Swedish credibility at an all-time low

2006 is election year in Sweden. In early April, Swedish Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz quashed an investigation into calls from the Stockholm Grand Mosque to “kill the Jews”. In his opinion, incitement to kill Jews in Sweden should be seen against the background of the conflict in Israel, rendering such calls entirely permissible.

Later the same month Minister of Justice Thomas Bodström declined to withdraw an entry visa for Hamas leader Salah Muhammad al-Bardawil or to have him arrested upon entry – even though Sweden is a signatory to the pan-European decision to brand Hamas a terrorist organisation. al-Bardawil and his associates will be visiting Sweden in early May under the full protection of the Swedish authorities.

Policy of non-cooperation with Israel
And now Cabinet Secretary Hans Dahlgren announced that Sweden has withdrawn from a European peacekeeping exercise. The explanation: “the participation of the Israeli Air Force has changed the prerequisites of the exercise.” Swedish Defense Minister Leni Björklund goes further: Sweden pulled out because Israel is a state “that does not participate in international peacekeeping missions” – in other words, if you’re not already in the club you have no right to try and lend a helping hand to those in need. Ever. Of course, the Defense Minister is entirely wrong – nothing unusual in Swedish government circles – because Israel sent a peacekeeping force of policemen to Fiji in conjunction with that country’s elections. But then the Defense Minister is not exactly renowned for allowing fact to shape policy.

It is election year and the votes of Sweden’s 400,000 strong Muslim electorate easily outweigh those of the country’s mere 16,000 Jews. The Swedish Social Democratic administration obviously considers it worth the half million or so kronor it has already spent on its 10-month preparations for the joint exercise to drive home its thirst for votes.

Bad timing
Sweden’s latest in a long line of questionable decisions could scarcely have come at a more indelicate point in time – virtually coinciding with Holocaust Remembrance Day in memory of the millions exterminated on an industrial scale in a Europe unwilling to work together to stop tyranny and encourage coexistence and loyalty. Today Sweden is repeating what it did sixty years ago – turning its back on those in need and siding with the force it sees as likely to win. This is perhaps the right time to remind ourselves that it was high-quality Swedish ore that powered Nazi Germany’s war machine.

What price morality?
It is perhaps also the right time for people of conscience to vote with their wallets and give Sweden’s IKEA, Volvo and Saab a wide berth. There is no Swedish product that cannot be replaced with an alternative from a democracy based on moral values.

Most Swedes are indignant, shamed even, by this most recent example of their government’s anti-Israel stance, the more so since it smacks so obviously of pre-election jostling. At a time when the governing left-communist coalition is trailing in the polls by three to five percent, it is apparent that no measure is too marginal to be used in the drive to cement its power.

The shame is that Jews in Israel are being victimised yet again, denied the opportunity to participate in peacekeeping missions in other parts of the world owing to domestic electioneering tactics in faraway Sweden.

It does perhaps help put matters into perspective that the Swedish government’s decision to ostracize Israel came on the same day that the Muslim Council of Sweden publicised its demands for the implementation of Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in Sweden.