Sweden. Sweden? For the many readers who have not heard of Sweden, it is a far-away country somewhere between the Baltic Sea and the Norwegian Sea. It is more usually recognised by its capital city – Stockholm.
Sweden came to the world’s attention back in 1973 when four bank employees were held hostage in the bank’s vault for six days during an attempted robbery. The captive employees developed a strange bond with their captors. This became known as Stockholm Syndrome.
A famous sufferer from this syndrome was Olof Palme who, as Sweden’s socialist prime started a change in Sweden’s foreign policy of neutrality. While he, himself, had not been attacked by them, he decided to support self-proclaimed, so-called national liberation movements such as the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). I think he qualifies for Stockholm Syndrome.
In 1974, Olof Palme was the first Western prime minister to initiate direct contact with the PLO. He met with Yasser Arafat, who was considered a terrorist by the Western world. His support for terrorists did not do him much good; in 1986 he was fatally wounded by a single gunshot while walking home from a cinema. Over the years, there has been no shortage of suspects and theories as to why he was shot, but no proof has been found and, just last week, the case was closed as most of the suspects were already dead.
But Stockholm syndrome did not stop with Olof Palme. In recent years we have seen several examples of Sweden supporting terrorists.
In July 2018, a Swedish parliamentary candidate suggested deporting all Jews from Israel. Oldoz Javidi accused Israel of “stealing land” and livelihood from Palestinians. She might not know that in pre-state times of the British mandate, the Jews were the Palestinians. However, in the interests of equality, she also accused the United States of stealing land from Native Americans.
In August 2018, they were at it again. “Sweden bashes Israel for seizing Gaza-bound boat”. The Swedish government criticised Israel for its interception and boarding of a boat attempting to breach the naval blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. A 2011 UN report had found that the naval blockade on the terrorists was legal. The blockade is intended to stop weapons from entering the Strip. There is no problem with humanitarian aid which can be sent to Gaza overland after security checks.
In late 2019 it was reported that Anti-Semitic hate crimes in Sweden have risen by 53% to reach an all-time high. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention defines Anti-Semitic hate crimes “as offences that are based on feelings such as fear or hatred of, or hostility towards, Jews and Judaism. The offences can be directed against individuals who are Jewish, or who are perceived to be Jewish, as well as against Jewish institutions and Jewish property.” Not a word about Israel, presumably ‘fear or hatred of, or hostility to’ Israel is acceptable in Sweden.
And finally, Stockholm has had the temerity to send us an ambassador, Erik Ullenhag, who announced his posting with a tweet that he was the new “ambassador to Tel Aviv”, not Israel. Ambassadors do not begin their duties until their credentials have been accepted; why did we accept his?
Ullenhag has publicly disassociated himself from support for Israel and has opposed other members of his party who met with representatives of the Likud Party in Stockholm. Ullenhag has defended his participation in a 2014 “Kippah March” – a protest against attacks on people wearing Jewish symbols – claiming that he was protesting “against antisemitism, not in a manifestation of support for Israel.”
Perhaps, if, chas v’chalila, Ullenhag is caught up in a Palestinian terror attack, he will change his mind.