Dear Margot Wallström,
My name is Stefan Lindmark but also Shaul Ben Yitzhak.
I am a Jew. I am the son of a survivor from Auschwitz/Birkenau.
I have lived all my life in Sweden. I have served in the Armed Forces and I have done military service for a total of 18 months.
I have worked all my life with the most vulnerable people in our society, as a nurse and therapist. I have been working with asylum seekers and I have worked in emergency medical services, child psychiatry, primary care but also in the Armed Forces, as a medical teacher.
Madam Minister, listen to my words when I say: It was my grandfather, my grandmother, and their little children who burned in Auschwitz/Birkenau ovens and it was my mother who was working 30 meters from the oven and had the smell of burning parents and siblings. It was my mother who survived so that I could tell you about all this, but also of love of the country she loved in addition to Sweden – our country, the Jewish State – Israel – and who built it, and how different everything would have been if there had been a state of Israel just a few years earlier.
Mrs. Foreign Minister: It was my aunt Channa (Eva) who survived an execution in the Budapest ghetto by pretending to get hit, who had no home after the war, who sick and miserable went by boat to Israel, but was detained in Cyprus and to finally returned in 1948 to Israel. It was she and her friends who with weapons in hands, defended themselves against the onslaught of the Arab states who came to complete the destruction of European Jewry.
Mrs. Minister – it was my friend Simcha who had three days to leave Iraq in 1955 after having survived the pogrom in Baghdad in 1941, who built the country. He and his family had to leave everything they owned, all their earthly possessions, after thousands of years of presence in Iraq. They are the ones who never received any compensation for everything that was stolen from them, and it was Israel that received them, the only country which opened their arms to them and welcomed them. They had to live in tents for two years and received food stamps – it was a very poor country.
Mrs. Minister – it was to Israel that my friend Andy escaped in 1981 from Ethiopia, the country where he was worth less than a bag of potatoes. It was in Israel he joined the paratroopers in order to defend the country, the country where he finally became a full human being. It was as a paratrooper during the the first so-called Intifada he and his friends had ti lay down their arms in order to run around and save the children that the terrorists you claim are acting from desperation, had placed between themselves and my friend Andy and his comrades – precisely because the Israeli army soldiers do not get to return fire under such circumstances. It was the pictures, when he carries away screaming children, that you and your friends interpreted as evidence of the Israeli Defence Forces’ brutality.
Madam Foreign Minister: Israel was built by the survivors of the Holocaust, along with 850 000 evicted Jews from all of the Middle East’s Muslim countries, and is now being built by their children and grandchildren, and by the Ethiopian Jews who lived alone, divorced from the other Jews of the world, but who survived and are now free, in Israel. It is Israel that is the land you and the entire Arab world hates because we survived. We are hated by the Arab world because they believe that Jews are sub-humans. Jews can do nothing of value, is their opinion – but we still managed to build the only democracy in the entire region – the only country where Arabs too are independent citizens with full rights – just like all other residents there. Nearly two million Arabs live there, the only free the Arabs throughout the Middle East. Israel is a country where many Arabs and Jews side by side in the armed forces, prevents the aggrieved Arab world from carrying out – God forbid – a new Holocaust of us Jews. For it is the ultimate aim of all the lies about us, with all the hatred toward us. It’s The Eternal Jew standing in the way of peace on earth.
Madam Foreign Minister – You place greater demands on Israel than Sweden.
Madam Foreign Minister – in Göteborg where I live, 109 people have been shot in four years, mostly in areas of exclusion and resignation due to limited living conditions. It is also where the IS has a stronghold, maybe even the biggest and strongest in Europe. It is in Gothenburg where two Swedish terrorists recently were sentenced to life imprisonment for having cut the head of an innocent man and then proudly showed his head up before a camera. This is the city of Gothenburg where we Jews many times recently have needed protection by machine gun-armed police officers who risk their lives to make us feel safe. It is here, in Sweden, that refugee centers burn to the ground every week, where the streets are filled with beggars, where immigrant people crowd into the suburbs, where exclusion and the number of homeless far exceeds Israel. It is in Sweden that Islamism grows. It is in Sweden I cannot, not without danger of my life, can wear my kippa; my little Jewish head covering. It is Sweden who acts as moral preacher and who think they know the answers, and perceive themselves to be more prominently moral than other countries, but without being able to see their own shortcomings,. It is the country that through luck and cowardice has managed to remain on the outside of wars for 200 years and therefore believe that hugs and permissiveness solves all problems.
Mrs. Foreign Minister – If Sweden and Gothenburg had been what it’s like in Israel, you had most probably taken it as a pretext for occupation, the oppression of Muslims, as proof of the authorities’ lack of ability, as the root cause of terrorism in Europe and the cause evil.
But now it is in Sweden this is happening and we are only 15 000 Jews here. Jews who must pay big money for our own protection in Sweden – where there’s no anti-Semitism – right?
Mrs. Foreign Minister – Has not it occurred to you that the number of asylum seekers from Israel’s 1.8 million Arab citizens is precisely zero? There are people from the other countries in the Middle East that our country is now filled with. Countries where people kill each other and simultaneously is in a state of war with Israel.
Israel is the country that you and the whole Arab world hates, because we survived and our country is flourishing. We are hated because it is considered that Jews are sub-humans. Jews, according to the propaganda, can do nothing good – but we still managed to build the only democracy in the entire region.
Madam Foreign Minister; It is we, all the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the survivors from the Holocaust, descendants of refugees from the Middle East, the descendants of the Jews who came from Ethiopia – it is all of us, who have built the country of Israel with pride – and who will continue to build it, defend it and never ever give up the land we were driven to when no one else wanted us. The only country that would accept us. It is we who love life and who always rises up again, after every time life and our enemies have beaten us to the ground. We have never had any economic, political or military power outside of our own country, Israel.
Madam Foreign Minister: It is you who hate us, it’s you who wants to get rid of us, and you constantly, in politically correct forms, require our submission. It was in Europe you burned us, not for what we had done, but for what we were – and are – Jews.
Madam Foreign Minister: If you really want to look at Israel with the same glasses you look at Sweden, you would marvel at how we managed to build the country that despite 67 years of constant war is so filled with love, life, hope and trust in the Creator. The Creator who gave us free will to choose.
Mrs. Minister – We have learned our lesson. The lesson is to never trust foreign ministers from countries such as Sweden, who now puts the blame on us – the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and other refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
It is not too late for you, Madam Minister, I dare you to open your eyes.
Mrs. Foreign Minister – I’m moving soon to Israel, the country that wasn’t there except in our prayers, when my mother at the age of 23 had to take care of the mortal remains of her murdered people. I move because I now am sure that traditional Jewish life has no future in Sweden, the country I have served all my life.
Madam Foreign Minister: I invite you to come and visit us when we have established ourselves, and I’ll show you Israel as it is and not what you think it is – and I wish to let our joy of life challenge you to begin to see Sweden the way it has become, but also how it could be if our vision of life can inspire you to rethink and think differently.