Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lars Ohly, supporter of Israel’s elimination?

This picture was published in yesterday’s Expressen, a national tabloid daily.
It shows Lars Ohly, leader of the Left Party in Sweden, wearing a scarf common amongst Palestinians, displaying a text in Arabic and a map on which Israel does not exist.

The picture was taken during an anti-Israeli demonstration during the 2009 Gaza War but was only published yesterday. As can be seen the map on Ohly’s Palestinian scarf has the shape of Israel. Eli Göndör, who holds a PhD in Islamic studies from Lund University and Magnus Sandelin, author of the book “Extremists” say that in the context of where it happened this can be seen as a statement arguing that Israel lacks the right to exist as a Jewish state as well as the irrelevance of the two state solution.

Jan Björklund, leader of the Liberal People’s party, has condemned Ohly’s decision to wear the scarf in the demonstration. He says that it might be the most misguided decision by any Swedish politician in modern times. He also stated that unless Ohly has a reasonable explanation for what he did it is inappropriate for him to run in the parliamentary elections.

Ohly, who has a long record of remarks of hatred against Israel, replied that he had no idea what the scarf was representing. He claims that someone put it around his neck and agreed to pose for a picture. Ohly says: “I did not check properly, I did not use a magnifying glass”.

When holding the position as leader of a political party in the Swedish government one would expect, that as a public figure, one would be careful what to publicly choose to wear and represent and what not.

But when asked by Expressen: "Should you not check what symbols you are wearing? What will they hang on you the next time?" Ohly only responded: “Yes, one could think so”.

Gunnar Hökmark, a Member of the European parliament on behalf of the ruling Moderate Party and head of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association said that Ohly displays a hatred toward Israel of a type which often can be traced back to anti-Semitism.

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