Sweden's Diakonia aid agency wages war against Israel

It is unreasonable to provide information about the Holocaust, in which Hitler murdered six million civilian Jews in a meticulously planned industrialised process, without at the same time providing information about “al Naqba”.

These words mean “The Catastrophe” and refer to the 400,000 to 750,000 Palestinian Arabs who became refugees in 1948 when, backed by five Arab armies, they attacked the Palestinian Jews in the fledgling state of Israel but lost their war.

This is the official view of Swedish Christian aid organisation Diakonia, whose Policy Officer for Conflict and Justice Joakim Wohlfeil said at a meeting in Gothenburg in October this year that Diakonia is more a lobby group with a clear political agenda for the Middle East than a Christian aid organisation. The shocked silence that ensued was quickly filled by his boss, Secretary General Bo Forsberg, who said that Diakonia was still first and foremost a Christian aid organisation.

Anti-Israel policies
Diakonia operates freely in Israel and the Palestinian territories in pursuit of anti-Israel policies that are often remarkably anti-Semitic in effect. Its record speaks for itself.

Modern developments show that political extremism, religious fanaticism, dictatorships and crimes against humanity are all on the rise. As democrats rooted firmly in the Judeo-Christian affirmation of inalienable human rights, it is always our moral duty to stop human suffering at the hands of anti-democratic despots and their collaborators. Iran, Darfur, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Tibet – all require our focus if we are to contribute to a better world.

These, however, are areas in which Sweden’s Diakonia is not involved.

Unhealthy obsession against the Jewish state
The ostensibly Christian aid organisation Diakonia appears instead to be totally obsessed with the world’s only Jewish state and is uninterested even in coming to the aid of Christian communities in acute distress. Copts are suffering systematic racism in Egypt, Pakistan’s Christian minority are being hunted to extinction, Christians in the Philippines are being exterminated, Bethlehem’s Christian population has been decimated since the Palestinian Authority took control over the area. Diakonia continues to pump Swedish money into the PA apparatus but maintains total silence on the systematic expulsions of Christians from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and the cradle of Christianity.

Diakonia’s collaborators
In the democratic state of Israel, Diakonia collaborates intimately with a whole raft of extreme left-wing organisations. In the dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority, Diakonia collaborates intimately with radical political groups and fanatical religious organisations that refuse to mark Israel on the map and where young schoolchildren are systematically indoctrinated in anti-Semitic hatred from grade one.

Diakonia’s 60-page annual report makes no mention of the Taliban. The word “terror” appears just once – in conjunction with Paraguay. And then only with the qualifier “alleged terrorists”. According to Swedish aid organisation Diakonia’s world view, acts of violence against civilians perpetrated by fanatics with an extreme religious and/or political agenda are not characterised as terrorism.

Overt one-sidedness
Diakonia’s annual report makes no mention of Sderot, whose civilians have been terrorised by more than 8000 Palestinian Arab rockets and where playgrounds for toddlers have to be built indoors for protection against these rockets. Yet the Palestinian Arabs get 13% of Diakonia’s total aid. Donated by Christians in Sweden who believe in democracy and the equal value of all human life.

In one single month, October 2008, Diakonia participated in 10 articles in the Swedish media. Nine of them dealt with the world’s only Jewish country, Israel. Diakonia writes in its annual report that its second focus area outside Israel/the Palestinian Authority is Congo. Yet Congo, which has seen thousands of civilians slaughtered, raped and expelled, has merited just one single article. That was written in February…

Diakonia runs what it calls an “ecumenical accompaniment programme in Palestine and Israel” whose stated aims are to “reduce the brutality of the Occupation” and to “End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine”. But it does not aim to bring an end to terrorism – the root cause of the occupation and the violence. Despite the flowery language in its policy document, there has not been one single recorded instance of Diakonia ever accompanying children in Sderot, who have been bombarded by 150 missiles from Gaza in the past week alone. But then these are Jewish children.

It is to this organisation that Christians in Sweden donate their millions. And it is this organisation that Israel gives free right to operate within its sovereign territory.

Religion and politics dangerous bedfellows
If there is one thing that history has taught us it is that religion and politics are dangerous bedfellows. When the Church pursues its own foreign-policy agenda with substantial financial backing, the result is seldom pleasant and always predictable. One natural question regarding Diakonia’s obsession with the world’s sole Jewish state while ignoring human rights issues in the world’s 23 Arab states is whether its Christian benefactors in Sweden actually know what is being done with the hard-earned money they donate. Because if there is one thing Diakonia does not do, it does not contribute to calm and mutual respect in the Middle East by pursuing such a flagrantly prejudiced stance.

The other question that begs an answer is whether the Israeli authorities really understand the nature of the fifth column that is being allowed to work within its borders. The Israeli foreign ministry and security establishment may find it helpful to contact Swedes with an objective insight to obtain first-hand information about the nature of Diakonia and other like-minded Swedish organisations that operate freely within Israel to bring down the country.

Unconscionable hatred and partisanship
It is incompatible with a Christian, humanitarian and democratic world-view that a radical left-wing organisation be allowed to operate under the mantle of Christian aid. It is inconceivable that it should receive Swedish governmental financial aid and official Israeli sanction to engage in lobbying and domestic politics in Jerusalem while remaining silent on the plight of Christians being decimated in Christianity’s birthplace a few kilometres away in Bethlehem. And it is unconscionable that its obsession with the Jewish state causes it to turn a blind eye to the plight of millions of people the world over who are suffering indescribable injustices.

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