David Metzler
David Metzler
Entrepreneur・Nonprofit Pro

Swedish theater of the absurd

Sweden has shown to have an alarming number of anti-Semitic politicians disguised as humanists. One-eyed support for the Palestinians, ignoring their terrorist dictatorship, is part of the problem, not the solution. In order for Sweden to combat its problems with anti-Semitism it needs to learn to differentiate between legitimate critique of Israel and its demonization.

Israel does not have the right to defend itself”. So says Amne Ali, a parliamentary candidate of Sweden’s largest political party, the Social Democrats, who believes that Israel should be singled out among the United Nations 193 member states and denied article 51 of the UN Charter granting all nations the right to self-defence. She is likely to take a seat in the Swedish Parliament after Sunday’s elections.

In the past weeks, five Swedish politicians have had to ‘resign’ due to blatant anti-Semitism – as outlined in my previous blogpost. But Ali has not been booted like the others. Her passion for a free Palestine combined with the emotional overall sentiments in Sweden against Israel during the recent Gaza war, rendered her immune. No doubt, the fact that she is a half-Moroccan, half-Iraqi young female student with ambitions of fighting racism has made her just about untouchable. Amne Ali is a jewel in the progressive looking ‘tolerance and equality crown’ a political giant such as the Social Democrats loves to wear.

On July 28th she voiced her opinion against Israel on Nyheter24.se, a Swedish news site, in which she critisized Israel for controlling Gaza’s borders and for having launched an offensive against the Palestinians “on unclear grounds”; questioned what it was defending itself against since “the death count on Israel’s side is zero”; and in conclusion proclaimed that Israel doesn’t have the right to self-defense.

A number of people have sought clarity from the Social Democrat leadership in regards to her comments. Letters were sent to Stefan Löfven, party leader, and Carin Jämtin, party secretary-general, but neither of them have responded.

The right to free speech in Sweden is a given, and with it a self-evident right to criticize Israel’s actions, or any States for that matter. However, false claims against Israel, especially from senior politicians, contributes to its demonization, and by extension provokes a reprehensible racism in the form of anti-Semitism. Understanding this link is fundamental to fighting the current wave of Jew-hatred.

Amne Ali’s anti-Israeli rhetoric crossed the line of legitimate criticism of Israel on several points. For someone who in her own words has declared that a free Palestine is one of her top three political priorities, and the very reason why she entered politics, Ali was likely aware why Israel defended itself from Hamas’ 4,450 indiscriminately fired rockets this past summer. Yet, on behalf of the Social Democrats, she sincerely suggested that Israel started this war on “unclear grounds”, thus solely blaming Israel for a war of aggression, killing thousands of Palestinians, as if such an outcome is driven directly by Israeli policy and intent. This really is the crux of the matter, as it is a complete reversal of reality. Israel is presented as the warmongering killer, and Hamas as the defender and freedom fighter. A theater of the absurd – and Sweden’s largest party is setting the stage.

The ink on the newest page of the Israel-Hamas history is of course not even dry, and evidence on the course of events are indisputable. Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers in cold blood, Israel searched several weeks in order to return the boys, and Hamas began launching thousands of rockets, sending millions of Israeli civilians into bomb shelters. Describing the timeline and cause for war the way Ali did reeks.

Questioning Israel’s control of its Gaza’s borders also paints a false picture of reality and exposes common Swedish double standards in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To begin with, Gaza’s border with Egypt is not controlled by Israel. Ali must have conveniently forgotten that. If she had bothered with recent history and context, then a controlled Israeli border to Gaza, due to Hamas’ Jihad-war against Israel would be understandable, even to the Social Democrats. However, this doesn’t match Ali’s agenda, so she permits herself to twist the truth. And her party willingly allows it.

Swedish politicians, media and other opinion makers fail to internalize that Hamas’ end goal is to destroy Israel and kill all Jews, which of course includes Swedish citizens as well. With that aim in mind, do the Social Democrats really believe that Israel should relinquish control of its border with Gaza and leave it open to genocidal terrorists? This opinion is certainly implied by the Social Democrat parliamentary candidate. If the answer is yes, do they also promote a policy where Sweden and all other countries should give up control of their borders as well? Or is that only applicable to Israel?

After requesting answers from the Social Democrats, an unsigned generic reply was sent which clarifies that Israel does in fact have the right to self-defense. But instead of addressing the specifics seriously, the issue of Amne Ali and her other statements were ignored and obscured by standardized rhetoric, calling on “both sides” to begin real peace negotiations towards a two-state solution, on the basis of “mutual recognition and desire for peaceful coexistence.

By framing their solution to the conflict this way the Social Democrats suggest a moral equivalence between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships, despite Hamas having been labeled a terrorist organization by the EU, of which Sweden is a member. A reminder of some actual content from the Hamas Covenant may be in place. “Israel will exist and continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it”, and “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions… are in contradiction to the principles of [Hamas].

The most bizarre comment in the Social Democrats letter was the claim that “Israel as an occupying power and as the superiorly strongest side has a particular responsibility in the conflict.” A mind-boggling statement which demands a clarification of what precisely this particular responsibility may be, and how it differs from that of the Palestinians. This naive approach obstructs clear thinking, as simple logic distinguishes that the side advocating war and mass murder whilst performing acts of terror is the side that has the greater responsibility to end the conflict, regardless of their ability or strength to conduct a war.

Known to repeatedly condemn Israel for violations of international law and human rights, their letter also managed to express a brief condemnation of Hamas rocket fire – bravo. Of course, no other word about Hamas’ long list of outrageous human rights violations, including executions of their own people, ISIS style. Ali and the Social Democrats can certainly criticize and protest Israel’s policies and actions if that is how they feel. But why does it take place in a total vacuum which fails to criticize Hamas’ terror and attempted mass murder of millions of Israelis? This unbalanced criticism looks very bad, to say the least.

One side of the conflict is a democracy advocating a peaceful two-state solution, and the other side is a fundamentalist terrorist organization advocating war and genocide. It is natural that both Israel and Sweden, as democratic countries sharing human values, agree on the way forward, which must guarantee both Palestinians and Israelis legitimate demands for national sovereignty and national security. In fact this has been the policy of Israeli governments over two decades now, concretely offered multiple times, including in Camp David in 2000, in Annapolis in 2007, and well as when leaving Gaza in 2005. Yet ironically, Sweden keeps condemning Israel.

A future Palestine is dependent on peace and symbiosis with Israel, and vice versa. It is difficult to understand that a human rights defending nation such as Sweden has a pro-Palestinian movement that is almost exclusively anti-Israel. Those who want a free Palestine ought to lead in propagating peace, strongly showing that they are pro-Palestine and pro-Israel. Being a humanist for a free Palestine has to be for a Palestine alongside Israel, not on top of it.

Holding the Palestinians responsible for distancing themselves from a leadership whose goal is the destruction of Israel is an absolute precondition for the peace the Swedes propose. Should they understand this, and shift their politics on how to break the deadlock of the conflict, Sweden could become the influential leader for a free Palestine they inherently strive to be. Until such time, morally equating the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships is actually delaying peace as it gives Hamas a legitimacy they do not deserve.

J’accuse! I hold the Social Democrats accountable for going to general elections on Sunday with a candidate who actively seeks to delegitimise Israel and distorts facts. In keeping Ali on the ballot and avoiding to deal with her double standards, and I dare say, racism, they fail to apply the zero tolerance they claim to live by, boomeranging the issue back to their neat black and white world of good and evil, repeating grand mantras about Israel’s crimes in the Middle East.

Sweden’s failure to see what Israel is up against is a failure to recognize Islamic fundamentalism as a threat to all democracies. It is also a failure of their supposed support of the Palestinians. Sweden, the human rights champion nation, as a microcosm of Europe, of the free world, is missing the fundamental preconditions for peace.

Part 1 of this blog, Sweden’s faulty moral compass, appeared on September 10th

About the Author
David Metzler is the manager of AppleBay Media, which he founded in 2012, and has a burning passion for the nonprofit sector. He previously held senior positions for major Israeli and Jewish Diaspora institutions before embarking on his current entrepreneurial endeavors. David has lived in California, Sweden and Australia, and has called Israel 'home' since 2001.
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