Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Posner: Shock and Horror; Political Expert: Sweden Failed to Address Real Issues

There were mixed reactions to the recent elections in Sweden—as we reported previously, for the first time the right-wing Swedish Democrats gained enough votes (nearly 6% of the electorate) to get into the government. One of those who spoke out against the Swedish Democrats was Swedish Jewish community’s head Lena Posner, who in an interview with Israeli daily Haaretz seems to be expecting to hear the stomp of fascist boots in the street already,  as she characterized the Swedish Democrats as Nazis:
-“This is a neo-Nazi party… articulate, and talented…but very dangerous,” said Lena Posner, President of the Official Council of Jewish communities in Sweden, an umbrella organization of Jewish groups in the country. “We know where these people are coming from. They are Nazi sympathizers who, under their jackets, are still wearing their brown shirts.”
What she does not explain is why two of the elected party members are Jewish. This fact flies in the face of her statement that:
“Ninety-nine percent of the community are absolutely against everything this party is for. To be Jewish is to have values of humanism. We know what it means to have to flee and to survive and we strive to protect those who are persecuted,” she says. “But Sweden is now joining other Europeans in being xenophobic.”
However the real question isn’t what the Jews think. The real issue is why a number of Swedish voters abandoned the Social Democrats in this election. An interview on the Gates of Vienna blog with Dr. Cas Mudde, a Dutch political scientist who has studied right-wing political parties, aired this week in the Swedish media. In the interview Dr. Mudde contends that the Sweden Democrats’ recent success was the predictable result of Swedish government failures to address the real problems which have resulted from having an open immigration policy and failed integration policies. Notice that the interviewer (from the mainstream Swedish media) suggests that dealing with immigration issues will increase xenophobi—as if doing nothing will solve the serious problems stemming from Muslim immigration. According to Dr. Mudde, regardless of the election results, Sweden will probably follow the lead of most European countries and introduce some immigration restrictions.
It’s also time for the Swedish government to decide what to do with the immigrants it already has—instead of continually adding to a segment of the population which has both failed to integrate into Swedish society and rejects the Western values which Sweden purports to uphold.

By Chanah Shapira

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