Archive for September, 2006

Rewarding the aggressors

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Sweden recently organised an international donors’ conference for the victims of Hizbollah’s war in southern Lebanon. However, the fund-raiser benefited only the Lebanese victims and excluded victims from the Jewish state.

It is interesting to put Sweden’s initiative into a wider perspective. Hizbollah’s war was launched from sovereign Lebanese territory. Eight soldiers were killed on Israeli soil, two soldiers were abducted from Israel, and rockets were fired into towns in northern Israel.

Set against this backdrop is Sweden’s own record on recent issues relating to Israel and to Jewish interests. The Swedish Chancellor of Justice declined to try a case where an imam in the main Stockholm mosque called for “death to the Jews”. The Chancellor said that Jews in Sweden should accept that this was part of the ‘normal discourse’ in a democracy.

Recently, Swedish state-owned wines and spirits monopoly changed the labelling on some Israeli-produced wines to state they came from “occupied Syrian territory”. No similar differentiated labelling was implemented for other conflict-ridden areas, such as the Lebanon (until recently occupied by Syria and with a strong wine-export industry). While the EU and UN labelled Hamas a terror organisation and banned dealings with the group, Sweden was the sole country in Europe to give a leading Hamas representative an entry visa, thereby opening the door to his entry into the rest of the EU under Europe-wide visa regulations.

Swedish minister for International Development Cooperation Ms Carin Jämtin, on the subject of the Israeli anti-terror barrier that has slashed Palestinian suicide bombings by over 90 percent, said the barrier, which she also termed an apartheid wall, was “entirely incomprehensible, it is not possible to express in words how incredibly sick it is”. She was then promoted to Deputy Foreign Minister. Twenty-three percent of the Swedish Jewish communities’ budget is allocated to security – that’s before one single cent is spent on providing any benefits for the communities’ members. We have to pay for the privilege of living here. There is a term for that in Arabic – dhimmi.

In the meantime, Swedish Jews demonstrating for peace are attacked by mobs burning flags and throwing stones. Once again there are posters bearing the hated Nazi swastika – now carried by Islamist extremists. The Swedish judiciary cannot decide whether or not to ban the swastika. Jews have to cancel Shabbat services and move them to secret locations because the lives of worshippers cannot be guaranteed. The Swedish police do an admirable job, they are the most sympathetic, understanding and dedicated of public servants, but they cannot do what they have neither the mandate nor the resources to do.

Sweden goes to elections in mid-September. This a country with about 400,000 Muslims and 16,000 Jews, with the Labour government trailing in the polls despite support from the Swedish Left (formerly Communist) party.

Hosting a donors’ conference that bizarrely rewards the Arab aggressors and ignores the victims in the Jewish state does not come as a surprise. In Sweden, expediency comes before principle.