Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Swedish opposition parties unite under Israel hate
Two politicians were on board the ships that were trying to break the international law and sail into the Hamas led Gaza strip. One was the parlementarian member of the Environment Party Memet Kaplan and the second one, Uld Carmesund, international secretary for“Broderskapsrörelsen” (Brotherhood movement) which organizes the Christian Social Democrats.
Carmesund spoke to the Swedish media after his return and said that it is “extraordinary that Swedish politicians are arrested abroad [he clearly doesn’t understand that people that break international law are subjected for arrest, even if you are a low ranked politician]. Especially as it has been done [the arrest] in connection with an action which has been condemned by an almost united world [“almost united”- not even close to a majority of the countries in the world have condemned Israel’s actions].
It rather seems, as has been discussed in Svenska Dagbladet, that the actions by Israel have united the often polarized Swedish debate on the Middle East. Parties from the right as well as from the left have condemned Israel’s actions in connection to Ship to Gaza- even pro Israeli parties such as the People’s Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats.
The leader of the social democratic opposition, Mona Sahlin which may become Sweden’s next prime minister after the elections this fall has further emphazised her wish to stop the EU trade agreements with Israel. This request is also shared by the Environment party and the Left. The three opposition parties also seeks to halt all military cooperationn with Israel and call home Sweden’s military attaché in Israel.
The Israel hating line for the Social Democrats also shows the shift the party has taking in its stance to the Middle East debate since Göran Persson was prime minister (1996-2006) and the leader of the party. While Persson was in power, the relations to Israel were much better even though many in his party were strongly anti-Israeli.
According to the author of the article in Svenska Dagbladet, Göran Eriksson, Mona Sahlin can be seen as inspired by the her Norwegian labor party leader Jens Stoltenberg who leads a left wing government. Norway’s Middle Eastern politics has also at times caused harsh conflicts with Israel he notes.
If Mona Sahlin wins the upcoming elections Eriksson is most probably right when he also argues that “a Sahlin led government would probably sound more like Palme than Persson”. The leader of the Left Party- which is part of Sahlin’s opposition, Lars Ohly did for example last week quote [when speaking about Israel] Palme’s thoughts on the Franco regime: “Bloody Killers”.