Posts Tagged ‘Fredrik Reinfeldt’

Attack Bildt but not Sweden

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The following is the English version of an article published in Israeli weekly Makor Rishon by Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld, Chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA).

The recent Swedish proposal to the European Union to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state was a severe hostile act against Israel. The proposal was watered down by other member countries. The attitude of Sweden which, for another few weeks, holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, may tempt Israel to hit back at the country’s government.

For several reasons, however, this strategy would be wrong. The anti-Israel campaign is led by one person, the Swedish Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Carl Bildt, who is the dominant figure in this government. Rather than targeting the entire government or country, Israel should focus on its major adversary in the current coalition.

Bildt’s hostile record toward Israel can be easily proved. On a Swedish radio program in April he said: “It is possible to make peace without Hamas the same way it is possible to make peace without Netanyahu on the Israeli side.” An Israeli Foreign Ministry official reacted diplomatically: “He clearly does not understand the difference between the leader of an Israeli political party and a group that is engaging in the terror that threatens Europe as much as Israel.”(1)

Bildt’s anti-Israeli sentiment came to the fore again in the Aftonbladet organ affair. In August this anti-Israeli daily published an article which accused Israel of killing Palestinians in order to acquire organs for transplant. Bildt refused to condemn it, saying that there is freedom of the press in Sweden and that the government therefore cannot condemn the press. When, however, a few weeks later, Aftonbladet published an article by a member of the right wing Sweden Democrats party, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt condemned it. Suddenly, when Israel was not concerned, it was permissible to criticize the same paper.

Ilya Meyer, a writer who has held senior positions in the Swedish Jewish community, has a blog which reports regularly – in both English and Swedish – on Sweden’s misbehavior toward Israel. He notes that the Swedish state finances almost the entire $6 million budget of an extreme pro-Palestinian group in the country, Palestinagrupperna. This body has links to various terrorist organizations. In an annual report Palestinagrupperna claimed that Bildt had told them that he agrees with them on every point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.(2)

There are many friends of Israel in the four parties currently in the Swedish government – the Moderates, the Christian Democrats, the Liberals and the Center Party. However, the present coalition is severely trailing the opposition in the most recent polls.(3) New parliamentary elections will take place in September 2010.

The opposition consisting of the Social Democrats, Sweden’s largest party, the Green Party and the Left Party is far more hostile to Israel than the present government, with the main exception of Bildt.

During the Gaza Campaign Mona Sahlin, the leader of the Social Democrats, participated in an anti-Israel rally in Stockholm(4) at which Hizballah and Hamas flags were flown and an Israeli flag was burned.(5) Jan Eliasson, the former foreign minister,(6) and Wanja Lundby Wedin, chair of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation,(7) also took part in that event.

Many senior party members participated in such demonstrations. In Norrköping, an ex-parliamentarian and former party secretary of the Social Democrats, Lars Stjernkvist, spoke with a Hizballah flag and swastikas in the background.(8) In Malmö, the Social Democrat parliamentarian, Luciano Astudillo, spoke as someone next to him held up a picture of Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah.(9)

Sahlin’s attitude toward Israel may develop in directions similar to those of Sweden’s best known prime minister, the Social Democrat Olof Palme. He was the first Western-European prime minister to label Israel as a Nazi state.

In the past few years Israel has missed the opportunity to confront the current government on many anti-Israel matters, including its indirect subsidies to anti-Israel hate bodies, mainly leftovers from the Social Democrat government.

This is especially unfortunate since the Swedish Minister of International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, is currently revising the country’s foreign aid policies. She aims to move funding away from corrupt and dictatorial regimes to democracies and to projects that foster economic and political goals that are in line with those of Sweden. Pointing out how Palestinian organizations which receive major Swedish aid are abusing this could have had some actual influence on the country’s foreign aid policy.

If the current coalition, led by the Moderates, remains in power, one can raise these issues anew and try to solve them over a four year period. If the Social Democrats win the elections, ongoing confrontations with Sweden will be almost unavoidable. This is the more so as, for the first time, the Left and Green parties will probably join the government. There are many possibilities for Israeli retaliation against hostile Swedish acts, but it would be counterproductive to disclose them today.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has published fifteen books among which :

Behind the Humanitarian Mask, the Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews. (2008)

(1) Gil Hoffman, “Swedish FM Likens Netanyahu to Hamas,” Jerusalem Post, 10 April 2007.

(2) Ilya Meyer, “The Swedish Foreign Minister’s Crusade against Israel,” 9 December 2009.

(3) Opposition poll lead “very worrying”: Reinfeldt, The Local 14 december 2009.

(4) Per Gudmundson, “Mona Sahlin, hakkorsen och Hamasflaggorna,” Gudmundson, 15 January 2009 [Swedish]

(5) “Israelska flaggan brändes,” Dagens Nyheter, 10 January 2009. [Swedish]

(6) Per Gudmundson, “Rödflaggat,” Gudmundson, 13 January 2009, [Swedish]

(7) Per Gudmundson, “Swedish Leading Social Democrats in Rally with Hezbollah Flags,” Gudmundson, 10 January 2009, [Swedish]

(8) Erik Svansbo, “Folkbladet uppmärksammar ‘bloggkupp,’” Svansbo, 14 January 2009, [Swedish]

(9) Per Gudmundson, “Rödflaggat,” Gudmundson, 13 January 2009, [Swedish]

Why Carl Bildt is driving the Israelis up the wall

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

September 19, 2010, that’s the target. Send the best political campaign professionals in the world into Sweden’s national elections. Make Reinfeldt and Bildt pay a price.”

That’s the suggestion of political consultant Michael Fenenbock in an op-ed in Israel’s largest daily, Yedioth Ahronoth. The reason is that the EU has once again proclaimed that Jerusalem should be the capital city of a future Palestinian state, something for which rotating EU president “Reinfeldt and his Rasputin-like partner Carl Bildt” ought to be punished.

We have the means, the experience and skill to cause these guys political pain in Sweden,” writes Fenenbock, who has previously run campaigns for Ted Kennedy and others in the US.

That’s somewhat ironic. For decades now an anti-Semitic-tainted extreme Left has been mouthing off about a “pro-Israel Lobby” that is alleged to control the world’s political destiny. When finally someone turns up who claims to represent just such a lobby, it also turns out that he intends to bring down the non-socialist government. That’s going to lead to some really hard-to-reconcile internal conflicts in many quarters.

The fact, however, is that there is a tense relationship between Sweden and Israel right now. That’s on the political plane. As regards trade and cultural exchanges, on the other hand, the atmosphere has never been better.

Carl Bildt’s rather arrogant style (he recently claimed that Israel is trying to influence the EU through a policy of “divide and rule”) underscores some Israelis’ impression that Bildt did not merely convey the demands expected during his country’s EU presidency, but rather that he has taken on the task with a dedication bordering on fervour. As though he truly burns with enthusiasm to put Israel in its place.

This past autumn’s headline-making story in which this country’s biggest daily paper spread stories about Israeli organ harvesting, stories deeply rooted in anti-Jewish mythology, without being admonished by the Swedish government, has scarcely done anything to mend bridges.

In Israel, the EU’s and Sweden’s incessant demands are perceived as highly one-sided. And not without some justification.

Last week the Israeli media presented leaked details about what was probably the previous Israeli government’s proposal to the Palestinians: then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is reported to have made an offer for a future Palestinian state on 99.3% of the pre-1967 territory. As well as the partitioning of Jerusalem. The Palestinians declined. Yet again. So who exactly is being unreasonable?

The current Israeli government emerged as a response to the previous centre coalition, which received nothing in reply to its far-reaching concessions. If today we are hearing a sharp tone of voice from Prime Minister Netanyahu and others, it is not solely a cause of the situation we see today – it is in equal measure a response to Palestinian intransigence.

That a Swedish non-socialist government would be hostile to Israel is unthinkable. So how exactly are we to interpret Carl Bildt?

It’s that same old problem: trying to extract responsibility from the only party that has ever been shown to be capable of behaving responsibly, while never demanding responsibility from the one party that really should be shouldering it. Instead of perhaps using our immense financial aid to the Palestinians to persuade them in the appropriate direction.

The question is whether it would work. From the Israeli viewpoint, it is more convenient to bicker with Sweden, and to joke about rigging our election process, than it is to pursue an uncertain centrist policy that would require some extremely hazardous concessions. That makes Carl Bildt the Likud government’s excuse to shift its focus. And that may not have been the intention.

Per Gudmundson

Translated into English by Ilya Meyer with kind permission from Per Gudmundson and Svenska Dagbladet (SvD)
The original article in Swedish can be viewed here on the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) website.
Michael Fenenbock’s article in English in Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth can be viewed here.

The Swedish Foreign Minister's Crusade Against Israel

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Courtesy GraphJam:

165 murdered and more than 550 maimed in the space of a few hours.

That was the result of yesterday’s Islamist attacks on Muslims in Iraq and Pakistan.

In Iran, meanwhile, the nation was in virtual lockdown as the Islamist regime there clamped down on Muslims demanding democracy and the right to free speech.

silence from the rotating EU presidency, currently in the hands of Sweden. Yesterday you could read here (EU Buys Swedish Votes) a detailed account of how the Swedish Foreign Minister and his cohorts set their priorities.

some more information to add to the Carl Bildt profile: radical Swedish fringe movement Palestinagruppen is an extremist pro-Palestinian group with links to various terrorist organizations. It proudly claims in its annual report (link to the Swedish text here) that “When the new government took over we lobbied Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in a variety of ways, for instance through letters in which we asked him what actions he intended to take, and also through the media where we reminded him of the dedication he had previously shown to Palestine, recalling the demands taken on board at the Palestinagrupperna Congress in 2006. We received a detailed and exhaustive response in which he emphasised that he agrees with Palestinagrupperna on every score.”

Palestinagrupperna has a membership of about 800 people. But it has an annual budget of 40 million Swedish kronor. That’s almost 6 million US dollars. Of that, 38 million kronor (about 5.5 million USD) comes in the form of various grants from the Swedish state. That’s a lot of state funding for foreign policy lobbying through unorthodox, unethical, some might even say illicit, means.

And this parallel foreign-policy organisation – an unofficial department manned by 814 staffers on no official Foreign Policy payroll yet wielding political clout way beyond its numbers, verifies that Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt “agrees with Palestinagrupperna on every score”.

But don’t take this shady quasi-Foreign Office department’s word for it. The figures – all 40 million of them – speak loud and clear.

The Swedish state is financing the subversion of a sovereign nation, Israel. It is doing so via a variety of means, both semi-legitimate such as through Palestinagrupperna, and officially via its Foreign Minister in the EU forum and elsewhere.

At a time when the Swedish economy is staggering, flagship carmaker Saab is being dismantled at a cost of thousands jobs and Volvo is on the verge of being sold off to China, the Swedish state coffers are being plundered to fund the delegitimisation of another member-state of the UN.

Officially. With state sanction. With the blessing of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the obsessive persistence of Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the collaboration of the State Bank, whose funds are being diverted from Swedish hospitals, schools, job-creation schemes and climate-enhancing infrastructure to fund the most intransigent and most corrupt recipients of aid the world has ever seen.

Some final statistics: The USA is the largest single contributor of funds to Palestinian Arab welfare. US contributions total in the region of 100 million dollars a year. The population of the USA is about 305 million souls. Sweden, the second largest contributor to the Palestinian Arabs, has a population of just 9 million, but donates about 40 million dollars.

The Palestinians have responded to Israel’s construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, in exactly the same way that they responded to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

By ignoring it.

Sweden, meantime, keeps diverting much-needed finances from its own population to fund continued Palestinian Arab intransigence.

That’s how important it is to Sweden’s political elite to keep the flames of anti-Israel hatred and anti-Semitic indoctrination burning.

Long-suffering Swedes are being forced to finance their politicians’ private obsession.

Carl Bildt busies himself castigating and undermining Israel, the victim of Islamist terror, while at the same time aiding and abetting the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, regimes that enshrine terror, most recently today, he may want to pause long enough to do this pop quiz and determine just how justified he is in forcibly diverting tax kronor from his own country and giving them to regimes that cannot spell “compromise”, “honesty”, “history” or “ethics”.

Courtesy Yaakov Kirschen, Dry Bones:

The New Republic
Washington Post
Washington Post
Muslim Against Sharia