A Swedish mayor has upset the Jewish community by saying that Zionism is unacceptable in an interview published on the 27th of January, the International Holocaust Memorial Day.Ilmar Reepalu, mayor of Malmö, located in Southern Sweden, was interviewed about the situation for Jews living in the city, some of whom claim they are being forced out of Malmö due to harassment. The mayor says he strongly condemns racism and acts of violence, but that Jews will receive no special treatment.

“We accept neither Zionism nor anti-Semitism,” Mayor Reepalu said. “They are extremes that put themselves above other groups, and believe they have a lower value.”

His comments have upset the Jewish community and other pro-Zionist elements, and the president of another Jewish community in Sweden told Haaretz:

“These statements and other events in Malmö are making the Jewish community feel very uncomfortable and some people, especially the young, are leaving the city.”

Mayor Reepalu argued that the Jewish community’s support for Israel has not made things easier.

“I would wish for the Jewish community to denounce Israeli violations against the civilian population in Gaza. Instead it decides to hold a [pro-Israeli] demonstration in the Grand Square [of Malmö], which could send the wrong signals,” he stated.

The Mayor also urged the Muslim community not to blame Swedish Jews for what Israel is doing.

“At the same time, I would wish for Muslim representatives in Malmö to say loud and clear that the Jews of Malmö should not be dragged into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Mayor Reepalu said.

In 1975, the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, which stated “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was revoked in 1991.

Israel discriminates against Palestinians under its control in virtually every aspect of life. One example is the Israeli immigration law, known as the Law of Return. According to Zionist ideology, Jews who emigrate to Israel are “returning” to their “homeland.” The Law of Return was adopted in 1950 and stipulates that everyone who is Jewish according to Jewish religious law (i.e. born to a Jewish mother or a convert to Judaism) is entitled to immigrate. A 1970 amendment adds that this right is “also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew” and their spouses.

Hence, a convert to Judaism has the right to move to Israel (and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank) while a Palestinian who was expelled from his home is denied the very same right.