Paris, 28 September 2012
An explosion occurred last night, after midnight, at the Malmö Jewish Community Center. The exact circumstances are currently under investigation.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centrer expresses its solidarity with the 700-member Jewish community and its Rabbi, who has been incessantly targetted.
Rabbi Kesselman and his children have been physically and verbally assaulted some fifteen times in the last year. This Yom Kippur, his newly purchased car was vandalized with engravings including "Palestina".
Subsequent to a firebombing of the synagogue, assaults on a pro-Israel demonstration and a series of other anti-Semitic incidents, the Wiesenthal Center met in December 2011 in Malmö with the Mayor, law enforcement officials, the Jewish community and Muslim and Roma leaders.
The Centre's Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper and its Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, also met with Swedish Justice Minister, Beatrice Ask in Stockholm, (pictured) seeking a commitment to providing physical security for Jewish institutions. The Centre also advised the Minister that - due to the continued provocations of Malmö Mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, in constantly introducing the Middle East conflict into local discourse and thereby exacerbating tensions among the 70,000 Muslim community - it was imposing a travel advisory on Malmö. Samuels, in March 2011, accompanied President Obama's Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, to meetings with Muslim and other minority leaders in the city. At a Malmö University conference on hate crime, he also explained, "The Center's concern that Malmö had become a microcosm of contemporary threat to Jews, and serves as a case model for anti-Semitic hatemongering beyond Sweden."
The Center felt vindicated in that physical security of the synagogue is now partly provided by the central government in Stockholm. "Yet the Mayor's continued indifference, the ban on cameras due to privacy considerations and the lack of a police presence has not prevented this new attack. The Wiesenthal Centre was now again appealing to Stockholm to provide permanent police surveillance as in other endangered communities across Europe."
The explosion was apparently heard several blocks away and cracked the bullet-proof main door of the Jewish Community Center. "Such damage required sufficient expertise to fabricate a device that, though primitive, sets a precedent for more sophisticated explosives.
"We are grateful that, this time, there were no casualties and understand that two suspects have been detained. We are monitoring the situation and, especially, the reaction of the Mayor. Whether it was Ahmadinejad's Yom Kippur hate-speech at the United Nations or local sentiment fed by Islamist or other racist websites, we await rigourous condemnation and expressions of sympathy from Muslim leaders and a prompt prosecution of the perpetrators. In the meantime, the Center's travel advisory remains in place," concluded Samuels.
For further information contact Shimon Samuels on +33(0)609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).