Sweden and anti-Israelism
Yonathan Avner Ben Yisrael
Many people around the world saw the headlines several weeks ago that Sweden’s newly inaugurated left-wing government, on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar and mere days after the controversial election results, had issued its most severe statement yet. Out of a diplomatic, socio-economic and national security policy position, came the desperate call from Prime Minister Stefan Lofven for Sweden to be the first European nation to recognize the so-called Palestinian state. This reveals the newly revived destructive attitude within the Scandinavian flagship nation. Sweden has regained the anti-Israel sentiments that epitomized the era of the late Prime Minister Olof Palme.
What most people don’t know is the important role that Sweden plays as a major facilitator in the Palestinian statehood race. The public servants and the involved authorities, ministerial departments and their spokespeople do not openly mention their direct engagement and commitment to act in the inflammatory Israel-Palestine conflict. On the surface you can merely trace the extremist ideological core values within the headquarters of the non-existing state in Ramallah and Gaza, which is diligently working to hide its true agenda from its third-largest funder.
Sweden’s active participation in the Palestine statehood affair is being promoted as a purely moral entrepreneurship, namely a nation-building incentive. Geopolitically, Sweden could not possibly have anything to gain by winning this lunatic race to be the first “democratic” EU-member to declare its support for Palestinian statehood, other than gaining political influence in the Middle East as well as appeasing the fast-increasing Muslim immigrant population harbored in Sweden.
The Arab lobby in Europe, particularly in Sweden, has reached new strengths. The tremendous magnitude of the 70-plus years of ongoing lobbying efforts is not commonly known to the average Swedish taxpayer.
According to prominent Palestinian opposition leader Mudar Zahran, who toured Sweden in a political campaign earlier this year, every Swedish citizen pays 500 Swedish kronors ($70) annually to the terrorist cluster (Fatah/PLO/PA/Hamas) that Lofven considers a sister party, thus sharing its moral and political values and aspirations.
I highly doubt that the hard-working Swedish people wish to fund this malicious and deceptive constellation, with its extremely lethal attitude toward both its neighbor and its own members, young and old. Nor would they accept that earmarked “humanitarian aid” is actually funneled into heinous terrorist activities in Gaza.
I firmly support the principle of transparency and integrity on the subject of tax-funded donations to less fortunate states. But that doesn’t legitimize the direct financing of quasi-states whose main objective is the extermination of the only democracy in the Middle East and whose leaders deceive taxpayers by denying access to clear visibility and financial accountability.
Despite the strained bilateral diplomatic ties between the State of Israel and Sweden, the Jewish state should intensify its public diplomacy efforts toward EU-member states. Apparently, and unfortunately, Israel did not succeed in bringing any game-changing momentum to those ties over the last eight years, when there was a central right-oriented coalition government in Sweden.
Given the chance, Sweden would undoubtedly enjoy much of what Israel has to offer humanity. All it has to do is to give up its hostile attitude toward Israel — the most thriving and blossoming society in an area of the world dominated by an overwhelming number of entwined adversaries. Could this scenario become a reality in the future?
Imagine how much the Swedish people could benefit from improving the country’s agricultural sector, by partnering with the leading nation in the high-tech sector, by sharing all the magnificent innovations and entrepreneurial projects that the “Startup Nation” has generated, by creating joint ventures in the field of green technology. All this could be achieved if only the political handcuffs on Israel are loosened a bit. Sweden could potentially strike a tremendous romantic alliance with the light of nations.
In today’s political landscape, the citizens of the world should demand backstage passes to their public servants’ decision-making process. We should not be branded as extremists when criticizing our elected political leaders’ imperfections, such as leading a country’s GDP to an unprecedented low, for example.
It is high time for Sweden and its new leadership to show some much-needed responsibility, setting a higher moral standard in their policy-making, and starting to legitimately uphold Sweden’s status of neutrality, which heretofore has been questionable.
Yonathan Avner Ben Yisrael is a founding director of Swedish Jewish Dialogue who is active in the U.S. and Europe as a pro-Israel lobbyist.