A few inquiries from colleagues here Stateside led this blog to do some investigative work recently on the level of anti-Semitism among Sweden's left. The result was disturbing, to say the least. This post is a first effort to respond to those inquiries, and to shed light on one of the most dangerous trends in current Swedish politics.
Sweden's edge-of-sanity left has not only turned its back on the country's Jewish population, but in fact become actively anti-Semitic. The level of hatred toward Jews, Judaism and Israel has escalated so far that it is beginning to look like Unter den Linden 1933 again.
A recent, very typical example is the protests against Israel's participation in the European Athletics Championships in Sweden in August last year. Israel is banned from Asian championships, which is why it participates in Europe instead.
Usually no one has a real problem with this. But this time the Israelis faced the Swedish edge-of-sanity left – led by the politically influential Left Party – which are also behind a Boycott Israel campaign. This campaign claims that Israel is a racist nation and that it is not a democracy.
But it also has supporters within the Social Democrats themselves, where several candidates in last year's national elections asked the government to expel Israel’s ambassador.
Then Swedish prime minister, Mr. Goran Persson, indirectly supported this campaign. On July 31 he and his foreign minister sharply criticized Israel for its latest defensive actions in Lebanon, without even mentioning Hezbollah’s decades long campaign of terror against Israel.
The social democratic party's youth league, SSU, is raising money for Palestinian groups without the slightest concern for if their money will end up funding homicide bombers and Katyusha rockets.
Protests of anti-Semitic nature are becoming more frequent in Sweden. The groups behind them are also turning increasingly violent. Sweden has a disturbing track record of public disorder and the problem is getting worse. These radical, revolutionary leftist groups are strongly pro-Palestinian and anti-American and will by all likelihood ramp up their anti-Semitic campaigns in the future, especially if the conflict in the Middle East escalates.
Perhaps the most terrifying perspective in Swedish anti-Semitism is the fact that the anti-Semitic, edge-of-sanity left have hi-jacked the Kristallnacht anniversary and turned it into a stage for rants against Israel and opened it for anti-Semitic organizations. Their contempt for Jews, Judaism and Israel cannot be more explicit. If any non-religious day of the year is sacred to Jews, it is the Kristallnacht anniversary of November 10. In 1938 that date marked the second night of Nazi organized violence against Germany’s Jewish population. It resulted in thousands of casualties and vandalized or destroyed property: businesses, homes, synagogues, cemeteries.
One would imagine that anyone who is against racism would yield November 10 to Jewish commemoration, and perhaps even express sympathy.
Not so in Sweden. The Kristalnacht commemoration in 2003 marked a turning point. Since then the left has deliberately occupied the Kristalnacht day and leading radical groups have organized events that marked a turning point in how the Kristallnacht day is “celebrated” in Sweden.
In Gothenburg, on November 10, 2003, several left wing groups organized a march against racism. At the same time, members of the local Jewish community had gathered in a public place for their annual commemoration ceremony. But instead of coordinating with the Jewish event, the left wing groups located their event to another part of central Gothenburg, purposely putting considerable distance between themselves and the Jews.
The same day another anti-Israel and anti-Jewish event took place in Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth largest city and home to one of Europe’s most renowned universities. A seminar was organized by "Uppsala Fredskoalition", Uppsala Peace Coalition. This Coalition’s members consist of 38 political parties and interest groups, ranging from the Swedish support group for the radical Islamist magazine al-Quds, to the three political parties that formed and supported the previous government: the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Green Party. (They lost the September election to a center-right coalition.)
A half dozen Islamist organizations are also among the members, but notably not one single Jewish group.
In its platform the Coalition openly declares its anti-American and anti-Israel stance:
"What unites us is that we oppose the increasingly active role of the United States as world police with right to ‘preventive’ wars after September 11, 2001, which among other things has resulted in the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. We also oppose the policy of Israel, the foremost U.S. ally in the Middle East, that leads to occupation and diaspora among peoples."
The diaspora reference – masked in the original Swedish text by a slightly milder term with the same meaning – is obviously chosen to accuse Israel of stealing Palestinian land and driving the Palestinians out of their country. Such accusations are, of course, untrue, but it is a clear provocation that they are made on Kristallnacht commemoration day.
One of the speakers, Samaa Sarsour from the Palestine People’s Association, openly advocated the destruction of Israel as a state:
"Samaa Sarsour from Palestinian People’s Association explained what she thinks it would take for violence [in the Middle East] to come to an end. – One democratic state where Jews and Palestinians can live side by side."
As lip service to a "balance" of opinions, the seminar was also addressed by Izzy Young from Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. This organization’s main proposal for an end to violence in the Middle East is that Israel stops defending itself. Not surprisingly, it is at odds with Jewish congregations in Sweden. It is also an affiliate of European Jews for Justice and Peace,whose platform advocates “recognition by Israel of its part in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem”. EJJP also “supports non violent action aimed at ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and Israeli breaches of international law” and “calls upon all states to ensure that their relations with Israel are in accordance with international law”.
In short, EJJP – and its Swedish affiliate – blame Israel for Palestinian terrorism against Israel.
To further underscore the left’s intent to steal the Kristallnacht day, the Uppsala seminar also heard an address by Sören Abramsson from International Solidarity Movement. This strongly pro-Palestinian organization is also openly anti-Semitic.
To top it off, the seminar gave time to Eugene Makhluf, at the time Palestinian “general delegate”, de facto ambassador, to Stockholm.
More anti-Israel activities on Kristallnacht day in 2003 took place in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city. The governing Social Democratic party sponsored a meeting together with a migration-oriented magazine, Mana. At that time, Mana had just published an issue where it launched its "information campaign on Israel’s human rights crimes".
Among many attacks on Israel and hints of anti-Semitism, the magazine reprinted an article from al-Ahram Weekly by professor Edward Said, an apologist for Palestinian terrorism against Jews. In Mana he was given yet another opportunity to lash out against the Bush administration’s plans to remove Saddam Hussein from power and liberate the Iraqi people from his ruthless tyranny.
After having published this tirade of anti-Semitism, Mana was given an opportunity to co-sponsor an event on Kristallnacht day with Sweden's governing political party.
Two months after the 2003 anti-Semitic push from Sweden’s left, Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, attacked and destroyed a pro-terrorist art installation at a major museum in Stockholm. The artist, an Israeli expatriate, had created a controversial installation called “Snow White”. A white boat with a picture of a female Palestinian suicide bomber – who had killed 21 people at a café in Haifa three months earlier – was floating in red colored, blood like water. The installation was accompanied by a text that romanticized the suicide bomber. Mr. Mazel was so infuriated that he short-circuited the "work of art" by throwing a spotlight into the red water. His acts are easily explained given the widespread, open anti-Semitism in Sweden.
Since 2003 the Swedish left has solidified the presence of anti-Israel events on Kristallnacht anniversaries. As a testimony to this, on November 10, 2005 the Left Party’s youth league, Young Left, organized events in cooperation with Revolutionary Communist Youth, RKU. This organization, which openly advocates a Communist revolution, is fiercely anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian terrorism and has for several years been a bullhorn for Palestinian terror propaganda.
Sweden has also seen a surge in leftist anti-Semitic violence. A rare recognition of this was an October 3, 2005 op-ed in Dagens Nyheter, a large Swedish daily, by Cecilia Wikström, a member of parliament for the centrist Liberal Party:
"Both research reports and individual Jews bear witness of the change in character of anti-Semitism [in Sweden]. The perpetrators are no longer just right wing extreme groups. Radical leftist and Islamist organizations are spreading anti-Semitic propaganda and participating in acts of violence against Jews. Mostly it comes to harassment, such as verbal assaults and intimidating letters, but it also takes the shape of desecrations of cemeteries, destroying property and assaulting Jews out in the street in Sweden. The spring of 2002 was the first time in 150 years when a mob in Sweden attacked Jews. A number of people were assaulted and beaten at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm to the chant ‘Death to the Jews’, by so called anti-racists."
Perhaps the left’s refusal to recognize this anti-Semitic violence explains why they are so quick to criticize Israel without mentioning with one word the violence against Israel from, e.g., Hezbollah. This past summer the politically influential Left Party’s chairman, Mr. Lars Ohly, called for participation in anti-Israel rallies. His rhetoric was a complete barrage against Israel:
"Israel has now bombed Beirut’s airport [and] threatened attacks on suburbs of the Lebanese capital. In a commentary they have urged part of Beirut evacuated because a few Hezbollah leaders live there. This is unreasonable. It is one of the worst kinds of openly declared collective punishment in a long time, and it is a blatant crime against the People’s Rights [as declared in the UN Human Rights charter]. Israel has also put Lebanon under sea and air blockade. This is an act of war. It is not Lebanon that should be under blockade, it is Israel that must now be criticized and isolated by the world community."
Mr. Ohly’s omission of the fact that Hezbollah was (and still is) firing missiles in over Israel every day, speaks for itself. He also forgets that Lebanon’s government – and the United Nations, who has “observers” (birdwatchers?) in south Lebanon – have allowed the Islamist terror group to build an enormous stockpile of rockets and weapons over a period of several years. Apparently, allowing such activities within one’s territory, with the explicit purpose to inflict maximum damage on a neighboring country, is not reason enough for criticism, let alone call for boycott.
One of the rallies that Mr. Ohly was calling for was also co-sponsored by International Solidarity Movement.
Leading Left Party members of the Swedish parliament – the Riksdag – openly support a boycott of Israel, calling Israel "murderers" and strongly supporting the campaign against Israel’s participation in the athletics championships. Of course, they never mention the extremist agendas of Hezbollah and Hamas, or that Israel complied with UN resolutions and pulled out of both south Lebanon and the Palestinian territories – and that the terrorists still launched attack after attack against Israel.
It goes on and on. The chairperson of the Young Left, Ms. Ida Gabrielsson, ups the ante:
"Israel has in a dramatic way escalated its aggression against its neighboring countries’ sovereignty as well as the rights and honorable living conditions of hundreds of thousands of people. With the excuse of ‘self defense’ civilians in Lebanon as well as the Gaza strip are bombed and killed. Meanwhile the Israeli military is purposely destroying the infrastructure that constitutes a necessary condition for people to be able to live in the attacked areas. The only decent act from the rest of the world is to strongly protest the Israeli actions and clearly take a stand for the right of the occupied and attacked people to defend themselves."
In other words, the Young Left, which is organizing events on Kristallnacht day every year, supports terrorism against Israel.
This is an organization with many members in Sweden's national parliament. It received large funds of tax money to support its daily operations, its propaganda and its anti-Israeli activities.
The more the Swedish left ramps up its assault on Israel, the more they will lend themselves to Islamist movements who want to eradicate Israel and Western civilization. Some observers may find this inconceivable, especially in a “peaceful” and “educated” country like Sweden. However, as David Horowitz explains in his Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, this totalitarian alliance has worked just fine in the United States, in large part thanks to an ideological metamorphosis of the left. The same has happened in Europe in general, and in Sweden in particular. The left sees totalitarian Islamist movements as a revolutionary avant-garde for the “oppressed” against the “oppressors”, i.e., Western democracies.
Horowitz’s analysis also helps us understand how Sweden’s leftist organizations can invade the Kristallnacht day and fill it with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activities. Their passion for victims of racism no longer applies to Jews, because by the left’s new oppressor-oppressed schematic, Jews are oppressors. Therefore, the left can conclude that the Jews no longer deserve their Kristallnacht commemoration.
This unification of Sweden's edge-of-sanity left and radical Islamo-fascism on the ideological level is bad enough. What is to come is, by all certainty, a unification in action as well. At that point, Sweden's Jews will only be a minor casualty in a major assault on everything that the edge-of-sanity left and the Islamo-fascists will deem as Western, American or Capitalist.
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