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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One of Sweden’s Five Synagogues Re-Inaugurated

This historic synagogue is located in Norrköping, a town located close to Stockholm.The town of Norrköping, which currently has some 84,000 inhabitants, hosts only a few Jewish families.

The first Jew who arrived in Norrköping was Jacob Marcus who came to the city in 1782, as it was only in 1779 that Jews were allowed to live in Stockholm, Göteborg and Norrköping. Jews at that time were restricted to living in these three cities only, and to certain professions; they were not allowed to give evidence in court, and mixed marriages were prohibited as well.

Marcus was granted permission to reside in the city in order to conduct trade and establish factories. He built a small synagogue in 1790, which was replaced nearly seventy years later by the current synagogue; it was originally dedicated in 1858. According to historical sources:

-“In 1860, the congregation had 99 members. Today, only about 30 use the large structure, which was listed as an historic building in 1978. In the 1990s the synagogue was the target of several anti-Semitic attacks. That in 1996 was reportedly the worst of all; the building was entirely covered with anti-Semitic slogans.” 

Norrköping also has a historical cemetery which dates back to the time of its earliest Jewish settlers.Today, the small Jewish community in Norrköping is headed by Peter Freudenthal.

The renovation and re-inauguration have been made possible due to a generous donation by Sweden’s General Consul in San Fransisco who has contributed funds amounting to 5 million SEK (some $73,0000 USD) for the project. Unfortunately, however, Barbro Osher, the serving General Consul, was not present at the re-inauguration yesterday.

In light of the re-inauguration, invitations were issued to a number of religious and political dignitaries, including Israel’s ambassador to Sweden as well as Governor Elisabeth Nilsson, local Mayor Li Teske, Rabbi David Lazar and Bishop Martin Lind.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweden Democrats Attract International Attention

It has been one week since the national elections took place in Sweden but what the final outline of the government will look like is still uncertain. The largest parties in the country are, according to some sources, now joining forces to try to minimize the influence of the newcomers. The Sweden Democrats (SD) have been called both racist as well as neo-Nazi and their introduction to the Swedish government has not only caused a stir in Sweden but also in the international media.
For the first time the Swedish Democrats have managed to get into the Swedish government after they received no less then 5.7% of the country’s votes. As a result Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, recently ran an article with the headline “It won’t be long until the Swedish Democrats show true Anti-semitic nature”.The Haaretz article , featured an interview with President of the Official Council of Jewish communities in Sweden, Lena Posner.
In the article, Posner claims that “this [SD] is a neo-Nazi party… articulate, and talented…but very dangerous,” She further states: “We know where these people are coming from. They are Nazi sympathizers who, under their jackets, are still wearing their brown shirts.”
Yet, as noted by the author of the Haaretz article, the Swedish Democrats “did not include any anti-Semitic messages in its platform. On the contrary, it has two Jewish members among its top ranks and has actually come out in support of Israel at times.”
Still, according to Posner, “the vast majority of the approximately 20,000-strong Jewish community is nonetheless “devastated” by the results”.
Also the UK based daily The Guardian has decided to bring special attention to the introduction of the new party. The Guardian headline proclaims that the new elections ultimately mean that: “Sweden joins Europe-wide backlash against immigration”.
The article reads: “Against this troubled background, Sweden has long seemed aloof and immune, an oasis of civility and openness, with the most generous welfare, asylum, and immigration policies in Europe. But with about 100,000 immigrants entering a country of almost 9 million every year, Åkesson's (party leader of the SD) breakthrough suggests there has been a shift in the public mood.”
As noted by the Guardian, the introduction of SD in to the Swedish government may signal that now Swedes are opting for policies which will be much less tolerant to multiculturalism. Swedish opinion is beginning to oppose the current immigrant-friendly policies. The fact that a political party which allows for racism might end up in the Swedish government is a disgrace for Sweden. Still, it can only be understood as the result of the many policy failures for which the long-governing Social Democrats and their allies are responsible—and intolerance with these failures has now manifested itself in a public outcry.

On late Tuesday or Wednesday the final results of the national elections are expected, and this is also when most probably we will see what the final outline of the government will look like.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fun Times in Gaza

The Swedish left, including author Henning Mankell and Green parliamentarian Mehmet Kaplan, are all big supporters of Hamas’ regime in Gaza. In fact, Mankell and Kaplan are so fond of Hamas that they and several like-minded Swedish lefties joined the protest tourism cruise trip billed as “Ship to Gaza”.
Since they’ve vowed to return with even more protesters, let’s have a look at what recent events reveal about what tourists can find to do in Gaza—or not do. There have been a few changes since the flotilla was trawling in these waters, so protester please take note.

Firstly, ladies, forget about trying out one of those hookah bars. As of mid-July the Hamas regime banned women from smoking a nargila in public, because doing so violates “social norms and traditions.” Hamas police enforce this law strictly. As liberal feminists, left-wing Swedes can certainly understand that women in Islamic societies enjoy greater freedom when they stay at home where they belong.

Here’s another note for women: Don’t forget to pack your underwear, because you will have a hard time finding a lingerie store unless you can read shop signs in Arabic. Hamas has banned all displays of women’s underwear in shop windows—and especially mannequins modeling underwear—as an offense to “public morality.” But even if you can get locals to direct you to the store, it seems you will be buying without trying on the garments, as the doors of these establishments must be kept open to prevent the immoral behavior these stores may encourage. Violators are fined by the police. Of course, Swedes will again understand the need for enforcing scrupulous modesty, and the societal dangers of underwear.

We would have recommended a visit to Gaza’s Crazy Water Park, part of $20 million in leisure investments made recently by Gaza entrepreneur Samir Saed and others, in part as a response to the high cost of dining out. The park provided family entertainment at a modest cost. But the park was closed about two weeks ago because men and women were there together. This week gunmen beat the watchmen and completely torched the water park’s facilities.

-“ Unidentified gunmen set fire Sunday to the Crazy Water Park, one of the Gaza Strip’s most popular entertainment sites.

Eyewitnesses said that at least 25 men participated in the predawn attack. The gunmen beat the two night watchmen, bound their hands and confiscated their mobile phones before setting the complex on fire, they said.”

Next time the flotilla sails into Ashkelon, Swedes will find Gaza entertainment options are restricted to eating in some of Gaza’s fine restaurants, and perhaps a quiet stay at the Grand Palace, Gaza’s most deluxe hotel. And remember, behave yourselves!

By: Chanah Shapira

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Helle Klein finally resigns

With most of the Swedish media's focus being on the recent general elections, news unrelated to the elections is easily missed. However, it would have been quite a shame to miss a rare piece of rather encouraging news published in Aftonbladet. Apparently, political editor-in-chief Helle Klein, known for spending most of her time writing and publishing virulent, hate-filled articles about Israel, resigned some time ago. Good riddance! While her replacement, Karin Pettersson, is still an unknown force, this is still cause for celebration—one thing is certain: no one can be worse than Helle Klein.

By: Adam Eberhag

Monday, September 20, 2010

National Election Results in Sweden

Yesterday elections took place in Sweden and today it appears that Sweden has for the first time in history elected a right-leaning government for two mandate periods in a row. The introduction of the Swedish Democrats—an immigrant-hostile party—into the Swedish government is also noteworthy.
After the initial count it appears that the Moderates will stay in power for yet another term in the Swedish government. Still, the current situation is not favorable as the Moderates did not win a majority of seats in the government. This means that in order to get a majority the Moderates will have to lead in partnership with an opposition party—and the most likely candidate is the Environment Party. This is, however, an offer that the Environment Party, has declined so far, despite having enough numbers to make up a majority bloc.
Perhaps not surprising is the introduction of the controversial Swedish Democrats in the government. In the last elections the party did not receive enough votes to be included in the government, still,  yesterday they managed to gather no less than 5.7% of the Swedish people’s votes and 20 out of 249 mandates in the government. At this point however, neither the leading Alliance parties nor the Opposition wants to include the newcomers in the government.
The Swedish Democrats are notoriously known for their distinctive anti-immigration policies and for their nationalistic views. While some might believe that it is a former Nazi sympathizing party this is not true. In 2005 the party in fact excluded the chairman of the Swedish Democrats in Mölndal, as he had been part of the Nazi party (NRP) during the 1980s as well as stated that “they were not racist enough”.The party also currently have active Jewish members and it seems rather clear that they do not have an agenda similar to the Nazi's.
The party does, however, oppose liberal-supported issues such as gay marriage, gay adoption, abortion and immigration. Furthermore, according to Niklas Orrenius, political journalist from Sydsvenskan the Swedish Democrats want to ban all import of kosher (as well as halal) slaughtered meat.
More frightening is that a true Nazi party in fact gained popularity in the municipality of Grästorp (closely located to Göteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city) and even managed to get mandates in the municipal council. The introduction of a Nazi party in an elected community is the first since 1940. The party is called Svenskarnas Parti (The Swede’s Party) and yesterday it received 102 votes and 2.8% of the votes in Grästorp’s municipality. This consequently also meant that they gained one mandate in the municipal council . Until recently the party was known as “Nationalsocialistisk front” (National Socialistic Front) and it was known as a primarily immigrant-hostile party which include convicted Nazis among its active representatives.
It is not yet sure whether or not Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld will be able to bring together a new government in Sweden. Sweden Israel and the Jews will continue to monitor the Swedish elections and bring the non-Swedish speaking world updates concerning the final outcomes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jewish Center in Lund May Close

Due to lack of funding the Jewish community in Lund (located very near Malmö) might have to shut down all of its activities by the end of the year. The downturn for the community most probably began in 2004, when Lund’s Jewish Center decided to separate from the Malmö Jewish community. The split was largely due to differences in religious practices, but has now contributed to the center’s economic crisis.
Due to the lack of funding the center has no longer been able to bring lecturers or hold seminars, which in turn have brought in less revenue. Today the community can’t even afford to pay the rent for its facilities in central Lund. Making the situation even worse, the center doesn’t even receive any sort of government funding for cultural activities, but Janine Sages, member of the Lund Jewish Community, hopes that the municipality in Lund will agree to give cultural funds to the center for teaching and studying Yiddish.

The downturn in interest and membership in the small community clearly shows the trend of a decreasing population of Jewish inhabitants in southern Sweden. Also in nearby Malmö the Jewish community membership has decreased dramatically, causing the Malmö Jewish community financial problems.

The current climate of increasing security threats directed at the Jewish communities in Sweden, such as in Malmö, is accompanied by a decreasing ability to afford the security arrangements necessary. This is only logical as increasingly smaller communities must shoulder the burden of increasing security costs. Therefore, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Jewish life in Sweden.

Below is the original article from the local daily Skånskan (the article is not available online)

Friday, September 17, 2010

More News We Bet You Won’t Get In Sweden

As our readers know, the government-subsidized Swedish press usually specializes in anti-Israel bias. This is due to the fact that there is one major supplier of international news, the TT press agency.  As we have demonstrated previously, TT takes stories from other suppliers, including AFP, and re-spins them for the mainstream print and electronic media in Sweden. As they note on their website, “Sweden's major media cooperate with TT”.
As a result, Swedish readers are guaranteed to get a serving of highly selected material showing mainly the Palestinian viewpoint. This includes bypassing any reporting of stories which show Arab “activists” or “militants” for what they really are—terrorists.It was showed this last month, that when Israeli citizens were brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists Swedish media took little notice and Aftonbladet set an example of the many newspapers which didn’t even classify it as a terror attack.

Today we are highlighting a few items, which we challenge TT or anyone else in the Swedish mainstream media to report to their readers.
The Hamas terror regime in Gaza has, while crying poor, been building a shopping mall, beach villas, and eating out in style—and Swedish protest tourists may opt to stay at the deluxe Grand Palace Hotel. But it’s not all play. Israel’s Channel 2 news reported that the Kassam rockets which presently are fired on southern Israel are continuously in the process of being upgraded. Having increased the range and accuracy of these missiles to reach the area of the Ashkelon power station (which supplies most of Gaza’s electricity), Hamas weapons manufacturers are now adding on a much more destructive 10 kg payload—a sizeable increase and investment over previous models which carried an average of about 3 kg of explosives. Hamas’ firing of missiles which target civilian areas constitutes a war crime and is collective punishment directed at non-combatants. This report will not be found in the pages of Aftonbladet.

In a related item, the
Jerusalem Post reported on September 5th that there was an explosion in a village in southern Lebanon caused by the accidental detonation of yet another one of Hezbollah’s hidden arms caches. This was never once mentioned in Swedish media. It seems like the detonation of arms caches in southern Lebanon and the illegal practice of storing quantities of explosives arms in private homes in residential areas are not newsworthy topics for the “journalists” at Aftonbladet.

The Jerusalem Post also reports a story entitled “Abbas’s plea to Arab states: Show me the money!” that,
-“Most of the Arab countries have failed to meet their previous pledges to provide the Palestinians with financial aid, the PA said. With the exception of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Arab world was continuing to ignore the Palestinians’ repeated requests for help… Last week, PA President Mahmoud Abbas complained that the Palestinians haven’t seen ‘one cent’ of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Arab countries promised them”.And even the oil sheikhs that paid up shelled out far fewer petrodollars:
-“In 2009, Saudi Arabia gave the Palestinians $240m. In comparison, the Palestinians received only $30m from the Saudis between January 1, 2010, and the end of last month.”

Followers of Middle East policy and events know that this is business as usual.  Don’t expect this item to appear in a TT-based story—because it shows that, in fact, the Palestinians really aren’t the prime concern of the Arab world.  The Arab and Islamic leadership may be fond of speechifying and pledging aid, but they rarely bother to deliver, and the Western media never calls them on the carpet for broken promises. These days Arab states have real concerns over Iran’s nuclear potential and Western inaction; the Palestinians are small potatoes.
The Swedish media often demonizes Israel as the sole aggressor and actively promotes the Palestinian line, while ignoring, for example, Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s massive weapons stockpiles and terrorist acts in Lebanon.  They also turn a blind eye to the increasing threat of more advanced missiles coming out of Gaza—another Iranian arms client. This will not promote peace. Sticking one’s head in the sand won’t make Iranian aggression-by-proxy go away; it will only encourage Hezbollah and Hamas intransigence to continue without penalty and, as far as the Swedish media is concerned, without comment. 

By Chanah Shapira

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Palestinian Groups in Sweden Oppose Peace with Israel

 Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are set to resume this week under the guidance of Hilary Clinton. While the world eagerly hopes to get positive outcomes from the talks there are those, including some organizations in Sweden, which strongly oppose any peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel.

As widely published in Arabic media sources (and easily translated with Google Translate), in fact, “Over twenty Palestinian Arab organizations in Europe have signed a letter criticizing Mahmoud Abbas for negotiating with Israel, saying that he will sell out on Jerusalem and the ‘right of return’ without representing them.”
The petition letter further claimed that; “Abbas is covering up the Zionist killing of Palestinian Arabs, the Judaizing of Jerusalem, and the creation of ghettos for Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank, as well as collaborating with the Israelis”.

The letter concluded that the "Palestinian people" will certainly not tolerate any such moves.

Amongst these 20 organizations three were from Sweden. These “peace protesters” are: Sweden’s Palestinian Engineers Association, the Union of Palestinian Artists in Sweden, and the Union of Palestinian Teachers in Sweden.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Failed terror attack in Denmark

It was during Friday afternoon that an unknown man in his 40s accidently set of an explosion in Hotel Jörgensen in Copenhagen. It is believed that the man’s real target was the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten which was responsible for publishing the “Mohammed Cartoons” some five years ago.

According to Danish newspaper Extra-Bladet, the man accidently set off his bomb inside a restroom in the hotel while on his way to Jyllands Posten. The newspaper has been under constant threats of terror since its decision to publish cartoons portraying the Islamic prophet Mohammed in 2005.

After the explosion in the hotel the unidentified man was seen running off into a nearby park. Due to his injuries—caused by the explosion—it was later possible to arrest the man. The terror suspect was confirmed as speaking perfect English and could be interrogated, but still he has refused to cooperate with the police .

The Danish police believe that the man was on his way to commit a terror attack against the newspaper’s premises since a map with Jyllands Posten’s location circled was confiscated from the man. A handgun has also been found in the same hotel where the man accidentally set off the explosion.

The event which played out on Friday in Denmark is classified as an attempted terror attack and should serve as a reminder to nearby Malmö, just over the bridge from Copenhagen, and the rest of Sweden too, that real terror threats do exist in Scandinavia.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Göteborg Demonstration Promoting Israel Boycott

Last Friday a football game was played between Israel and Sweden at a football stadium in Sweden’s second largest city Göteborg. The game attracted some 150 demonstrators, who had gathered at the initiative of the leftist organization Proletären FF (Proletarians).

Due to the constant threat against Israeli football players the football arena had taken security measures and had several policemen present. It was also stated that both Jewish and Israeli interests had been taken into consideration in the security planning.

Outside the stadium demonstrators were heard shouting “Long live Palestine, crush Zionism” (Leve Palestina, krossa sionismen) as well as "Boycott Israel, long live Palestina” (Bojkotta Israel, leve Palestina) and "Yalla, Yalla the wall shall fall” (Yalla, yalla, muren ska falla). None of the demonstrators acted violently, despite the aggressive tone of the slogans.

During the demonstration the Proletären FF and the Left Party as well as the Socialist Justice party took the opportunity to hand out information. Leader for Proletären (the Proletarians), Bengt Frejd, also encouraged people to “cut all connections to the apartheid system in Israel”.

Happily, due to the low participation rate in the demonstration, it seems rather clear that the Israel haters in the Proletären FF, the Left Party as well as the Socialist Justice do not have a wide support in Göteborg.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dror Feiler-Putting Out Fires with Gasoline in the War Against Anti-Semitism

A debate is taking place in Göteborg’s daily newspaper Göteborgs Posten (GP) as members of the Ship to Gaza Movement and JIPF (Judar för israelisk-palestinsk fred—Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace) contend with those who claim that these two groups are nothing but promoters of aggressive Israel-hatred that leads to anti-Semitism.

The debate started on August 23rd when Dror Feiler, Henry Ascher and Staffan Granér, all members of Ship to Gaza Movement as well as JIPF, attacked an opinion piece written by historian and author Ingrid Lomfors. The three claimed that Lomfors had stated in her piece that “due to the probability that criticism against Israel might be interpreted as anti-Semitism one should refrain from criticizing Israel in order to avoid being allied with anti-Semitic and Israel-hating forces.”

In the piece the three authors also claimed to be on the frontrunners of combating anti-Semitism in Sweden. This is rather bizarre—as Dror Feiler in 2004 created the controversial art installation “Snövit och sanningens vansinne” (Snow White and the Madness of Truth) which was easy to interpret as glorifying a female Palestinian suicide bomber who killed 21 Israeli and injured more than 50. Feiler is also known for openly calling for Israel to recognize Hamas, an organization whose agenda states the organization’s intention to commit genocide—by eliminating the Jewish citizens of Israel. Feiler has also adopted illegal means in order encourage more people to boycott Israel.

It is widely known that Jewish people around the world have a special connection to the state of Israel, even though this doesn’t mean they support the policies of the state. Still, it seems rather odd that Feiler, a known and aggressive Israel-hater should assign himself the position of frontrunner for halting anti-Semitism in Sweden.

Taking part in the debate in GP is Allan Stutzinsky (FP) who asserts that in order for criticism against Israel to avoid anti-Semitic nuances, it is highly important that the debate is “to the point, diverse, balanced and proportional”. He also argues rightly that none of the representatives from Ship to Gaza and JIPF have been able to contribute to such criticism.

Stutzinsky continues:
“All criticism against Israel is not unjustified. Almost all criticism is, on the other hand, one-sided and unbalanced. It is also frightening that it is also untrue”. As we have seen in Sweden, “loud criticism leads to Jewish cemeteries being ravished, Jewish daycare centers and homes for elderly are vandalized, and people who wear Jewish symbols are abused”.

In another response to Feiler and his friends’ first piece, young Jewish students from Göteborg, Johanna Schreiber and Joseph Borenstein call the piece “propaganda rhetoric” and further claim that Feiler and his friends are worsening the situation for young Jews in Sweden. This further enhances the notion that the three representatives from Ship to Gaza and JIPF aren’t suitable candidates to represent Jewish interests.

On August 27th , Ingrid Lomfors decided to reply to the piece written by Feiler, Ascher, and Granér. She then clarifies that she did not write that one should not be able to criticize Israel, but, since criticism can contribute to anti-Semitism, one should consider in which contexts one wants to take part.

She also rightly claims that the trio’s response insinuates that Jews who are openly pro-Israel and connected to a congregation have themselves to blame for the hate aimed towards them. Lomfors ends her response with the quote, “the explanation lies not with the ones subjected to the Jew-hatred but amongst those who hate”.

Today the Israel-hating trio decided to write an additional response. This, of course, promised even more anti-Israel vitriol with arguably anti-Semitic tones. When the trio writes in today’s op-ed: that [Jewish] assemblies’ expressed neutrality towards Israeli policy is good, but is at odds with the experience we have learned”, this emphasizes that the trio clearly doesn’t believe that a Jewish community in Sweden can hold opinions different from the State of Israel. It further emphasizes the argument by Lomfors that the trio is holding members of Jewish communities in Sweden liable for any hate crimes aimed towards them unless they disassociate themselves from Israel.

Feiler, Ascher and Granér also stressed their complaints over the fact that they were never invited to either of the Jewish communities in Göteborg and Stockholm (yes, one can wonder why they are not invited).

If the Israel-bashers Feiler, Ascher and Granér were to be the appointed front-runners in the struggle against anti-Semitism in Sweden, the future for the Jews in Sweden would not look too bright. Thankfully, there are people such as Lomfors and Stutzinsky, who fight publically in media forums. They point out the true agenda of these Israel haters who bring nothing but unjust demonizing to the table. By contributing aggressive criticism of Israe, Feiler and his friends are far from being frontrunners in halting anti-Semitism in Sweden—it would be more accurate to characterize them as individuals responsible for generating hatred against Sweden’s Jewish community and justifying and encouraging Hamas’ genocidal aspirations towards Israel’s Jewish population.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Terrorism—Despite Reality, It’s A Term Too Politically Incorrect for Use in Sweden

This past week Israel and the Palestinian Authority started direct peace talks in Washington. As usual, when peace talks have been initiated, Israel has been subjected to bloody terror attacks. This however, is something that the Swedish media chooses to report on in a limited way, and what is reported is not termed terrorism.

Four Israeli civilians in the West Bank were killed in a terror attack Tuesday this week. The perpetrators were members of the terror group Hamas which currently rules in the Gaza Strip, and which would like to control the West Bank as well. Hamas refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist; in fact the Hamas charter is not only anti-Semitic but genocidal. Hamas has continuously shot deadly rockets into Israeli territory aimed at innocent civilians. The latest terror attack, which was a response to the current peace talks between the state of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, claimed the lives of four Israelis. Among the victims was Tali Ames, who was 9 months pregnant. According to Debka File:

-“The gunmen fired a hail of automatic fire from a following car, then approached the bullet-riddled vehicle and fired again at point-blank range to make sure their victims were dead.”

A second attack which occurred near the settlement of Kochav HaShachar was described by shooting victim Moshe Morani in the Israeli daily Haaretz:

-"‘…As we came round a bend, he came past me and the shooting started.’ The assailants fired continuously, hitting the car door at least 10 times, before an apparent weapons malfunction allowed the passengers to escape from their overturned vehicle, Moreno said.

"‘One of the guns seemed to jam and that gave us the chance to roll away and take cover. I knew that if they reached us, they would spray us with bullets at point blank range.’”

(Debka File reports that the IDF has surmised that the gunmen are operatives from small cells imported from Syria or Lebanon; this may point to a cooperative link with Hizbollah, the Iranian-sponsored terror group.)

To illustrate their joy over the killings, Hamas showed their brutal and repulsive nature and publically celebrated the event, with 3,000 people joining in a celebratory rally. A spokesperson for Hamas in the Gaza Strip called the attack heroic and also eagerly promised that more (murderous) attacks on civilians in Israel were to be expected.

Most Swedish newspapers have reported warmly and in detail on Israel and the Palestinian Authority starting peace talks in Washington. Major Swedish newspapers have chosen in reporting on what was unquestionably a terror attack to completely avoid using the word “terror”. In addition, reports gave minimal details of the victims, mostly describing them as nameless “settlers”.

That the large Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet doesn’t report on the Palestinian terror attack on Israeli civilians does not come as a surprise. The tabloid has a record of spending vast amounts of time demonizing Israel and its political chief editor is a deep-dyed Israel hater . As of this writing, no reports of the attacks have appeared on Aftonbladet’s website.

By avoiding using the term “terrorists” to characterize Hamas, while at the same time constantly reporting news items which portray the Palestinians as the underdogs, the Swedish media continues to create a distorted image of the conflict. By reporting in a minimalist way (or not at all) on the resumption of lethal shootings by Palestinian terrorists against Israeli civilians, the Swedish media presents reports in which Israeli citizens are reduced to numbers and faceless bodies. There is almost no human story presented when it comes to Israeli victims.

When the Swedish media fail to report in an unbiased way on the conflict in the Middle East, continually showing the Palestinians as victims, but failing to identify with the victims of Hamas terror, they grant legitimacy to Hamas. When peace talks fail, the same media will blame Israel alone, contributing to the demonization of the Israel and its people.