Sweden’s Cycle of Anti-Semitism

Dec. 14 2018

Last year, three Arab men threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. While a court initially sentenced one of the perpetrators, a Palestinian born in Gaza, to two years in prison followed by deportation, a higher court recently overturned the deportation on the grounds that his record of anti-Semitism might make him a target of persecution by the Israeli government. This is but one example of a systemic, threefold problem, writes Manfred Gerstenfeld: Muslim immigrants attack Jews, leftist politicians refuse to do anything while fomenting hatred of Israel, and far-right parties, some of which are hostile to Jews, gain popularity:

[A]nti-Semitism in Sweden is not limited to Muslims and neo-Nazis. A recent scandal concerns the highly reputable hospital of Karolinska University, [which] annually awards the Nobel Prize in medicine. The Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote a complaint to the hospital’s dean when it became known that open anti-Semitism among the hospital’s senior physicians had been ignored by management for almost a year. There were also anti-Semitic comments posted on Facebook. . . .

[Sweden’s numerous] problems with immigrants have given rise to the growth of a right-wing populist party, the Sweden Democrats. In the September 2017 elections they received 17 percent of the vote, an unprecedented level of support. This party promotes the banning of nonmedical circumcision. While this measure is aimed primarily against Muslims, who vastly outnumber Jews [in the country], it introduces a new element into Swedish anti-Semitism

Sweden has also long led Western Europe in anti-Israelism. The country’s best-known postwar prime minister, the Social Democrat Olof Palme, was one of the very few leaders of a democratic country to compare Israel’s acts to those of the Nazis. The current foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, also a Social Democrat, has asked for an investigation into the killing of terrorists by Israel. She hasn’t made any such request from other democratic countries where terrorists have been killed after attacks. . . .

Sweden urgently needs to appoint a national anti-Semitism commissioner. Such a person might point out the anti-Semitic threats coming regularly from neo-Nazis and Muslims, the flaws of the police and justice system, and other failures of the authorities to deal with anti-Semitism. But Stockholm is highly unlikely to appoint such a person, [since it] would not welcome the revelations that would result.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, European Jewry, Politics & Current Affairs, Sweden


The Riots on the Gaza Border are Carefully Coordinated Attacks on Israel, and Should Be Treated as Such

Jan. 16 2019

On Friday, the weekly riots at the Gaza security fence resumed in full force: 13,000 people participated, and a Palestinian woman was apparently killed by Israeli gunfire. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) had established a commission of inquiry in May, not long after these riots began, “to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human-rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, . . . particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on March 20, 2018.” In a report to the commission, Richard Kemp, a retired senior British officer, concludes, after investigating the situation at the Gaza border, that there is no evidence whatsoever of Israeli wrongdoing, and that the commission is operating under faulty assumptions:

The terms of [the commission’s] mandate are self-evidently biased against the state of Israel and the IDF. The context cited—“the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests”—make clear that the UNHRC either failed to understand what was happening on the ground or deliberately misrepresented the reality. In addition, the commission’s mandate terms the Gaza Strip “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which it is not. . . .

[T]he so-called “civilian protests” in reality were, and continue to be, a deliberate military operation, orchestrated and controlled by Hamas, [a] terrorist group that has been waging an armed conflict against Israel for many years. Their intention was and remains to kill and wound IDF soldiers, to break through the border fence, to murder and maim innocent civilians, to destroy property, and to compel the IDF to take defensive action resulting in the death of Gaza civilians for exploitation in the international arena. [Israel’s] “military assaults” were not what was implied by this prejudicial mandate. They were in fact lawful, proportionate, and restrained defensive actions. . . .

Suggestions that these demonstrations are [protests] against Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip are demonstrably false and easily refuted by cursory viewing of Hamas and other public statements made at the time of the events. . . . Further, it is clear that Hamas intended this violence to continue its long-standing strategy of creating and intensifying international outrage, vilification, isolation, and criminalization of the state of Israel and its officials. . . .

[T]he starkest indication that these events were entirely under Hamas control is the simple fact that, when it suited Hamas’s political interests, the [demonstrations] occurred and were of a violent nature, and when such actions did not serve Hamas’s interests, the border was quiet. As the most recent example of this, in November 2018, Qatar began to make large cash payments to Hamas in Gaza. The most recent payment of $15 million was handed over in December 2018. These payments are reportedly part of an agreement with Hamas to diminish violence along the Gaza border. [After] the first payment, the border violence [was] reduced [and the] demonstrations [became] far more restrained.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Laws of war, UNHRC