Thursday, July 29, 2010

Even When the Real Facts Are Made Known about Ship to Gaza, Most Can’t Be Bothered to Change their Minds

As reported in the blog “Fred i Mellanöstern” (Peace in the Middle East) the U.N. has now clearly taken a stance against the Ship to Gaza Movement which continues to provoke Israel for political gain. Still, it seems as if most people in Sweden still see Israel as the “bad guy” in the Ship to Gaza event.

At last Friday’s briefing, Martin Nesirky the Spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, made a second statement. He clearly stated that both the U.N. and U.N.R.W.A.—the U.N. organization dedicated solely to the Palestinian refugees—reject the methods used by Ship to Gaza.
The statement reads:

“We have repeatedly said….There are established routes for supplies to enter by land and the Secretary-General and others, not least from U.N.RWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East], have made it clear that this is the way aid should be delivered to the people of Gaza who undoubtedly, urgently need it.”

The Ship to Gaza movement claims it wants to aid starving Palestinians and some of them were more than willing to become martyrs in the process. Hamas- which totally controls the Gaza Strip- regularly receives tons of aid from Israel and the U.N. In fact, Hamas chose to reject the aid from the Ship to Gaza organization which further shows the inhumane and devious nature of the militant organization. While continuing its rule of terror in the Strip, Hamas instead of investing in its fellow Palestinians decided to build a shopping mall for its population. This while complaining they don’t have building materials for houses and schools…

Earlier this year, Hamas violently evicted many Palestinian families from their private homes and later demolished them in order to make room for a new prison. But the left-wing media never runs stories like this about Hamas.

The latest in the armada of ships that aimed to reach the Gaza Strip illegally  while claiming to bring humanitarian aid to the Palestinian came from Libya as noted by blogger Ilya Meyer;

“While a ship from Libya is heading for the Gaza Strip, it is appropriate to remember that the same Libya has for decades provided and funded Irish terrorists who murdered and maimed thousands of civilians in Northern Ireland and England as part of promoting their own political objectives . And that's before we even take up Libya's role in the bombing of Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland city, an act of terrorism in which all aboard were killed...”

Also Lebanon wants to send a ship to the Gaza Strip, this even though, as further noted by Meyer:
”Palestinians in Lebanon are denied basic human rights such as citizenship, the right to pursue certain jobs and professions, the right to own property or a home.”

Yes, it certainly seems like most countries such as Sweden and also many politicians, in particular Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt were eager to demonize Israel after it attacked the initial Ship to Gaza flotilla. Bildt and the Swedish foreign ministry officials knew that the flotilla was a provocation, even if they may not have been familiar with the highly suspect links between the main Turkish organizers IHH and terrorist organizations.

The Israeli government warned the flotilla organizers in advance that they would not be allowed to enter Gaza. However, Israel offered that the flotilla land at the Israeli port of Ashdod. The Israeli authorities would then inspect the cargos for weapons and subsequently deliver the humanitarian goods to Gaza by road. Israel additionally offered to coordinate with a third party representing an independent organization such as the United Nations during the proposed goods transfer. Yet the flotilla organizers rejected the offer.

The official Swedish reaction to the flotilla , includes Bildt extendes warm in-person greeting to the Flotilla participants upon their arrival in Turkey. This highly personal support was unique as no other politicians in Sweden came out to personally congratulate the so-called humanitarians. This was one more in a lengthy chain of acts demonizing Israel which have been perpetrated by Swedish governments since the late Olof Palme compared Israel to the Nazis. These are all signs of how false is Sweden’s claim to being a state possessing only the highest morals.

Yes, it certainly seems like most countries, such as Sweden, were eager to demonize Israel after the initial Ship to Gaza convoy. It didn’t matter that they had almost no understanding of the non-humanitarian,  political nature of the convoy, and were lacking even a few basic facts about the situation in Gaza. Sadly, the general public in Sweden will most probably not go out of their way to take a look at just a few basic truths despite all the information brought to light after the event. Ignorance may be bliss in Sweden, but it’s also a symptom of bigotry and closed minds.

Bildt’s demonizing efforts of Israel have thus once again been successful.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tossavainen: Malmö Mayor Reepalu & Leftist Supporters Display Symptoms of Classic Anti-Semitism

 Mikael Tossavainen, of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University has written a very clear analysis of this year’s debate involving Malmö’s  Mayor Ilmar Reepalu. Reepalu and his Social Democrat associates managed to arguably spew out one anti-Semitic canard after another, while protesting their innocence of any prejudiced attitudes regarding the Jewish community in Malmö.  As readers of this blog know all too well, Reepalu first set off a storm when—under pressure from the interviewer—he finally admitted that there were anti-Semitic incidents in Malmö. As Tossavainen writes:

 “During the interview [which can be read in full here along with the email correspondence]  Reepalu hesitated to relate to the situation of the Jews, and spoke instead about racism in general. When pressed by the reporter to make a public statement specifically relating to antisemitism, Reepalu said: ‘We accept neither Zionism nor antisemitism,’ adding that these were extremist supremacist ideologies.”

This was Reepalu’s first classic anti-Semitic statement.  The “Zionism is racism” lie perpetrated at the U.N. by the Soviets and the Arab bloc is simply the denial that the Jews have a right to nationhood in their small historical homeland.  Its corollary is that Zionism is evil, as we all know that racism is evil. Tossavainen deems this “guilt by association.” The return to the historical homeland of Israel is part of Jewish culture—a fact which is denied by Israel’s would-be delegitimizers, sometimes in excruciating detail. The band Boney M, one of the headliners at last week’s Palestinian festival concert in Ramallah, was asked to cut their hit “By the Rivers of Babylon” from the program, as the chorus “quotes from the Book of Psalms, referring to the exiled Jewish people's yearning to return to the land of Israel.”

Reepalu’s second strike was to blame the Jews in Malmö for the anti-Semitic incidents directed at them, as the Jews in Malmö apparently refused to distance themselves from Israel’s policies during the Gaza incursion to finally counter Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel.  As pointed out in the article:

“Holding Jews living abroad responsible for Israel’s actions also has a long tradition, and was characterized as a form of antisemitism in the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.19 This approach demands an essentialist perspective of Jews, viewing them as a collective with a common interest and agenda, toward which they work. From this viewpoint, all Jews can be blamed collectively for what some Jews do, since all Jews are perceived to be the same.”

And, of course, it’s then the fault of Jews when an Arab mob throws rockets and bottles at a peaceful rally of Jewish citizens in Malmö, or when Hamas rockets hit homes and schools in Sderot or Beersheva, or strike near the power plant in Ashkelon which supplies Gazans with more than 70% of their electricity.

The third classic anti-Semitic device Reepalu used was to blame the “Israel lobby” for conducting a smear campaign against him as a result of his statements.  Tossavainen notes the parallel with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery concocted by the Czarist Russian secret police, which claimed that there was a powerful united Jewish conspiracy for world domination.  This is an assertion so ridiculous that it’s barely worth refuting, although we can say that if it were true, there certainly would be no need for the Roth Institute to publish papers (or for this blog)..

Tossavainen does not claim that using these anti-Semitic tropes defines Reepalu as total anti-Semite. The article is more concerned with the reactions of the left, and problems of perception.  As we discussed in our post covering Mathan Ravid’s article, it seems that Swedes are quick to condemn anti-Semitism when it comes down the street in jackboots with  a swastika pasted on for easy identification, but they are unable to identify the same falsehoods coming from leftist comrades.  When those on the far left use the classic anti-Semitic falsehoods as the far right, but under the guise of anti-Zionism, it is simply not perceived as the same bigotry in a different uniform.

It’s pretty hard to see the difference between the reactionary, rightwing element that produced the Protocols and socialists who express themselves in the blog Jinge with insane conspiracy fantasies. Tossavainen writes:

"According to Jinge, the power of Israel lobbyists is not limited to the Swedish public discourse. Referring to the unrest on the Egyptian border with Gaza in January 2010, Jan-Inge Flücht claimed: ‘Israel has also given the US orders to tell its marionette Hosni Mubarak to construct a wall against Gaza.’”

It is time for Swedes to wake up and see that anti-Semitism, which today in Sweden is largely coming from the “proletariat” Muslim immigrant community and its far left allies, is also expressed by that familiar beast marching down the street with the anti-Zionist label pasted on proudly.

By Chanah Shapira

Monday, July 26, 2010

When Iran seeks to annihilate Israel with nuclear weapons – Carl Bildt looks the other way

Iran today is arguably the greatest threat to Israel. Its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—a known holocaust denier—seeks to arm Iran with nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad publically stated in 2006 that he wishes to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.  This declaration has made little impression on Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, who seems to care little about Iran’s intentions. In fact, he can today be seen as one of the protectors of the Iranian terror state.

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, Swede Mats Tunehag argues that Iran today “can be seen as by far the most dangerous threat to peace in the Middle East and beyond”. Iran is not only trying to illegally attain nuclear weapons despite the objections and sanctions by the larger international community. It is also using terror by proxy towards Israel through its affiliate terror organizations—Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza.

Iran is also a totalitarian dictatorship and a country in which human rights are routinely abused. On the other hand, Swedish society strongly opposes human rights violations. Sweden, in fact, prides itself as being a worldwide guardian of human rights.

In the Swedish news forum Newsmill the chairman for the “United Unions for a Free Iran” (Förenade föreningar för ett fritt Iran) Mojtaba Ghotbi, writes that Carl Bildt’s unwillingness to impose sanctions against Iran is a betrayal of the country’s democratic movement” .
As foreign minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt indeed does not seek to sanction Iran.

The rest of the Western world has united under the belief that Iran’s nuclear ambitions must be halted before the radical dictatorship attains nuclear weapons. If Iran were to have nuclear weapons at its disposal, the results would be devastating. The implications would be disastrous not only for Israel, but for the rest of the world—which all of a sudden would come to face a nuclear armed stronghold in the Persian Gulf as well as the Mediterranean—where both Iran’s proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as its ally Syria would be in easy striking range of the southern Mediterranean and beyond.

While a united European Union seeks to sanction Iran due Iran’s dangerous nuclear ambitions, Carl Bildt remains to vote no for sanctions towards Iran. The reasons for this are still unknown. What is known is that Carl Bildt has a past which does not go hand in hand with the human rights which he so firmly claims to be promoting.

The video below (in English) gives a good summary of the current nature of Iran as well as Carl Bildt’s suspicious refusals to condemn the terrorist state.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Attack Against the Synagogue in Malmö Revives Threat Concerns for the Jewish Community.

In the early morning hours on Friday a large explosion was reported outside Malmö’s synagogue. The explosion is suspected to have been caused by a substantial firecracker and is seen as an attack on the synagogue. The attack can also be seen as a resurgence of the threat against the Malmö Jewish community.

Some minutes before 2am the night between July 22nd and the 23rd a big explosion was reported outside the synagogue in Malmö. Residents living close to the synagogue reported that an explosion was heard and there was also a very bright flash. Spokesperson for the police, Göran Billberg commented that the explosion most probably was due to “some kind of firecracker”, and did not characterize the explosive as a bomb.

The local newspaper Sydsvenskan reported incorrectly that no damage was done to the synagogue; in fact the explosion was so strong that several of the synagogue windows were blown out by the blast.

While the local police claim that there was no particular threat against the synagogue prior to the explosion, readers of this blog can easily argue that there is a general threat to the Malmö Jewish community. This is perhaps also why the local police decided to classify the explosion outside Malmö Synagogue as “vandalism” while the chairman of the Jewish community in Malmö states that the Jewish community sees the explosion as a “attack or an attempted attack” on the synagogue.

As reported by the local newspaper Skånskan, since the beginning of the year there has been an increased threat against Jewish families in Malmö. The feelings of insecurity and lack of personal safety are today so strong that some Jewish families have chosen to leave the city, or even to leave Sweden. Following the public outcry by the Jewish community in Malmö and the formation of a group to foster communication among various ethnic groups in the city, Chairman of the Jewish Community Fred Kahn had reported that hopes were that the situation now looked a little brighter.

Until now…

In an interview after this recent attack against Malmö’s synagogue, Fred Kahn stated to Skånskan’s reporter:
“We see this as an attack, alternatively as an attempted attack. This is not the case where somebody accidently happened to set off some firecrackers.”

The local police force feels that it is not necessary to enforce security around the synagogue although it is evident that the Jewish Community remains in a state of constant threat. How long the small Jewish community can persist under threat in Malmö while being forced to bear the cost of intensive security protection, and without the freedom to openly identify as Jews, is anybody’s guess.  Despite Mayor Reepalu’s belief that this is the Jews’ problem, evidence shows that violence is everybody’s problem in Malmö.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Candidates for Swedish Clergy Will Attend Seminar of Organization Seeking to Eliminate Israel

Recently in the Swedish southern newspaper Sydsvenskan had an article entitled “What will the Swedish Church do in Gaza?”. The article explained that two “unbiased” candidates for the priesthood in the official Church of Sweden will be coming from Lund (a city outside Malmö) to attend a Palestinian peace conference called the Sabeel Young Adult Conference. What the article doesn’t explain is the nature of the Palestinian Sabeel organization.  Therefore some key facts will be provided here in order to show you why the word “peace” and “Sabeel” should not be in the same sentence.

In the article the one of the two clerical candidates was asked on whether their being sent to Gaza could mean that the Swedish Church is taking a political stance in the Palestinian- Israeli conflict. To this one of the candidates answered:

“ It is hard to interpret the Bible in any other way than that one should take a stance for those who are exposed.  We take no position on Palestine or Israel; we take a position for peace. “

The candidates clearly do not want to tell the journalists, or more likely, are not aware that the Sabeel organization, while claiming to “Strive to develop a spirituality based on love, justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities” in fact was founded by a leaders who constantly strives to assault Israel’s right to exist. This contradiction between the stated “peaceful” mission and its genocidal ideology is sadly not uncommon with these extremist groups.

Sabeel as an organization is in fact promoting the idea that Zionism is based on a false reading of the Bible and that it stands for injustice and in opposition to God. Sabeel also often compares Palestinians to the crucified Jesus and Israel to his murderers. This clearly shows that the Sabeel organization does not hold an unbiased view of the two entities, nor is likely to promote such a view to the two “non-biased” Swedish clerical candidates.

While the candidates from Lund state in the interview with Sydsvenskan that the Bible tells them to take a position for peace, I wonder if this interpretation is taken from the Old or the New Testament. Let’s hope it’s from the New Testament—as the Sabeel organization, which is the religious group organizing the conference, heretically seeks to eliminate the Old Testament from the Bible—according to them the Old Testament “has been used to justify their [the Palestinians’] suffering”. 

Attending a conference held by an organization which seeks to erase the Old Testament—the founding basis of Christianity—once again clearly shows that Sabeel is an extremist fringe organization. Sabeel does not seek to create peace with Israel but instead seeks to erase history in order to get rid of anything which has to do with Judaism or Israel. Wanting to eliminate the Old Testament from the Bible can be seen as another way to sever the Jewish connection to the state of Israel. 

This is already being done by other Palestinian factions today. Working on the site of the Temple Mount, for example,  Jewish archeological remnants have been destroyed in order to erase the historical evidence connecting Judaism to Israel. This is a clear attempt to deny the Jews’ historical connection to the land of Israel, and the right of Jews to live in the land. Denying the existence of the ancient Jewish Temple is an affront to both Jews and Christians as well.

The Sabeel organization can neither be a good source for peace solutions as it:
*Falsely calls Israel an apartheid state
*Claims that Israel was founded on denial and violation of Palestinian rights
* Claims that Israel violates international law by “occupying” the West Bank
*Omits any mention of peace process and ignores Israeli efforts and desires for peace agreements
*Calls on churches to divest/disinvest in Israel.

 Well, while claiming to be non-biased one cannot help but wonder if the representatives, by attending the conference hosted by the Palestinian Sabeel organization, do not support the organization itself. Why would the Swedish Church, the largest Christian organ in Sweden send representatives unless they believed that the Sabeel organization was not a respectable one? Certainly by agreeing to participate in the conference the Swedish Church is granting Sabeel legitimacy which it certainly doesn’t deserve.

By attending a conference held by Sabeel one can conclude that while the clerical candidates perhaps may come to Gaza as unbiased on the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one can be sure that they won’t come out of Gaza with the same perspective. After attending a propaganda conference held by an organization which internationally claims to promote peace, but in fact seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth, these representatives of the official Swedish Church are most likely to hold and promote the extremist views promoted by Sabeel.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Swedish Left’s Problem with Freedom and Democracy

Gunnar Hökmark, Swedish Member of the European Parliament and chairperson of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association, writes on his blog of the complicated relationship the Swedish Left has with democracy. Citing the latest report of American NGO Freedom House  regarding the state of democracy in the world, he goes on to state that the policies of the Swedish left towards the countries and regions of the world are characterized by a kind of “reverse proportionality”; the more oppressive the nation, the more the Swedish Left will tend to overlook its atrocities. The opposite also holds true: the more democratic the nation, the more criticism it will receive.

Hökmark has a point; must of the readers of this blog will have heard of the “unholy alliance” between the Swedish Left and various Islamo-fascist organizations, but when was the last time the Swedish Left organized a demonstration against the inhuman farce of a legal system in China, where more than 5,000 people are executed yearly, or the occupation of Tibet and the exile of the Dalai Lama? On the other hand, among the democratic nations of the world, Israel is not alone in being shunned by the Swedish left. For example, France was recently blasted for banning the use of the niqab in public, while some time ago Switzerland received the same treatment for outlawing the construction of minarets.

Now, one might of course be of the opinion that the Swedish Left is right in condemning these actions. One might even have valid arguments with which to defend that opinion. But that is beside the point.

The point is that when a piece of clothing designed for the sole purpose of showing a man's dominance over “his” woman by preventing other men from even looking at her was banned, the Swedish Left screamed blue murder. But of the stoning to death of unfaithful women in Saudi Arabia, they have nothing to say. When the Minaret, a Muslim building that is never mentioned in the Quran, was banned, they also screamed. But they kept silent when the political opposition in Iran was violently quelled by its totalitarian government. And, when nine would-be murderers were shot in self-defense by Israeli soldiers during the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, their outrage was the stuff of legends. Yet, when it comes to the dozens of African refugees who have been shot by Egyptian forces while attempting to cross the border into Israel, the wrath of the Left remained unprovoked.

Why is this? The Left prides itself on fighting for freedom, democracy and human rights, and in many countries this is also true. So why is Sweden so different? Maybe it is because the long period of peace Sweden has enjoyed has turned those of us who live there into cowards, not daring to risk provoking the anger of countries whose wrath would not be held back by the restrictions of democracy. Or it might have very little to do with democracy or the lack thereof: after all, democracy and wealth frequently go hand in hand. It is hardly a coincidence that for example Japan, one of the richest countries in the world, is a democracy, while North Korea, one of the poorest, is not. Perhaps the Swedish Left views the poor, non-democratic nations as the underdogs of the global arena – and the members of the Swedish Left are usually suckers for the underdog.

Or, perhaps as the author and former parliamentarian Aayan Hirsi Ali claims, it’s a form of racism, which wholly accepts behaviours in the Islamic world which in the Western World would be denounced as abuse—as long it’s directed towards non-Westerners.  But motives notwithstanding, it remains a fact that the Swedish Left shows a complete lack of interest in supporting democracy, preferring instead to join in violent demonstrations against Israel and the US – the world's largest democracy and the only democracy in the Middle East, respectively – while at the same time, people are suffering and dying in nations the Left would call 'friend'. The Left's contribution to the fight for freedom and equality in Sweden has ground to a halt.

By Adam Eberhag

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel Pitfalls of State-Sponsored Journalism

Mathan Ravid’s analysis of the Swedish-Iranian Mana journal affair and Mana’s financial support by the Kulturrådet, the Swedish government’s Arts Council, reflects a number of issues we have reported previously in this blog.

As a background note, we should first explain that the Swedish government has a policy of giving out subsidies to the print media. The EU has warned Sweden to cut these subsidies which “distort competition”, which was reported last year in The Local. For our purposes, these subsidies fall into two general categories; newspapers and cultural media.

As we reported in April, as long as newspapers demonstrate they have enough subscribers (at least 2,000), they can receive press subsidies, regardless of the content they publish. For example, the National Democrats who publish Nationell Idag, have  published works of Holocaust denial and the recently popular 9/11 CIA conspiracy lunacy. [With thanks to the bloggers at Reason for book link.] And, as we recently saw in this blog, far-left terrorist activists such as Jan Guillou have an opportunity to advocate for a “one-state” no-more-Israel solution in Aftonbladet.

Regarding cultural media, the Swedish government lists in its “Areas of operation” the noble objective of making culture available to all members of Swedish society. And so, the Swedish government puts its money where its mouth is, to the tune of around SEK 5.5 billion each year, which is nearly $750 million (USD). While a chunk of this money goes to museums, theatre, dance, music and the arts, the Swedish government is also interested in cultural journals:

Arts periodicals provide a forum for debate, allowing many different voices to be heard. Yet in Sweden it is often difficult to get hold of these periodicals in shops or from news stands. As such, the Council is working to increase the distribution and reading of arts periodicals. It does this by offering subscription grants for municipal libraries, providing funding for improved distribution and support for periodicals workshops owned jointly by the periodicals themselves. In these, editorial teams can provide mutual help with production, marketing and skills development. In addition there are production grants given to a great number of arts periodicals.”

So, the Arts Council is actively involved in the production, promotion, and distribution of culture in an attempt to increase cultural awareness for everyone, everywhere. They are holding hands with these scribbling culture-venders, practically sharpening their pencils for them, inking the presses, and finally flinging the magazines off the truck at the public library and shoving them under the noses of Swedish readers.

Now we turn to an actual case where a cultural publication was under scrutiny as it was slated for funding by the Kulturrådet; in this case it was The Swedish-Iranian journal, Mana which we mentioned at the beginning of this post:

” a debate erupted in the Swedish media at the beginning of 2008. The trigger was a reservation expressed by a member of the...Kulturrådet…Freelance journalist Dilsa Demirbag-Sten came out against a proposal to grant state funding to the journal Mana, which claims to be antiracist. She asserted that Mana ‘contains a heated rhetoric and glides between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism.’… noting ‘Mana's strong anti-Semitic tendencies and pure conspiratorial fantasies."

As Ravid further notes:

Mana is owned by the Iranian-Swedish Solidarity Association (ISS). It was founded in 1998 as a journal in Swedish by Iranians on Iran and the situation of Iranians in Sweden, but nowadays it also discusses topics such as racism…Although Mana has no explicit political affiliation, it is clearly on the left of the political spectrum.“

It seems that Mana publishes (now with the help of the Kulturrådet pencil-sharpeners) articles in which Israel was accused of perpetrating Nazi-like crimes against the Palestinians. Not very much culture in that item, but Mana came closer to its arts mandate with this regarding Lars Vilks:

Mana's Joacim Blomqvist claimed - as did Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - that it was actually Israel that in 2007 was behind the Swedish artist Lars Vilks's depictions of the Prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog,”

Not surprisingly Ravid notes that, Mana was hotly defended by its staff which claimed that there was no anti-Semitism, only legitimate criticism of Israel, despite abundant citations to the contrary, with classic anti-Semitic smears in addition to the Holocaust inversion accusations. Dagens Nyheter protested the accusation as did Aftonbladet, of course; both vigorously defended Mana.

This disturbing loyalty, Ravid observes, shows that,

“Time and again, when anti-Semitism proves to be alive and manifests itself outside extreme-Right circles, some are impelled to make aggressive denials. Some of the motifs found in Mana are virtually the same as those found in far-Right [or neo-Nazi] propaganda.”

This has been the crux of much of what this blog has reported critically, especially regarding the humanitarian racist positions typified in the press by Aftonbladet and in the political leftist elite by the Social Democrats. Leftist overblown self-confidence in its righteousness allows it to arrogantly assume the moral high ground with a total disregard for the facts. This is why Swedish Ship to Gaza activists, such as the self-glorifying and unscathed Henning Mankell, have portrayed themselves as peace-loving victims of “Israeli brutality” while sailing off with violent armed jihadists to aid the opening of an unrestricted gun-running port for Hamas’ totalitarian Iranian proxy state in Gaza.

There will be no end to the demonization of Israel and the justification of attacks on Jews in Sweden as long as government bodies in Sweden continue to support and defend anti-Semitic press and so-called “culture journals”. After all the hue and cry and public debate, Mana got its subsidy.

By Chanah Shapira

Monday, July 19, 2010

Henning Mankell- supporter of Martyrdom?

Henning Mankell was one of the 11 Swedes who recently decided to join the Ship to Gaza movement which aimed at illegally breaking Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. After Israel boarded the ships all the Swedes were taken into custody in Israel and consequently sent home to Sweden. Now Mankell is threatening “to raise his voice” unless Israel gives back his rucksack which was confiscated along with the jihadists’ weapons—some  of  which were used against the boarding soldiers and found by the Israeli military.

As reported in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, most of the Swedish Ship to Gaza activists have hired a lawyer in Israel and are trying to sue Israel following their trip in which they attempted to illegally enter the Gaza Strip. Henning Mankell, on the other hand, who is arguably is the most extreme “drama queen” among the bunch of Israel-haters, has chosen to aim his discontent towards Israel’s ambassador in Sweden—Benny Dagan.

Now Mankell states that he will “raise his voice” unless Israel gives back the rucksack he was travelling with when the boats were boarded. He has given Israel a deadline of August 1st. According to Mankell, the bag contains the script for a third part of a coming TV series about his father-in-law, the famous Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.

It should be noted that Ingmar Bergman’s daughter Eva Bergman who is married to Mankell is another name that should be added to the list of Swedish Israel haters. In a recent interview Bergman stated:
”One could ask how this could happen, but it has been happening for 60 years, this is how the Palestinians are treated. We are surprised by the brutal military operation but it really only displays the reality [of the Palestinians’]”. The article which chose to publish Berman’s statement later goes on claiming similarities with Israel and the apartheid state in South Africa.  This is a myth which often is used to assault the state of Israel and its right to exist.

It should also be noted that in the same interview in Dagens Nyheter Mankell states that:
“Everybody involved in the action had agreed on a non-violent strategy to break the blockade and the armed resistance which opened to Israel’s encroachment was wrong.”
Mankell initially made inflammatory statements to the press, including this military analysis he offered in an interview in the U.K.’s Guardian:

"I think the Israeli military went out to commit murder," he stated, while at the same admitting that,
“… It was only when I got on my flight home that I realised that people had died in the attack, when the stewardess told me on the plane,"

Mankell—unlike many others—now at least belatedly admits that there was an armed resistance which necessitated a return of gunfire by the Israeli military.  He also acknowledged that he participated in a convoy which contained participants who aimed at becoming martyrs.

In response to this, Mankell states that: “these were the wrong circumstances to be that [a martyr]”.

Henning Mankell’ s statement indicates that, in fact,  he is of the opinion that there are situations were aiming to become a martyr is justified. But most probably he was referring to a situation where he (and his rucksack) would not be personally involved. Perhaps his adventure should open his eyes to the inconvenient truth that—unlike in his books and movies—real people pay real prices when jihadists’ aspirations are “played out”.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Violence against Ambulance Personnel; Now Common in Rosengård

In the night of Saturday, July 17th an ambulance was called to the often-turbulent neighborhood  in Malmö called Rosengård. This is the area in Malmö where nightly arson attacks are common and where Swedish authorities such as firefighters no longer operate without police backup. Ambulance personnel have previously been attacked by stone throwers in the neighborhood. Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise to find out that last night as well ambulance personnel called to the scene had to flee the scene and call for police backup.

The ambulance was called to the scene as reportedly there was a young woman with breathing difficulties. However, once the ambulance paramedics left the ambulance to treat their patient the people surrounding the young woman became so hostile towards the paramedics that they felt the need to evacuate and call for police backup.

As the Swedish daily newspaper Sydsvenskan reports, people in the crowd also encouraged the ambulance nurses to leave the scene. Sydsvenskan reports that a young man was the main instigator and became violent when the ambulance personnel tried to examine the young woman.

When the police arrived the man became even more aggressive and consequently attacked the police. Also a 40-year-old woman attacked the policemen present and the two were arrested, under suspicion of violence against an officer.

Once the aggressor was placed in the police car, the young woman patient tried to open the car and help the man flee the scene—this of course led to the women (who initially was a patient) also being arrested. She is suspected of violent resistance and attempting to aid the escape of a suspect.

Cindy Schönström-Larsson who is a spokesperson at the Skåne Police was quick to emphasize that it was not a group of youngsters which attacked the ambulance personnel.
This raises uncomfortable suspicions. As we learned from last night’s experience, it is very likely now that not only young “unhappy” teenagers perpetrate violent attacks against the Swedish authorities—but also the ordinary adult citizens of the neighborhood.

It seems apparent that a new trend is in the making, a trend which seems to have sprung from the fact that the Swedish authorities still have not been able to counter the increasingly hostile and environment in Rosengård.
Again and again, it seems that the authorities are unable or unwilling to deal with the problem of immigrant violence in Rosengård, even when directed against city personnel.  We can only ask what can the beleaguered Jewish community expect when the “citizens’ protectors” fail miserably to protect themselves?

For those of you who speaks Swedish, a movie clip of the incident is available here:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Latest Updates on the Jews’ Situation in Malmö

Ever since the beginning of the year when Marcus Eilenberg decided to speak out about the deteriorating situation of Malmö Jewry, international attention to the rising anti-Semitic atmosphere in the city has continued to grow. The latest contribution to the line of articles about the rise of anti-Semitic segments in Malmö is an article in the Forward written by Donald Snyder which very neatly updates and summarizes the situation in Malmo today.

Below is a summary of Snyder's article with relevant links from the Sweden, Israel and the Jews blog for those who wish to do some further reading on topics and events concerning anti-Semitism in Malmö:

At some point, the shouts of “Heil Hitler” that often greeted Marcus Eilenberg as he walked to the 107-year-old Moorish-style synagogue in this port city forced the 32-year-old attorney to make a difficult, life-changing decision: Fearing for his family’s safety after repeated anti-Semitic incidents, Eilenberg reluctantly uprooted himself and his wife and two children, and moved to Israel in May.

Our posting about Marcus Eilenberg can be found here.

Snyder reports, as we have in the past, that;

Malmö’s Muslim population is growing in both in size and in proportion to Malmö’s general population. At the same time, Sweden has been failing to integrate this expanding population into Swedish life and cultural norms.  This all while the lives of Jews in Malmö have become  “subjected increasingly to threats, intimidation and actual violence as stand-ins for Israel.”

As Malmö has an overall population of nearly 300,000, and a Jewish community numbering just 760 Jews, it’s understandable that the threat of anti-Semitism is a major factor in Jewish life in the city. Nonetheless, the community decided to hold a demonstration/peace rally in the public square in Malmö during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 2009 Gaza incursion in response to years of missiles fired at its citizenry by Hamas terror squads. As Snyder notes:

A small, mostly Jewish group held a demonstration that was billed as a peace rally but seen as a sign of support for Israel. This peaceful demonstration was cut short when the demonstrators were attacked by a much larger screaming mob of Muslims and Swedish leftists who threw bottles and firecrackers at them as police seemed unable to stop the mounting mayhem. 

The result was that Jews were hustled into an alley by police as the unlicensed counter-demonstration threatened to spiral out of control.
Our posting about what the Jews in Malmo had to endure during and after the campaign in Gaza can be found here

Snyder also notes the changing orientation of anti-Semitism in Europe: 

Anti-Semitism in Europe has historically been associated with the far right, but the Jews interviewed for this article say that the threat in Sweden now comes from Muslims and from changing attitudes about Jews in the wider society.

In addition to the growing number of anti-Semitic attacks by Islamic immigrants, we have also noted the passive and active role of Swedish society in both ignoring this phenomenon as well as tacitly supporting this behavior by demonizing Israel and tarring Swedish  Jews with the same brush.
More on this here, here, here and here .

Snyder interviewed Beate Kupper who was involved in putting together a study  in Europe which looked at anti-Semitic attitudes “[There is] quite a high level of anti-Semitism that is hidden beneath critics of Israel’s policies,” said Beate Kupper, one of the study’s principal researchers, in a telephone interview with the Forward, citing this data and a tendency to “blame Jews in general for Israel’s policies.”

 More about how the Jews in Malmo are held responsible for politics in Israel can be found here.

Kupper also remarks that whereas it is often impolite to express anti-Semitism, it has become very accepted to instead bash Israel. This is a convenience which is clean of any unpleasant Holocaust associations.

Snyder points out a few more major factors in keeping anti-Semitic feelings high in immigrant society, including isolation from Swedish society, an unemployment rate of 80% overall (up to 90% for young men), and a constant stream of imported propaganda:

Satellite dishes dot the high-rise apartments to receive programming from Al-Jazeera and other Arabic-language cable networks that keep Malmo’s Muslims in constant touch with the latest Arab-Israeli developments.

More information on the situation in Rosengård can be found here, here and here.

However, some sectors are beginning to tire of the excuses made in Sweden for the often disruptive behavior of immigrant.  According to Per Gudmundson of Svenska Dagbladet, there are some politicians who: offer “weak excuses” for Muslim teenagers accused of anti-Semitic crimes. “Politicians say these kids are poor and oppressed, and we have made them hate. They are, in effect, saying the behavior of these kids is in some way our fault,” he said.

More about Gudmundson’s thoughts on rising anti-Semitic segments in Malmo can be found here.

Nonetheless, there are still numerous Swedish politicians who continue to buy into the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic narrative. Members of Parliament have as well attended anti-Israel rallies where the Israeli flag was burned while the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah were waved, and the rhetoric was often anti-Semitic—not just anti-Israel. But such public rhetoric is not branded hateful and denounced, said Henrik Bachner, a writer and professor of history at the University of Lund, near Malmo. 

More information on the participaltion in anti-Semtic situations can be found here and here.

Snyder also spoke with two members of Malmö's Jewish community who have suffered attacks. 

Malmo’s only rabbi, Shneur Kesselman, 31, is a prime target for Muslim anti-Jewish sentiment. The Orthodox Chabad rabbi said that during his six years in the city, he has been the victim of more than 50 anti-Semitic incidents. An American, Kesselman is a soft spoken man with a steely determination to stay in Malmo despite the danger.

More about Rabbi Kesselman's experiences can be found here and here.

Another victim is Jonathan Tsubarah, 19, the son of an Israeli Jew who settled in Sweden:

As he strolled through the city’s cobble-stoned Gustav Adolph Square on August 21, 2009, three young men — a Palestinian and two Somalis — stopped him and asked where he was from, he recalled.
“I’m from Israel,” Tsubarah responded.
“I’m from Palestine,” one assailant retorted, “and I will kill you.”
The three beat him to the ground and kicked him in the back, Tsubarah said. “Kill the Jew,” they shouted. “Now are you proud to be a Jew?”
“No I am not,” the slightly built teenager replied. He said he did this just to get them to stop kicking him. Tsubarah plans to go to Israel and join the army.

More about the feelings amongst the younger Jews in the city can be found here.

The situation has generated some points of potential light.
Recently, Ilmar Reepalu, the mayor of Malmo, convened a “dialogue forum” that includes leaders of the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as city officials, to improve social relations in the city and the city government’s response to conflicts.

More about the forum can be found here.

As we have reported extensively in this blog, there is still a long way to go in both acknowledging and solving the problems that currently continue to beleaguer Malmö’s small Jewish community in particular and Sweden in general.  For the few Jewish souls in Malmö, there is the drastic option of leaving for Israel or elsewhere, but for the rest of Sweden that would like to preserve its democratic Western values, there is no choice but to find a solution. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Diakonia Bears False Witness

Many of the various Christian organizations of Sweden--who all profess to follow a higher divine authority--seem to have a problem with that “Thou shalt not bear false witness” Biblical injunction. At first glance, Diakonia, the largest of Sweden’s Christian aid agencies, seems to be an exception. On their website, they profess that “The aim of our work is for all people to be allowed to live under dignified circumstances in a just and sustainable world, free from poverty.”

They also have a “Position paper on Israel and Palestine”, written in English. This position paper states that “it is high time to deal with the old view of the conflict that you have to make a choice – either that you support Israel or you support Palestine. To achieve a sustainable peace, the interests of both sides have to be respected or we will create ongoing tensions and a constant risk of new violence”. The position paper also states that “it is of fundamental importance that Diakonia’s starting point is not to take side with any of the parties in the conflict”. Well, that certainly sounds good, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought, too, so I went searching the web for examples on how they are managing this “not taking sides”.

Turns out they aren’t managing it at all.

To show their lack of bias in the conflict, Diakonia took part in the Free Gaza-flotilla, joining communists, anarchists and Islamo-fascists in a grand, spectacularly un-neutral show of support for the Hamas movement. They also issued a report condemning Israel for its “attack” on the flotilla.and the blockade which is available here in English. It is just bristling with misapplied citations of international law, including the Geneva Convention. One of the Swedish “red herrings” thrown into the waters, as it were, is this claim:

 "Starvation is an illegal method of warfare. Objects indispensable for the survival of the population need to be protected…"

Of course, as we have seen earlier, there has been no starvation in Gaza caused by the blockade, even prior to the lifting of restrictions on some goods. If you have a look at these photos from Tom Gross Media, you will see that there simply has been no shortage of food products in the markets in Gaza, and the fine dining business is booming at one deluxe country-club-styled venue.  So, insinuating that Israel has been starving the Gazans is just another bit of Swedish-style propaganda.

And then there’s this item:

"The fact that the ships are armed cannot by itself justify an attack...The existence of ammunition does not grant carte blanche to regard the civilians on the ships or the ships themselves as legitimate military targets."
"Naval warfare should only take place against legitimate military targets, not humanitarian ships."

 It seems that the Mavi Marmara jihadist-humanitarians who attacked the Israeli naval commandoes with clubs, knives, broken bottles pre-rigged with handles, and gunshots were not “legitimate targets”. In what manner would anyone have responded to a lynch attempt by IHH hired thugs lusting for their quota of virgins in paradise?  What kind of “humanitarians” arms themselves when Israel had already stated their intent to board peacefully and cooperate in delivering the goods to Gaza? In the end, the Hamas leadership let this “desperately needed” aid sit for days at the land crossing.  How humanitarian was that?

Following the logic of those quotes a bit further, ships full of weapons such as the Karine A and the Iranian ship seized in November of last year with  500 tons of guns, ammunition and missiles would also given a free passes into Gaza’s harbor.   Since Israel is at war with Hamas, Israel is in no way expected to allow Hamas to re-arm with upgraded missiles to be fired at Israeli citizens.

And of course, no anti-Israeli diatribe is complete without that favorite topic: “proportionality” so here it is—
"Any attack should follow the customary law principles of distinction and proportionality and the rule on precautions in and during attack."
"The chain of events starting from the military interception to the Mavi Marmara until the death of nine passengers reflects violations of the above mentioned principles. Even if the operation is analyzed under the law enforcement regime, it seems that the principle of proportionality in the use of force was also violated."

Again, boarding was peaceful until the ship with the IHH jihadist mercenaries questing for martyrdom took matters into their own hands and did their best to shred the Israelis who boarded with crowd control equipment and small side arms. Diakonia, however, makes the “unbiased” decision to go with the Hamas position, retelling it as if it were G-d’s own truth, and not the party line of a totalitarian regime with genocidal aspirations.

While Sweden, much like the rest of the Western world, is a free country, where everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want and say almost whatever they want, one shouldn’t do so while at the same time claiming impartiality. Doing so is pure hypocrisy, and misrepresenting Israel’s actions smacks of anti-Semitism, in addition to “bearing false witness”. In that aspect, Diakonia is no different from so many other Swedish Christian organizations.

This posting was written by Chanah Shapira and Adam Eberhag

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister: Sweden One of Europe’s Leading Israel Critics

Recently the Israeli English-language daily Jerusalem Post published an interesting interview with Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov. In the interview Mladenov stated that “European foreign ministers do not always have a fair understanding of what Israel is up against, and that Turkey reacted ‘a little bit too strongly’ to the Gaza flotilla episode”. He also stated that Sweden is on the European list of Israel’s harshest critics.

After the Ship to Gaza incident many European leaders were fast to condemn the actions taken by Israel, mainly even before it was clear what had happened. Turkey, the country of origin of the 9 “activists” who were killed, would be expected to have the most severe reaction. Sweden, a self-proclaimed “neutral” country from the north was one of the European countries which arguably over-reacted and had a very biased view of the incident. It’s fair to say that Sweden can be seen as a prime example of a European country which is completely oblivious as to why the initial blockade of Gaza was imposed and what the state of Israel is up against.

Mladenov—whose country can be described as amongst the most supportive of Israel in the EU—now argues that “European foreign ministers do not always have a fair understanding of what Israel is up against” and for Sweden, he is right on the money.

It is clear that Sweden completely fails to understand the problems which Israel is dealing with. For example, Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt just recently received Nabil Shaath in Stockholm.  Shaath, as mentioned earlier in this blog “belongs to one of the more radical elements [he has been seen in meetings with Hamas leaders in February] which see a peace process mostly as a way to achieve a Palestinian state. Once this is accomplished he doesn’t see anything wrong with Hamas continuing their war against Israel—this time in a stronger position”. Receiving Shaath in Stockholm makes it appear that Bildt also supports the ideas held by his guest.

Perhaps the Swedish leadership thinks that Israel, when dealing with the Palestinians can use the same approach as Sweden does in meeting with other European leaders. It should be clearly emphasized, though, that no Danish, Norwegian or Finnish citizens are seeking to eliminate Sweden, nor do they try to achieve this by committing suicide attacks on Swedish civilians. Neither is the total eradication of Sweden the stated policy of the neighboring governments in Scandinavia.

Before condemning every action taken by Israel, Sweden needs to acknowledge that Israel, while having a Western, democratic society—is not surrounded by like-minded neighbors. It is therefore unfair to expect that Israel should or can act like a country located inside the European Union. As Benjamin Netanyahu once said, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel”. This is something that Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mladenov seems to have understood and what also sets him apart from many other European leaders.

Two other good points Mladenov made in the Jerusalem Post interview:
“When asked if there was a fair understanding among his colleagues in the EU of what Israel was up against, Mladenov replied, “Not always, no. I’m being quite honest – no. I think sometimes we tend to oversimplify things in Europe, perhaps because war and confrontation and terrorism are not something that is a daily threat to many in Europe.”
He continues:

“I think we should be a little more sensitive to the fact that this is a very tough environment, and that Israel needs to be alert at every single moment in order to be able to protect its security and the security of its people”.

Mladenov also identified an East-West split in the stance towards Israel within Europe. According to him the Israeli supporters can be identified as: the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. The greatest critics of Israel were accordingly identified as: Ireland, Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, and Greece.

It seems those countries which have experienced conflict and totalitarianism more recently are also more skeptical of “simple solutions”. Sweden—which has found that “neutrality” is profitable and also avoids dealing with a volatile immigrant situation at home—allows itself the hypocritical luxury of preaching pacifism while supporting those who use violence against Israelis. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Aftonbladet: Here’s How to Tell the Difference between Opinion and Propaganda

We would hope that the discerning reader would have an understanding of the difference between factual reporting and opinion journalism which is factually based, but takes a particular side on an issue.  Perhaps we are naïve, but we would also expect that the publishers of a so-called “mainstream” newspaper would differentiate between opinion columns and unabashed propaganda writing.  By “propaganda” we are using the term in its most negative sense; promoting a particular agenda with total disregard for the facts, or to put it more plainly, outright lies spread to create animosity towards the opposing position, and sympathy for the writer’s pet ideology.

Last week Jan Guillou published an opinion column in Aftonbladet which could arguably read as a tidy little lesson in leftist persuasion.  Guillou mixes a number of elements to evoke reader sympathy for the Israel boycott campaign, although his ultimate objective is revealed later.  Guillou sympathizes with trade unionists, smearing the Moderate Youth as scabs for daring to oppose the Dockworkers Union’s boycott of Israeli goods and Swedish trade.  But there is no issue of workers’ rights here. 

He then jumps in with the claim that Israel is an apartheid state—reiterating the nasty “Zionism is racism” canard.  This is a “big lie” tactic if ever there was one.  Unlike the old South African apartheid laws, Israeli law contains no racial laws restricting education, vocation or residence for its Arab citizens.  In fact, compared to the rest of the Middle East, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have a higher standard of living, especially Arab women.  And, incidentally, Israelis themselves are very racially mixed.
Of course, then Guillou jumps in with an even bigger lie—that Arabs are denied voting rights in Israel, because “they are not Jewish”.  This is a totally outrageous claim.  Arab Israelis vote in Israel, and there are fourteen   (that’s 14, Jan) Arab members of the Israeli parliament representing a number of parties.  Residents of the West Bank and Gaza vote in their own elections. 

Guillou isn’t ignorant of these facts.  There is an underlying agenda here.  It’s important to remember that Guillou is a left-wing extremist who was actively involved with the PFLP terrorist organization as well as the KGB.  He understands the power of propaganda and totally hates Israel. For those who are ignorant, this piece of pseudo-journalism reinforces baseless misconceptions about Israel—which is, in fact, the only democracy in the Middle East. Contrary to Guillou’s assertions, Israel is the only country where minorities and women have a voice. But, for the useful idiots, Guillou offers another “reason” to hate Israel.

However, for those who understand Guillou’s propaganda in the context of the extremist agenda, it’s clear that what he is calling for is for Palestinian Arabs to have a vote—not in the developing state which is the Palestinian Authority, and not in the totalitarian mullocracy of Hamastan in Gaza—but to vote in the State of Israel. Yes, the real point that Guillou is making is a call for a one-state solution through a flood of Arab voting from the West Bank, Gaza and the “Palestinian diaspora”. 

Just a hint to the useful idiots—this means no more state of Israel.  Yes, it’s okay to eliminate a Jewish state, because when genocide comes from Muslims—say, like the Turks trying to kill off Kurdish culture or citizens—it’s not genocide; just ask Mr. Erdogan.  Also remember, when the racially Arab Sudanese kill off black Sudanese in Darfur, that’s not racism or genocide either.
That's why Guillou makes reference to whites who left Zimbabwe, while noting that South Africa is “still a country”--it's to cover the fact that he wants to eliminate Israel.  It’s just throwing a bone to Israelis—you could live as dhimmis in a Palestinian state, just like those happy Zimbabwean white farmers who have had their land confiscated, or live barricaded in their farmhouses to avoid getting shot at. But isn’t that what Israeli “racists” deserve? Yes, the solution—or the final solution—is really simple.

Well Mr. Guillou, dhimmi status is no picnic—just ask the more than 70% of Israelis of Middle Eastern descent.  Yes, most of Israel’s citizens came as refugees; not just from Helen Thomas’ Poland and Germany, but from the nearly extinct Jewish communities of Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, etc.

Israel has no intention of opening itself up to mass extinction.  And to Aftonbladet we say that to allow this sort of genocidal propaganda to pass for mainstream “opinion journalism” is completely inexcusable. If exterminating the Jewish state is really mainstream opinion in Sweden, it’s time for a boycott to be directed not at Israel, but at Sweden. 

This post was written by Chanah Shapira, with thanks to Adam Eberhag

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lars Vilks: Islam’s Enemy

In response to Swedish artist Lars Vilks’ attempt to give a lecture on “Freedom of Expression in Art”, the artist was subjected to an arson attack on his house. Last week the trial began against the two young men who are suspected of the crime; there very strong evidence of guilt found in this case. During a hearing the 21-year-old known as Alija stated that Vilks is “the enemy of God, the enemy of the prophet and the enemy of the Muslims”.
Vilks is known for his sketch from 2007 which portrayed the prophet Mohammad as part-dog, part-human. After the publication of Vilks’ sketch in Swedish newspapers the artist was subjected to a series of threats. Uppsala University invited him to give a lecture in May this year on “Freedom of Expression in Art”. The lecture was ended abruptly after Vilks was violently attacked and head-butted by one of the members of the audience. After Vilks was removed from the lecture hall the crowed remained agitated and verbally abused the police present.

Following this violent attack at the University, Lars Vilks’ home was subsequently subjected to arson. When the artist testified last week one of the two young men in the court, also known Mentor Alija, could not contain his hatred against Vilks. According to journalists present, Alija was furious when Vilks gave his story on the issue concerning the sketch.

When the 21-year-old testified in court and was questioned about his feelings against Vilks he stated:

-" He is God’s enemy, he is the Prophet’s enemy, he is the Muslim’s enemy."
It seems rather clear that Mentor Alija shows clear signs of Islamic radicalism indicating that he is able to commit violent crimes. Yet he claims that he is not guilty of the crimes he is suspected of. This even though it has been proven that:

1. Gasoline was purchased on his credit card after midnight the eve of the attack.

2. His jacket was found at the scene of the crime.

3. The police found that the hair on his fingers, as well as on parts of his head, was burned off.

When freedom of expression is threatened in Sweden one would imagine that the Swedish intellectuals, writers, journalists and professors would speak out and condemn the attacks on Vilks. Up until now this has not happened; not even Uppsala University has made a statement regretting the attack on Vilks which took place in their university. One cannot help but hope that Vilks considers getting heavier protection in the future since people like Mentor Alija appears to be gaining a stronghold in Sweden.

As long as Sweden’s academics don’t speak out, the radical Muslims in Sweden will continue to perpetrate attacks on Swedish individuals who dare to stand up for their democratic rights—including freedom of expression.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If Sweden Were Truly Neutral Wouldn’t It Use Its Unique Position To Help Free Gilad Schalit?

As the worlds third-largest contributor of aid to the Palestinians Sweden holds a unique position to put pressure on the Palestinian people. The home page of Zionit (Zionistic Federation in Sweden) currently includes an open letter and petition to Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt. The letter encourages Bildt to take action against Hamas’ internationally illegal capture and imprisonment of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.  The aim of the letter is not only to encourages Bildt but also Sweden to actively try to release Schalit who is held captive by Hamas, an organization which is defined as a terrorist group by the U.N. as well as the European Union.

Today the Schalit family’s march from their home in the north of Israel arrived in Jerusalem with hundreds of supporters—with the aim of putting pressure on Israel’s government to release thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for Schalit’s release. Gilad Schalit has been held prisoner in the Gaza Strip for the past four years .The march ended outside the residence of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu—who is currently in the U.S. for diplomatic talks with President Obama. Here, the demonstrators claim, they will stay until Israel’s government agrees to release thousands of Palestinians prisoners in return for soldier Schalit.

Even though all of Israel is aching to get young Schalit back to Israel, this is unfortunately not the right way to go about it.   Putting pressure on the Israeli government to release prisoners is equal to caving in to the demands by a terror group. This also means that thousands prisoners will be released, many of which are dangerous to the citizens and homeland security of Israel. It also means that many soldiers, who risked their lives in order to arrest these criminal terrorists, did so for nothing. Consequently, it also conveys the message that their lives are worth less then that of one single soldier. It’s a bad equation: one Israeli soldier, who hasn’t committed any crimes, comes at the price of releasing thousands of Palestinian criminals, some of which have murdered innocent civilians, both Israelis and Palestinians as well. Even worse, successful tactics tend to be repeated; in the long run, it most probably will lead to Hamas making more frequent attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Sweden currently ranks as the third largest contributor of aid to the Palestinians; it also holds a unique position. Sweden, which claims to value international law highly, has never issued any statements condemning Hamas’ illegal imprisonment of Gilad Schalit. Zionit’s  webpage (in Swedish) remarks on Schalit’s imprisonment :

“Since his capture he has been held hostage by Hamas in an unknown location, against international law. Nobody knows where he is and nobody has been allowed visits to monitor his state of health. Since his abduction four years ago he has not been accused of any crimes and nothing indicates that Hamas is seeking to try him for war crimes. Contrary to the laws of the Geneva Convention Gilad has been denied the right to keep in contact with his family and has been denied visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross. “

After the Ship to Gaza incident Sweden was one of the countries which most strongly protested the actions taken by Israel, even though it later was discovered that the most violent participants of the flotilla were there to commit jihadist acts and were hoping to die as martyrs.  It again  appears that Sweden—which for the last two hundred years has “spun” itself as a neutral state—cannot make that claim in this case either.

If Sweden were truly neutral, it would also condemn the illegal imprisonment of Gilad Schalit by Hamas, a terrorist organization. By reducing its millions of kronor in aid to the Palestinians, Sweden could effectively put pressure on the Palestinians to release Gilad Schalit, but Sweden will most probably not do this because Sweden, as opposed to what it would like everyone to think, is simply not neutral.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Brotherhood Movement in Sweden Hates Israel

Having recently finished the arduous task of going through everything the Swedish Association of Christian Social Democrats (more commonly known as the Brotherhood movement, or Broderskapsrörelsen) has written about Israel during the last six years, I am left with a simple conclusion: the Brotherhood movement must truly hate the only democracy in the Middle East.

Let us look at an example. During Operation Cast Lead, which was the IDF’s attempt to put a stop to the constant rocket attacks coming from Gaza, the Brotherhood movement published an editorial in their periodical Tidningen Broderskap decrying the “excessive violence” employed by the Israeli forces. The editorial also claims that the true purpose of the war was to show the Palestinians that firing rockets at Israel would cost them dearly – something this author would interpret as attempting to kill as many Palestinians as possible in order to discourage from further rocket attacks, rather than the stated goal of destroying or limiting the capacity of the Hamas for launching rockets into Israel. Worse, the attempts by a former member of the Swedish Israel Information Center to defend the Israeli actions are dismissed with a quote from the late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (Social Democrat): “Thus speak the creatures of evil.”

Tidningen Broderskap is, for all intents and purposes, the voice of the Christian Social Democrats of Sweden, and an editorial is meant to express the newspaper’s official opinion. If the official opinion of the Brotherhood Movement’s voice is that those seeking to defend Israel are “creatures of evil”, then what does this say about the movement itself?

This is but one example of many. In another editorial, the author claims that Europe is “losing its soul” due to its “Israel-hugging” (referring, among other things, to the trade agreement between Israel and the EU). A news article decries the demolition of Palestinian houses, claiming that it is being done so that Israel can claim the land for itself.

These examples reflect the stance of the Swedish Christian Left. They reflect the opinions of a movement which speaks for thousands of Swedish Christians – an organization which is highly influential within the greater Social Democratic movement of Sweden. If that organization would dismiss those seeking to defend the only democracy in the entire Middle East as creatures of evil, then we may have cause to look forward in fear to the day when a Social Democratic government once more rules Sweden.

The text was written by Adam Eberhag

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sweden’s Dirty Leftist Secrets

This blog deals with current issues in Sweden which are concerned with or affect Jews in Sweden and relations with Israel.  The blog has dealt extensively with the worsening violence among the mainly Muslim immigrant communities such as Malmö’s Rosengård neighborhood, and the dramatic increase in anti-Semitic hate crime which has already driven some Jews out of Malmö.  Those who remain in the community pay exorbitant costs for guards and surveillance to secure Jewish communal institutions. They also avoid walking the streets openly identifying as Jews.  For example, the Chabad rabbi—who is easily identified by his traditional garb and beard—has suffered numerous attacks, including an attempt to run him over.

The most disturbing element in this picture is the response of the authorities, which is paralleled, and in many cases, amplified by the media.  It seems the Swedish authorities are so busy congratulating themselves on having achieved multi-culturalism, that they fail to see that their main cultural import, i.e.  the Muslim immigrant sector, includes individuals and leaders who are absolutely intolerant, radical and destructive.  The result of this blindness is that the elites either ignore immigrant violence and hate crime or blame the Jews for it. For example, in the media, this is accomplished by “Photoshopping” images of immigrant youth to make them paler, and then referring to them by typical non-immigrant names such as “Johan”, when they are more likely to be “Muhammad”.  Poof! It’s all just teenage rabblerousing.  In the political sphere, this is typified by Malmö’s Social Democrat mayor Ilmar Reepalu blaming Swedish Jews for not publicly repudiating Israel.  In this equation, there may be a problem, but the Jews have brought it all on themselves. 

The question remains why both left-wing politicians and their leftist media associates, like the Aftonbladet daily—primarily a Social Democrat organ—choose to ignore anti-Semitic hate crimes, while actively sympathizing with the victim narrative of extremist genocidal Islamic groups such as Hamas.  How do they claim to be part of a liberal Swedish  tradition—while hopping in bed (or ship’s berth as in the case of the 10 Swedish Flotilla activists) with sworn jihadists who are looking for glory alive or preferably, dead?

Sadly, the answer is that the liberal tradition was never much more than a mirage, just like the myth of 200 years of Swedish neutrality.  After all, if you sell desperately-needed steel to the Nazis for armaments, you are aiding and abetting the Nazi war machine.  Similarly, you can’t claim to be a great proponent of peace while selling cut-price Bofors artillery to India so they could shell Pakistan in the 80s—that’s conflict escalation. Sitting out of the fight while making a good buck on the equipment is profiteering, not peace promotion.

What is the truth of the Swedish Socialist legacy? Well, one dirty secret which has been leaking out, albeit slowly, is the Swedish involvement in the Stasi, the highly-repressive East German police state’s internal spy network.  Remember, the Stasi employed yearly up to 91,000 people, most of whom were employed to spy on neighbors, co-workers, and friends; higher operatives carried out torture and executions.  At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall a set of files referred to as the Rosenholz Files was acquired by the CIA.  Those files pertaining to Swedish Stasi operatives were passed to the Säpo, the Swedish Security Service.  Säpo has resisted demands to open the files to public scrutiny for years, but under court order finally will allow scholar and author Professor Birgitta Almgren, of Södertörn University to view the documents under limited conditions.  According to Sweden’s English daily The Local :

“The court itself will decide exactly which papers she will be able to read. She will also not be allowed to take the documents off Säpo premises, will not be permitted to make copies of the documents and will have to destroy her notes within a year.”

Not exactly an agenda based on “freedom of information” is it?  Why is there a need to protect Swedes who worked for the Stasi’s elite HVA (Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung—Main Reconnaissance Administration) more than twenty years ago?  HVA operatives worked mainly in West Germany through infiltration of Western intelligence agencies and gathered military, economic and technological data, disseminating misinformation, and carrying out sabotage missions as well.  But here is the nasty bottom line: HVA was the primary conduit for passing NATO intelligence to the KGB. This means that Swedish operatives—no matter what they did—both actively supported the repressive East German regime and aided its operations in undermining Western democracy.

Many in Sweden speculate that the reason why Säpo has been reluctant to have the names of Swedish pro-Communist spies released is that many of them are still active in the power elites of parties on the left, such as the Social Democrats.  How does this tie in with Israel and the Jews? Again, remember that the Soviets and their allies were major sponsors of Palestinian terror groups such as Arafat’s Fatah and other Marxist radical terror groups.  Anti-Zionism was a required item on radicals’ ideological agendas, especially since Israel clearly allied itself with the United States and NATO.

Unfortunately, the leftist elites still nurture nostalgic feelings for their radical youth—more about that in the tomorrow’s post covering Jan Guillou’s latest radical screed—and it seems collaborators to the brutal East German regime freely roam the corridors of the Swedish state authorities. Meanwhile, the Jews of Sweden will continue to be the victims of hate crime in Sweden, and blamed for it, too.

The text was written  by Chanah Shapira

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes on the Rise in Sweden

Last week “Brå” -Brottsförebyggande rådet (the National Crime Prevention Council) published a report stating that anti-Semitic hate crimes are on the rise in Sweden’s larger cities although the number of hate crimes overall has remained the same.

The council’s report concluded that the most frequent hate crime in Sweden was racist or against foreigners and added that “it did not know if there had been an actual increase in the number of anti-Semitic crimes or merely in their reporting”. During 2009 there were 250 reported anti-Semitic hate crimes in Sweden; this was an increase of 57% compared to the previous year. As noted previously in this blog, anti-Semitic hate crimes may be reported, but police may choose not to include complaints in their statistics.  According to Brå, the most common crimes were against individuals and included, for example, violent crimes, threats, insults or agitation against an ethnic group.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes in the southern city of Malmö in Sweden drew much attention during the beginning of the year. The situation for the Jews in Malmö today is so bad that some Jewish families have felt forced to move away from the city. The mayor of Malmö, Ilmar Reepalu, has been heavily criticized for not only failing to remedy the situation, but, in fact, has been taken to task for fueling Islamic aggression and further worsening the prevailing bad situation. Astonishingly, Reepalu’s  remarks blamed the Jewish community for the acts of anti-Semitism—and then blamed “the Jewish  lobby” for “misinterpreting” his remarks.

At the same time  Jewish community leaders have taken notice of the situation. For example, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor notes that the situation of European Jewry may in fact be “at its worst since the end of World War II."
In an interview with the European Jewish Press he recently stated that "Jews are afraid to walk the streets in Europe with Jewish signs [wearing kippot, stars of David, etc.] Synagogues, Jewish schools and kindergartens require barbed-wire fences and security and Jewish men, women and children are beaten up in broad daylight".

It is a very unpleasant to find that there are signs—most clearly seen in the Swedish city of Malmö—which point towards a scenario in which Jews in Sweden will be unable to live freely and safely.  What is more sad is that the Swedish society which internationally is known as upholding rights for all of its citizens clearly fails to do so--Where the rights of Swedish Jews are concerned.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Riots in Rinkeby show that Sweden’s immigration policies are unsustainable

As continuously reported in this blog, there are daily arson attacks in the mainly immigrant populated neighborhood of Rosengård in Sweden's third largest city Malmö.  There are also constant threats against the Swedish authorities which operate in the neighborhood. Recently even an ambulance in Rosengård was met by stone-throwing youngsters. Now it appears that the neighborhood of Rinkeby in Sweden's capital Stockholm —which has an immigrant composition similar to Malmö-- is taking the same steps towards the radicalization we have seen in Malmö.

During June several violent attacks occurred in the area of Stockholm known as Rinkeby. The riots are said to have started after some youngsters were denied entrance to a school disco for 9th graders. This in turn led to the police being called to the location where they were met with stone-throwing teenagers. The situation escalated and the youngsters set fire to a bank, a school, and other buildings. The violent night would prove to be just the start of a chain of riots which continued during the month of June.

Rinkeby can in many ways be compared to Malmö’s Rosengård as most of Stockholm’s immigrants reside in Rinkeby. Following the riots in the area, several people were taken into custody suspected of inciting and perpetrating violent attacks against Swedish police. A number of the perpetrators who initiated violent attacks—such as torching a Nordea bank and a local school—have been identified as minors.

One of the sites attacked in Rinkeby is the Rinkeby Academy (Rinkebyakademin), a neighborhood school. The perpetrators managed to burn out the entire building. The total costs for rebuilding the damaged school are estimated by the Swedish government to be some 3 million SEK (about $400,000 USD).

The Swedes’ aspiration to always be politically correct becomes sadly apparent when Swedish newspapers and television choose to re-name interviewees from the riots with typical Swedish names. Even though it is publically known that that one of the most common names, in for example Malmö, is Muhammad, the Swedish press chooses to name Rinkeby rioters “Johan” or “Gustav”. For those of you who understand Swedish the clip below includes an interview with “Johan” who explains why the riots were taking place. Even though “Johan’s” voice is modified those who speak Swedish can clearly hear that “Johan” is an individual who doesn’t speak Swedish as his native language.

Giving immigrants typically Swedish pseudonyms does not only make the reporting close to comical as there were probably no Gustavs or Johans present in these particular riots. It also sharply highlights the difficulties Swedish society has in tackling the fact that too many immigrants have been accepted into Sweden without a full integration process. Unless these immigrants are better integrated the numbers of discontented individuals will only continue to grow—exacerbating the already radical climate in Sweden’s immigrant neighborhoods.

The reasons “Johan” states, as to why people are rioting in Rinkeby are lack of employment as well as boredom. It is apparent that the immigrant-friendly policies which the Swedish Social Democrats and their allied the Left and Green parties advocate now have come back to haunt the Swedes. Without full integration of the many immigrants Sweden has chosen to host, Sweden will not be likely to qualify for a medal as the most humanitarian country but instead prove to be country which in every way failed to adapt a healthy immigration policy.

When destructive attacks and uncontrolled riots by immigrants are seen in both Stockholm and Malmö –respectively Sweden’s largest and third-largest cities--it is obvious that without a clear change in government policy, radical violence will only escalate and spread in Sweden.