Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ilya Meyer on Current and Past Swedish Demonization of Israel

Meyer photo: Times of Israel
 Ilya Meyer, who blogs in English here and here, writes about the anti-Israel attitude and actions which unify both right-and left-wing politicians in Sweden. In a meeting with diplomats and policy advisers, Meyer found a common thread and recommended tools to fight prejudice.  Here is the article which originally appeared as "Samsyn om demonisering av Israel".  Meyer terms Swedish political attitudes towards Israel a "sick obsession". We would add that while this was certainly as true 25 years ago as it is today, Sweden's poor record goes much farther back. Sweden banned kosher slaughter in the 1930's--even before the German Nazis did so. There is a long-running bias against Jews in Sweden, which has translated itself into rabid anti-Israel positions.  (We cranked the article through Google translate abbreviated a bit and smoothed the rough spots.)
Swedish "pundits" know better on Israel than the locals.  
Under Swedish pundits themselves ...Consensus on the demonization of Israel
Left or right does not matter, in Sweden is consensus among
obsessed politicians. At least when it comes to demonizing and opposing the Jewish state of Israel.
...Among the rest of [Zvi Mazel's] guests were former Ambassador to Sweden Moshe Yegar with wife Dvora, former Norway Ambassador David Zohar with his wife Nira, Professor Raphael Israeli of Hebrew University and Ariel Center for Policy Research with Swedish-born wife Margalit (Professor Israeli has previously given talks on the Middle East in Sweden), Manfred Gerstenfeld from the prestigious think tank Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), who, inter alia, wrote "Anti-Semitism in Norway, Behind the Humanitarian Mask", Professor Robert Wistrich of Hebrew University who is also rector of the University's International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, and Ilan Evyatar, news editor at the Jerusalem Post.
...They were very familiar with the Swedish news, Swedish news trends, Swedish domestic politics and the various political parties in the current situation, and manifestos. We exchanged many ideas and experiences, and probably this will have an impact both in Israel and here in Sweden.
...The most important was a comment by Moshe Yegar. He served as Israel's ambassador to Sweden between 1988 and 1991--a quarter century ago. At that time, just like today, it was part of an ambassador role to converse with senior representatives of all Swedish parliamentary parties. He thus had frequent contacts with, among others, Pierre Schori, who probably represented the outer extreme left wing of the Social Democrats, especially when it came to views on Israel, and Carl Bildt, who at the time was the right-wing Moderate Party leader.
Moshe Yegar said that...Left and Right in Sweden expressed the exact same antipathy toward Israel,
both treated the Israeli ambassador with the same disdain, both systematically ignored one side while they worked with the other side - the gun-toting Yasser Arafat. Already 25 years ago. [Ed. Note: Bildt showed consistency when he ran to greet Swedish Flotilla members on their return from supporting the Mavi Marmara terrorists.]
The Swedish political elite's attitude toward Israel is nothing new, in other words...This puts today's anti-Israel situation in Sweden in a sharp perspective. What is happening today is nothing new. However, what is new since the last 25 years is that now there is a wider public support for this sick obsession.
[Today we have electronic media.] ...But the electronic media are useless unless we use them. So be sure to disseminate, distribute articles and comments speak for Israel's cause...Do you see an anti-Semitic demonstration? Video it. You hear a manifestation of a call for violence against Jews or Israel? Record it. Use this speed to our advantage when it is something that should get a larger audience. In the past, the mainstream media simply remained silent to kill a story. Today, they can not - thanks to your smartphone. So use it. Often.
New today is also Google and all the other excellent search engines. Before you head into a discussion either face to face or via the written word, look up facts, check both one and three times that your claims are correct. It takes so little time now, it's a shame not to have secure facts behind you before you discuss with colleagues, school mates, newspaper readers, FB friends, and so on.
Newest of all is a new approach: to never back down or not stand our ground. Instead continuously advance. We must learn to constantly move forward. Do you know why? Because our opponents always move forward. Unless we do that, we end up behind. 25 years have passed since an Israeli ambassador noted that the Swedish left and the Swedish right wing is on the line in their hatred of the Jewish state - and we are still on the old barricades...The new anti-Semitism is spelled "anti-Zionism" and all our opponents express it. It is exactly the same disease, it is anti-Semitism in secret, anti-Semitism barely covered with little verbal cosmetics. We must constantly fight against anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, Islamism, racism and the constant attacks on human rights with the exact same strength and determination. For it is exactly the same disease...

The advice we received from all was to never give up, never stand still, never at rest. The advice we gave them was to ensure the spread news about Sweden both in the Israeli media and among the political establishment...

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