Zionist Union's Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni managed to repair Israel’s poor relations with Sweden by meeting with senior officials in Stockholm, Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog said Monday.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström angered Israelis in December when she told her parliament that Israel’s response to the wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks was “disproportionate.”
The following month, she accused the IDF of carrying out “extrajudicial killings” against Palestinian terrorists.
Livni met Saturday with Wallström and according to the MK’s spokesman, she persuaded the Swedish foreign minister to publicly support Israel’s right to protect itself and publicly denounce the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
Wallström expressed hope that Sweden’s relations with Israel would return to what they were before her ill-received statements. Livni said her success in persuading Wallström proved that “screaming that everyone is anti-Semitic and hypocritical” was not a foreign policy approach that could succeed.
“What the Foreign Ministry couldn’t do in months, Livni accomplished in one meeting,” Herzog said, praising his political partner in the Zionist Union.
Livni came under fire at last week’s Zionist Union faction meeting from MK Erel Margalit, who said she was merely a guest of the Labor Party.
At the start of Monday’s meeting, Herzog emphasized that it was the bond with Livni that made the Zionist Union a serious alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.
Herzog said the Zionist Union must be strengthened by joining forces with other parties and bodies ahead of the next election. It currently includes 19 MKs from Labor and five from Livni’s Hatnua, including MK Yael Cohen- Paran, who is a representative of the Green Movement.
A Channel 1 poll last week found that if elections were held now, former finance minister Yair Lapid’s party would nearly double its support from 11 seats to 21, while the Zionist Union would fall from 24 seats to 15.
Livni traveled from Sweden to Germany, where she met Monday with Chancellor Angela Merkel.