The news that Sweden is seeking to block the EU’s robust new sanctions against Iran – purportedly to protect a business deal between telecommunications giant Ericsson and Tehran – is the latest in a series of events that forces a cross-examination of the region as a whole and lends credence to the following musing: Should sanctions be imposed on Scandinavia?
The Swedish mobile provider isn’t only limited to courting Iran. Earlier this year, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt went to great lengths to prevent the EU from terminating the deal between Ericsson and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.
Over the past two decades, Scandinavia has been at the forefront of the burgeoning phenomenon called Eurabia. Over a quarter of the residents in Sweden’s third largest city of Malmö are Muslim and over the course of 20 years the number of rapes in the city has tripled. Malmö has also witnessed various attacks against Jews – including its rabbi - and as recently as September, an explosion went off in a Jewish community building. The city’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, made international headlines when he advised Jews who want to be safe in Malmö to distance themselves from Israel by rejecting Zionism. Perhaps the situation can be summed up best in the words of local politician, Adly Abu Hajar, who said, "The best Islamic state is Sweden."
It was Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper that published a report claiming Israeli soldiers snatched Palestinian youths to harvest their organs before returning their dismembered corpses a few days later. Needless to say, the government did not condemn the article, claiming that it respected the freedom of speech as delineated in the Swedish constitution. This is the same constitution that in recent years was changed so that it is now possible to hold a high government office without actually being a Swedish citizen.
But these developments do not spring from nothing. Sweden has a sordid history of playing a silent partner in global tragedies. Despite ostensibly being a “neutral” country, Sweden had little reservations about providing the Nazis with resources such as steel and even allowed them to use their railways to aid the occupation of Norway – sending thousands of Norwegians via Swedish railways to concentration camps in Germany.
Apparently, the Swedes have a penchant for cavorting with tyrannical regimes. As well as preserving business dealings with radical Muslim despots, Foreign Minister Bildt was also under investigation over an oil-related scandal in Ethiopia and Sudan - places that are in gross violation of human rights. But Sweden’s latent policy of enablement doesn’t stop at the governmental level with Bildt’s self-serving interests. Reigning Queen Silvia of Sweden captured international headlines when it was revealed a number of years ago that her father, Walther Sommerlath, had become a member of the Nazi Party’s foreign wing in 1934.
Across the border in Norway, things aren’t much better. According to a report published by the Oslo Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, some 38 percent of Norwegians consider Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians similar to the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, incidentally a friend of Carl Bildt, has on a number of occasions exposed himself to be an anti-Semite, not least of all in his failure to condemn anti-Israel slogans in his country’s May Day event and the Norwegian embassy’s financing of an anti-Israel hate exhibition in the troubled Syrian capital of Damascus. Labor Party Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre regularly defends Hamas in newspapers abroad and was revealed to have been in a number of talks with the terror organization’s leader, Khaled Mashaal. Following the Palestinians UN bid for statehood, Støre was quoted as saying, “We in Norway are prepared to talk to all Palestinian groups, including Hamas.”
Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who murdered 77 people in July of last year, was sentenced to a mere 21 years in prison. In the same breath that Norway’s Ambassador to Israel condemned the attack, he justified Hamas’ terrorism against the Jewish State, reasoning that, “We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel.”
While Norway was the first modern nation to ban Jewish ritual slaughter, the same cannot be said for Halal - Islamic ritual slaughter – which is still permitted. This coming from a country that has no ban on the slaughter of seals, whales and other animals that are protected by most western civilizations. But as is the case with Sweden, Norway’s misconduct is not a recent phenomenon. In the 19th century, while even Sweden was loosening up on the legal status quo regarding Jews – effectively granting them greater liberties – Norway tightened their own laws. A quote from the second paragraph of the Norwegian constitution reads, “Jews remain excluded from admission to the kingdom.” During the war, over half the population of Jews in Norway were rounded up by the Norwegian government and sent to death camps in Nazi Germany.
No surprise, then, that less than 1000 Jews live in Norway today.
Winston Churchill’s proclamation that the Norwegians are “a vile race” is reflected in the sentiments of others. Alan Dershowitz, whose offer to address Norwegian students was turned down by the country’s universities, called Norway “the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israel country in Europe today.” Even discerning Norwegians agree with this statement. Hanne Nabintu Herland, a Norwegian academic and a historian of religion, published an article titled, “Norway is the Most anti-Semitic Country in the West.” In it, she writes: “What started as the Left’s sympathy for the weak has turned into support for totalitarian coercion. This also includes backing a pronounced anti-Israelism.”
Other than their latent – and sometimes blatant - support for radical Islamists, both Norway and Sweden have a history of spearheading the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. So for those of us in Israel, perhaps the time has come to think twice before stepping into Ikea and purchasing that conveniently flat-packed sofa.