Thursday, May 16, 2013

Malmo, Sweden and Anti-Semitism Goes Unheeded by Government-Eurovision Contest Marred

Nadene Goldfoot                                                             

   Jewish Yemenite Israeli singer, Ofra Haza, 1983 Eurovision Winner with "Chai"(Hi)

The Eurovision Song Contest is the best part of what comes out of Europe. 39 countries take part in this contest including Israel.     I enjoyed this time of the year so much when I lived in Israel from 1980 to the end of 1985.  The music was fantastic.  I was so proud in 1982 when Israel won 2nd place  with "Hora."   This year the contest was held in Malmo, Sweden, of all places, a place that has witnessed a lot of anti-Semitism.

Malmo has been a city where Holocaust survivors settled after WWII and is home to about 1,000 Jews.   The Scandinavian country had been one to treat people fairly.  My own maternal grandmother came from Lumsheden, a village in the north.  Lately, it has also been found to be a haven for Muslims who have turned on the Jewish survivors and their descendants for being Jewish. Today 30% of Malmo are Muslims.   Unlike the United States, the government has done nothing to stop this persecution. In 2010 and 2011 there were 480 complains of anti-Semitism but the court system didn't convict anyone of hate crimes.

 The outgoing mayor, llamr Reepalu is thought to be encouraging anti-Semitism because of the statements he has made in suggesting that Jews shouldn't be Zionistic and that only then will they stay safe.  In other words, he himself is against Israel's existence. A lawyer in Sweden accused him of being anti-Semitic, anti-Jew and anti-Israel and making the city stand for that.   Just last year, Muslims set off a bomb outside the city's Jewish Community Center and vandalized it.  The police wouldn't classify it as a hate crime.  No one has been found to have done this.  Born October 11, 1943, he said in February that he is stepping down from his position as mayor on July 1, 2013 when he will soon be celebrating his 70th birthday.  He was born in Nova, Estonia and his family had fled from the Soviets and went to Sweden.  Neither Estonia nor Russia have ever liked Jews.

On Wednesday, Daniel Sestrajcic, chairman of the Culture Committee, said Israel should be boycotted from the Eurovision and can only return when Palestine is free!  This was shouted at a demonstration commemorating the Palestinian "catastrophe," or Nakba- May 14, 1948 when Israel became a state through the UN.  It's as if many of Malma have turned into Palestinians who haven't a clue as to the facts as to why Israel was created at all or the history of the Arabs deemed as Palestinians.

It so happens that Israel took first place in both 1978 with "A-Ba-Ni-Bi",  and 1979 with "Hallelujah" (my favorite), and then came in 2nd in 1982 with "Hora" and 1983 with "Chai".  Israel came in 1st again in 1998 with "Diva."  France, Switzerland and Finland were high voters for Israel.  Israel was the host for the contest in 1979 and 1999.  In 2009 Noa and Mira Awed, Israeli Arabs were the contestants from Israel singing, "There Must Be Another Way".  They came in 16th.  .

Three Jews from the Israeli delegation to the Eurovision song contest were in Malmo and were accosted right on the street.  Alon Amir told the Swedish radio station that some young Muslim men accosted them.  The Muslims addressed them as Israelis and told them they wanted to bomb wherever they were staying, and they were quite serious about it.

Probably to the mayor's angst, the competition is scheduled to end Saturday and hundreds of Jews and non-Jews are planning to walk together through the street of Malmo while wearing kippahs as a sign of their opposition to anti-Semitism.  Good for them!  It's about time.


1 comment:

  1. Update, another article on anti-Semitism in Malmo.