“Tensions in Swedish society “
“We must increase tolerance in society.” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, October 20, 2009.
In August 2009 Swedish left-wing tabloid Aftonbladet tried to increase its popularity among radical left-wingers by publishing an article alleging that Israel engaged in the systematic killing of Palestinian Arabs in order to harvest their internal organs for transplantation purposes. The article drew tenuous links to the arrest in the USA of a man suspected of money-laundering. The article specifically emphasised that the suspect was Jewish, labelling him a rabbi.
The 2009 Swedish blood libel was born. It is this kind of intolerant hate-mongering that has given rise to pogroms against Jews over the centuries.
Sweden then deliberately retracted a statement by the country’s ambassador to Israel, Ms Elisabeth Borsiin Bonnier, in which she noted that the article had caused considerable distress to Israelis and Jews and that the Swedish people did not condone this kind of demonisation of people on the basis of ethnicity or religion.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt repeatedly stated that the Swedish constitution and Swedish law prevented him from making any comment on the article, as this would constitute undue government interference in the press and illegal press censorship.
“I acknowledge that there are tensions in Swedish society,” said Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt just a few weeks later, on October 20.
However, just like the previous quote, this too had nothing to do with the August Aftonbladet article that built on intolerance and racist stereotypes and that incited hatred of the Jews.
Instead, both quotes are from a statement Reinfeldt made a mere few weeks later, on October 20, 2009, after Swedish right-wing party the Sweden Democrats (SD) wrote an article in the same tabloid newspaper, Aftonbladet, in an attempt to increase its popularity among radical right-wingers by accusing Islam of being a threat to the nation.
Reinfeldt immediately took it upon himself to distance the Swedish nation from the controversial SD statement.
Which naturally begs the question: did Reinfeldt lie to the nation and the world in August when he said that Swedish law forbade him from commenting on an article that insulted Jews, Israelis and Judaism? He had, after all, gone on record as confirming that it was the Swedish constitution that prevented him from commenting on the article. Or is he breaking the law now by commenting very publicly on another article in the very same newspaper, with the only difference that this time it is Muslims who quite rightly feel targeted?
Is this what informs Reinfeldt’s actions? Jews – including their religion and their nation – can be insulted without comment, while followers of Islam cannot?
There can be no other explanation.
It would be ludicrous to suggest that Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt is an anti-Semite. He is not. He is a weak, unprincipled and totally ineffective leader. He is everything a leader is not supposed to be. He is a leader who silent when it does not benefit him politically. And a leader who speaks out when he is scared.
The worst imaginable combination. Because it leaves principle and leadership by the wayside.
In the days when the English language was simple because Political Correctness had not yet conquered reason and erased sound common-sense, this kind of discriminatory behaviour based on religion and ethnicity might have been labelled racism or more specifically anti-Semitism.
Today, however, there are other parameters to be taken into account.
Self-abasement, abject cowardice and a total lack of principle are foremost among them.
While the extremist views of the Sweden Democrats are to be abhorred for their imbecilic generalisations and racist appeal, it is interesting that their actions have painted the Swedish Prime Minister’s lacklustre qualities in sharp relief.
The unfortunate downside is that there will doubtless be plenty of Swedish voters who take note of Reinfeldt’s ineffectuality and draw their own conclusions as this country heads to the ballot in ten months’ time.
A leader who cannot see the discrimination in maintaining silence on insults to Jews while championing the feelings of Muslims who are insulted in the same media, is simply going to hand a resounding victory to the Sweden Democrats.
Fredrik Reinfeldt would do well to read this article and remember it when the votes are tallied in Sweden next September.
Articles in English:
Camera on Swedish Aftonbladet’s bigotry
JCPA/Mikael Tossavainen on Swedish reactions to blood libel report
Andrea Levin/Wall Street Journal – Anatomy of a Swedish Blood Libel
GLORIA/Barry Rubin – Taking Stock in Stockholm
GLORIA/Barry Rubin – Blood Libel Goes Mainstream
Ilya Meyer – Freedom of the Press in Sweden
Ilya Meyer – The Carl Bildt Philosophy
Ilya Meyer – Letting the Lunatics Run the Asylum
Ilya Meyer – Silence in the Swedish Social Democratic Party
Ilya Meyer – Spicy Swedish Journalism
Ilya Meyer – Aftonbladet: an Ideology in Search of a Newspaper
Ilya Meyer – Silence is Golden
And others – click on the “English Articles” icon top right