A professional in the foreign ministry.
While it’s still amateur hour in Sweden.
“The foreign minister, while maintaining the most absolute respect for freedom of expression, regrets that space was given to a historian who denies one of the biggest tragedies for humanity in modern history … These types of statements deeply hurt the Jewish people.”
That’s how a professional – and a humane individual – gets the job done at the foreign ministry. The above statement is from a spokesman for Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who responded to the publication in Spanish newspaper El Mundo of anti-Semitic ramblings by notorious Holocaust denier David Irving.
Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, meantime, is sticking to his guns and maintaining that he cannot comment on an anti-Semitic article by Swedish far-Left tabloid Aftonbladet which accused Israelis and Jews of indulging in systematic organ trafficking.
Two foreign ministers in two European countries. And two so very different responses to the same disease. The Spaniard correctly diagnoses the disease – always a good start to treating it. The Swede doesn’t even want to talk about it. Not much chance of a cure, then.
And the controversy continues. After insulting Israel by withdrawing the Swedish ambassador’s acknowledgement of Israel’s hurt feelings, and then compounding the insult by claiming Swedish law prevents him from commenting on the article (it doesn’t – according to the Swedish Chancellor of Justice), Carl Bildt’s upcoming visit to Israel has now been cancelled. Sweden currently holds the rotating EU presidency so this is a major blow to Bildt’s and Sweden’s credibility in the international arena.
Perhaps Israel is being unfairly harsh on Sweden. After all, Bildt is consistent: he has not said a word about kidnapped Israeli Gilad Schalit, even though Sweden, the second-largest per capita contributor to Palestinian Arab welfare, has it within its power to condition its continued massive injection of cash into Gaza on the release of Schalit – the only Jew in a Gaza Strip that has otherwise been ethnically cleansed of all other Jews.
Bildt has consistently stayed silent on the issue of the Jewish hostage in the Middle. He’s consistently paid out a hundred million dollars a year from Swedish state coffers to the people who indulge in this human trafficking. Now he’s being consistently silent on the issue of anti-Semitic articles in a newspaper in his own country.
Carl Bildt is nothing if not consistent. The strong silent Swede. Except, that is, in his criticism of Israel, when he exhibits a rather more talkative side to his character. In January this year he levelled bitter criticism of Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip, but refrained from commenting on the seven years of bombardment by 10,000 missiles from Gaza on Israeli homes that preceded that action.
Selective silence. It seems to be a peculiarly Swedish malady.
Luckily for us, the Spaniards know a thing or two about democratic process, freedom of expression, historical precedent and simple humanity.
Miguel Moratinos should consider taking some time out from his duties as foreign minister to teach his Swedish colleague the basics of the job.
Carl Bildt has a lot to learn.