Swedish Green Party politician Per Gahrton, who is also Chairman of the rabidly anti-Israel “Palestinagruppen”, strongly condemned Sweden’s ambassador to Israel.
This after Ambassador Ms Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier expressed her distaste over Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet’s grotesque anti-Semitic article. The populist daily painted a picture of Israel and Jews worldwide engaged in a murky conspiracy to illegally harvest human organs from Palestinian Arabs, suggesting there is an Israeli army unit set up to kill Arabs for the purpose.
Gahrton insisted that Ms Bonnier be recalled to Sweden by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and taught “the basics of Swedish freedom of speech” for her denunciation of the article. This was in August 2009.
In April 2009, at the height of the Danish Muhammed cartoon controversy, the same Per Gahrton lambasted Denmark’s former PM Fogh Rasmussen: “By refusing to criticize Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s Muhammed cartoons … he has contributed to the ‘clash of civilisations’ that certain conservative circles seem to want”, thundered Per Gahrton.
The quixotic Gahrton thus demands official interference in the press for articles that risk offending Muslims, yet equally stridently decries official interference in the press for articles that offend Jews. Either his logic needs adjusting, or his medication does.
What the barely democratic Per Gahrton and his collaborators fail to understand is that “freedom of speech” is just that: everyone is entitled to express an opinion.
It is not illegal in Sweden for a newspaper to publish unadulterated nonsense. It is not a crime to be an idiot or to display an embarrassing lack of intelligence in a public place – otherwise Aftonbladet’s journalists and editors would have been behind bars years ago.
Nor, by the same token, is it a crime to comment on the idiocy of journalists. The Swedish ambassador was exercising her freedom of speech by commenting on the absurdity and nastiness of Aftonbladet’s article. Remarkable though it may seem, it is actually permissible for Aftonbladet to produce such unsubstantiated rubbish, even though it is borderline gross anti-Semitism. It is also equally permissible for a Swedish ambassador to comment on it. What Per Gahrton and his ilk don’t seem to understand is that “freedom of speech” actually applies to all citizens – not just the select few that he selects.
Like the rest of his brown-shirted compatriots, Gahrton feels it is wrong for politicians to interfere with freedom of the press. There are however two exceptions: it is OK if it is Israel that is being criticised, and it is not OK if it is Muslim intransigence, violence, criminality and megalomania that are being criticised.
One law for the Jews, another for everyone else. Per Gahrton should leave the Greens and shift to his ideological home among the Brownshirts – their numbers are growing here in the Swedish media.