The Swedish government has yet to condemn a single terror attack against Israelis, while media coverage in the country is biased against Israel, as are the Swedish church’s activities.
Published: 10.20.15, 23:17 / Israel News
The Swedish government has not published a single condemnation of any of the attacks in the current terrorism wave Israel is experiencing, even though Israel has asked it to do so. Media coverage is also biased against Israel, and so are the Swedish church’s activities, which ostensibly deal with inter-religious affairs and not politics.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has recently declared Sweden to be the most anti-Israeli European country. Another evidence supporting this designation came on Monday, when Scandinavian Airlines, the national airline of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway (the Scandinavian countries), announced that it will no longer be flying to Israel due to lackluster profits and ”the political instability in the region”.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Reuters)
Israeli representatives in Sweden warn that there is currently an anti-Israel consensus in the country. No one involved in politics will publically defend Israel.
”Everyone in Sweden is against us, there’s a blatant anti-Israeli undercurrent here,” said an Israeli official. ”It’s a lot harder to make a public pro-Israeli statement, and those who dare open their mouths are seen as outcasts.”
The Israeli anger is pointed at three elements in Sweden. First, the Swedish government, which was also the first to recognize a Palestinian state, has not issued a single condemnation of any of the attacks in the current terrorism wave. Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom, who clashed with Israeli officials in the past, posted two posts on Twitter in which she talked about the violence on both sides in general terms. They were neutral and vague, not mentioning who perpetrated the terror attacks.
Wallstrom’s tweet. Doesn’t mention terroism.
One of the tweets did not mention who the victims were (Israeli civilians), and neither included the words ”terror” nor ”terrorist”.
Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman, harshly criticized the Swedish government’s double standards, which condemns terror attacks in Europe but ignores them in Israel.
Officials in Israel believe that the Swedish silence is due to political motives: The Swedes covet a seat on the UN Security Council, and that means they cannot anger Arab nations by condemning Palestinian terrorism.
”The Swedes’ tolerance toward terror attacks on Israel is horrifying,” said a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official.
The second thing raising ire in Israel is the regular anti-Israel coverage in Swedish media, which completely ignores Palestinian terrorism against Israelis. As far as the Swedish media is concerned, these attacks are at most perpetrated by ”Palestinian militants”, not terrorists.
The peak of this trend came at the beginning of October, when Swedish news agency TT reported the terrorist stabbing attack in which Nahmia Lavi and Aharon Bennett were murdered with the headline ”Palestinian shot in Jerusalem”. The Palestinian in question was, of course, 19-year-old terrorist Mohand Halabi.
Ambassador Bachman sent TT a severe rebuke, demanding that they apologize, but has not received an answer to this day.
A screenshot from the film The Dead Still Have a Name.
Add to that an anti-Semitic Swedish film titled The Dead Still Have a Name, produced by a Swedish organization that organizes flotillas to Gaza, which draws comparisons between Israel’s actions and the Holocaust. The movie’s protagonist is a Jewish doctor named Henry, who heads the flotilla organization. The city of Gothenburg has decided to include the film as part of its school curriculum. So far, it has not been broadcast on television, but only screened privately.
The third element is the Swedish church, which systematically works against Israel. The Swedish Theological Institute, run by the church, operates in Jerusalem, and instead of dealing with relations between Judaism and Christianity – as its mission statement dictates – it delves more and more into politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The institute hosts Swedish anti-Israel activists, who come to the Palestinian territories to report on cases of Palestinian abuse. Israel has warned the institute about hosting blatant anti-Israeli activities, but was ignored.
Ambassador Bachman is left nearly alone, fighting against anti-Israeli sentiments in the country. He has managed to publish three articles in Swedish papers of late – including in the Stockholm-based, heavily leftist and anti-Israel paper Aftonbladet. He also recently gave an interview to a leading television talk show.
Bachman publishes Facebook posts attacking the Swedes, which garner many ”likes” and ”shares”. He also started a Facebook-based network of Israel supporters in Sweden, imploring them to publically stand by the country.