Hannah Rosenthal, a former U.S. special envoy for combating anti-Semitism, said Reepalu’s words were a prime example of “new anti-Semitism,” wherein anti-Israel sentiment serves as a guise for hatred of Jews.
Following an outcry over the May 1 rally, Electra Ververidis, the head of the Social Democrats youth movement, apologized for “offending the Jewish congregation,” and pledged not to chant about crushing Zionism in the future.
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Aron Verstandig, president of the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, called Lofven’s visit “an important sign.”