Response to an Angry Swede

Today’s New York Times headlined “Sweden Stunned as Man Kills 2 and Wounds Others at a School”.

It is an unusual occurrence in usually peaceful Sweden. Nevertheless, a young man who was armed with a sword walked into the café area of a school in the Kronogarden area of the industrial city of Trollhattan, home of the Saab auto company, about 45 miles from Sweden’s second-largest city, Goteborg. He killed a teacher and a student and wounded two others before he himself was shot and killed by police.
The school had 400 pupils according to the Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, and King Carl Gustaf XVI stated that “Sweden is in shock”. All of Sweden is stunned by the murder of two school children.

The question is, since Sweden is aware of terrorist activities throughout Europe, why was the school not protected? Why was it so easy for a killer simply to walk in to a school with open doors and go on a killing spree? This was not a Muslim terrorist. It was the work of a 21-year-old Swede. No motive has been given.

Yesterday, my article on The Assassination of the Swedish Count was published and I have already received a bitter complaint from an angry Swede who places the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte as an Israeli crime for which he blames the government of Israel.

Goran Buren is a Swedish writer who published a book, Mordet pa Folke Bernadotte, about the assassination in Jerusalem in 1948 of the United Nations Swedish mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte.

In September 2013, he published a lengthy article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. It was entitled “Swedish National Archive Documents Shed New Light on the Bernadotte Assassination”.

He describes in detail aspects of Count Bernadotte’s work as a mediator between the Jews and the Arabs in the Palestinian conflict following the end of the British Mandate and the creation of the independent Jewish State of Israel. He remarked that on many occasions the Israeli authorities offered him protection from harm although the Count himself had never requested it.

The militant group LEHI had made threats against him on several occasions, seeing him as an enemy of Israel’s newborn State, being more favorable to the Arabs than to the Jews. His disapproval of the UN’s 1947 partition plan for Palestine enabled him to make changes which neither the Arabs or the Jews accepted.

In light of the LEHI threats, Buren wrote that “the Israeli authorities were well aware of the imminent risk to Count Bernadotte. Nevertheless, they neglected to protect him…. Anyone who studies the Swedish National Archive Documents, however, will find it difficult to escape the conclusion that Count Bernadotte was assassinated with, at best, the tacit acquiescence of the Israeli government”.

Buren wrote that the Israeli authorities were aware of LEHI’s plot to assassinate him but did nothing to prevent it and did not offer him protection on his route to meet with Dov Joseph, the military governor of Jerusalem. It must be re-stated that Count Bernadotte himself had never requested protection by the Israeli authorities.

He asks why Israel did not provide the Count with secure protection against such an attack and holds Ben-Gurion’s condemnation of the now-disbanded LEHI to be hypocritical.

In light of today’s killing in Sweden, one may ask the same question. The Swedish government knew of all the terrorist killings across Europe. Why did they not take measures to protect schools and young children from harm?

The murders in Trollhattan are grievous and decent people across the globe must condemn them. But terrible as it was, the killing of two innocent people did not affect the peace of the world.

The assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte on a Jerusalem street in September 1948, however, enabled Israel to regain lost territory, to defeat five Arab armies and hundreds of thousands of local militant Palestinians, and to establish a greater measure of security for the newly established State of Israel. In such a case, the assassination of the “enemy” Swedish Count by LEHI can be understood.

The angry Swedish writer should understand that if we had a LEHI in Israel today, there would be no violence, no stabbings, no shootings, no car bombings, no suicide attacks, no orphans bereft of parents assassinated by Arab thugs, and maybe we could all enjoy our cappuccino while sipping slowly and in security in one of Jerusalem’s many lovely cafes.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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