Knives and swords: Cutting through Swedish double standards

Earlier today, a sword-wielding assailant attacked students and teachers at a school in the south-western town of Trollhättan in Sweden. Two people, one of them a student, have been confirmed dead; several others are injured and currently fighting for their lives. The attacker was shot by Swedish police.

The hospital in Trollhättan where two are dead after attack on school. Photo credit: Björn Larsson Rosvall / TT
The hospital in Trollhättan where two are dead after attack on school. Photo credit: Björn Larsson Rosvall / TT

This is a scenario which echoes with eerie familiarity here in Israel.

Firstly, my heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the dead, and my sincerest sympathies and thoughts to the other victims, as well as to their families, friends, classmates and school staff.

Secondly, I unequivocally condemn attacks against civilians anywhere, and more specifically I condemn the attack against the students and teachers of the school in Trollhättan today.

There is nothing about the attackers identity, religion, skin color, ‘tough childhood’/‘bad life experiences’ or motive that in any way shape or form can justify his deed. Neither will any such explanation be sufficient grounds for me to believe that his act should be understood on some level. This type of ‘culture’ is unacceptable, and if you promote it and/or act on it, we will stand against you. Just say no! And say it loud and clear – no ‘balanced’ approach needed. No to violence. No to incitement to violence. I expect to hear nothing less from Sweden’s political leadership, its opposition, as well as from Swedish press.

I would also expect to hear the same when it comes to Israel; now under daily attack for more than 30 days, with countless knife-wielding, stone-throwing, gun-shooting, car-ramming, fire-bombing terrorists attacking civilians, no less innocent than the victims in Trollhättan. No less.

Instead, at best, I get complete silence from Sweden in reaction to attacks like the one in Trollhättan – and we have anywhere from one to five of them per day… Every day! This morning alone, two knife-wielding Palestinian attackers injured one Jewish teenager as they planned to attack a school bus with Jewish children in the town of Bet Shemesh. Thankfully, Israeli police happened to be at the scene and they shot the assailants, thus saving the lives of countless people. But I can guess how this would be reported by press in Sweden, in case they decided to report it at all. I can guess, because I simply have to look at how they have done so repeatedly the past few weeks. The headline would most likely look like this:

“Two Palestinians shot by Israeli forces this morning”

Not a lie. But a conscious and malicious twisting of the truth, because Swedish press has an obsessive, compulsive ‘need’ to portray Israel as the bad guy. Factual context or chronology is sacrificed willingly, as long as Israel is seen in the ‘wrong’.

Should Israeli press decide to sink to the despicable levels of unprofessional and biased reporting as many of their mainstream counterparts in Sweden do, then the headlines in Israel in regards to Trollhättan would appear accordingly:

“Assailant X (specify origin) gunned down by Swedish forces”, followed by a text explaining how Swedish police used excessive force against a lone civilian who allegedly attacked people with a sharp object. Allegedly (yes, Swedish reporters, you use this phrasing consistently when it comes to the Palestinian attackers in Israel).

And what an insult that would be. An insult to the dead, an insult to the injured, an insult to their families, an insult to the Swedish police who did their job and saved lives, and an insult to all people in Sweden.

Enough of the double standards please. As we stand with you in sympathy and clearly against violence in Trollhättan, consider standing with us in sympathy, and clearly against the incitement and murderous attacks by Palestinians against Israelis. If you want to criticize us for the occupation, our policies, or anything else, feel free. But there is no need to link anything with anything in order to clearly condemn terror. And condemning terror doesn’t make you anti-Palestinian (I know you fear to appear as such) and it won’t make you pro-Israeli occupation (or whatever else you fear to be perceived as if you show any sort of support for Israel). Have some civic courage – just say no – clearly and unconditionally!

About the Author
David Metzler is the founder of AppleBay Media, Arcadia Consulting and Noon Philanthropy. He has a burning passion for the nonprofit sector and is active with a number of NPOs. Metzler previously held senior positions for major Israeli and Jewish Diaspora institutions before embarking on his current entrepreneurial endeavors. David has lived in California, Sweden, Australia, and calls Israel his home since 2001.
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