Archive for May, 2004

Campaign by the Church of Sweden to dismantle the state of Israel

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004
The Swedish Church is behind the HOPP campaign. HOPP is the Swedish acronym for “Stop the Occupation of Palestine”. It is also the Swedish word for “hope”.

When the Swedish Church talks about Palestine, they mean – just as Yasser Arafat does – a geographical area that belongs only to Arabs. Arabs who today call themselves Palestinians but who prior to Israel’s independence in 1948 neither belonged to nor voiced aspirations towards recognition as a separate people, nation or political entity.

When the Swedish Church calls for economic sanctions against only Israel – which they maintain is single-handedly responsible for the violence in the area – it chooses to ignore the roles played by Arafat, Al Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups. Criticism is directed solely at the Jewish state. Terror carried out by Palestinians seems somehow to escape the same critical review.

Not even when Yasser Arafat on Saturday the 15th of May explicitly calls for terror, does the Swedish Church alter its bias in favour of the Palestinians, against the Israelis. Not even when Arafat issues a decree to his people to “act in accordance with your calling as warriors of Jihad … (to) terrorise your enemy and God’s enemy”.

The question is what – if anything at all – can persuade the Swedish Church and its HOPP campaign to realise the truth about the brutal people it voluntarily chooses to back. They are, after all, the very same brutal people who last week were playing football in the streets of Rafiah with crowds of jubilant spectators lining the streets. The football consisted of part of the body of a dead Israeli soldier.

Just imagine how much positive input the Swedish Church could have stimulated if its HOPP campaign instead aimed at injecting real hope among all the peoples of this troubled area. Just imagine if the Swedish Church had lived up to true Christian ethics and stretched out its hand to everyone who is suffering, giving them hope for a brighter future. Just imagine if the Swedish Church had actually learned something of Jesus’ teachings and acted in accordance with what Jesus had preached, instead of turning its back on one part of the region’s people – the Jewish people.

The Swedish Church and its HOPP campaign are a scandal for true Christian teachings. Because there is no longer any room in Christianity for the two thousand year old hatred of the Jews – except among the Swedish Church and its HOPP campaign.

Prejudice breeds hatred. Christianity is about love. The Swedish Church seems to need fundamental education on the precepts of Christianity, love, respect, history and modern social science.

And on the drawbacks of hate propaganda.

How deliberately inflammatory may a newspaper headline be?

Friday, May 21st, 2004
Sent to the Editor of Swedish daily Expressen on 21 May 2004.

Eight Palestinian civilians were killed in a tragic mistake during the ongoing war in Gaza this past week. The apparent cause was that an Israeli missile fired as a warning shot either entered the wrong trajectory or accidentally hit an area that had been previously mined by Palestinians to stop the Israeli advance, which explains the huge explosion and the large number of casualties.

During the ongoing action – the aim of which is to terminate the tunnels from Egyptian Rafah that are used to smuggle in weapons and explosives to the Gaza strip – 13 Israeli soldiers have also been killed and their bodies desecrated and offered on public auction. In addition, about 40 heavily armed Palestinians have been killed, weapons in hand. It’s an ongoing tragedy of unparalleled horror for all concerned.

However, when Expressen dubs a mistake a “massacre”, the newspaper simply injects even more poison into an already infected conflict. The newspaper is guilty of deliberate, callous misinterpretation and libel.

The last time we read banner headlines that screamed “massacre”, the focus was on Jenin. There were unconfirmed yet eagerly published claims of 500 deaths, which editors shamefacedly later had to revise to 52 Palestinian deaths, caused during an action that also claimed the lives of 23 Israelis. Of those 52 Palestinians, 47 were young men with guns and explosives in their hands, four were women and one was a young child.

Many different figures, but it all adds up to zero massacres and one lie. But a big one.

Expressen’s Web editors need to double-checkd the facts before committing themselves to print. After all, it is a policy that the paper pursues extremely rigorously in every other area of reporting.