(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid is expected to address the pro-Israel community in Sweden, arguably the European country most hostile to Israel, on Sunday.
Lapid will be the first-ever MK to participate in the Swedish Zionist Federation’s fifth annual demonstration in Stockholm. Among the other expected participants are local opposition politicians Ebba Busch Thor, leader of the Christian Democratic Party, and Birgitta Holsson, former minister for the EU and Democracy and foreign policy spokeswoman for the Liberal Party, as well as Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman.
The Yesh Atid chairman said the rally “in one of the most difficult arenas in Europe” is part of a “daily struggle against the delegitimization campaign against Israel.”
Members of the Swedish government “don’t hide their hatred and anti-Semitic opinions about Israel,” he lamented.
“We are coming to tell the citizens and government of Sweden: We have a flourishing state, a strong army and economic power, and we know how to stand up to all the challenges,” Lapid added. “You have the moral obligation to stick to the facts, not to give in to lies, and not take part of the obsessive anti-Israel campaign led by terrorist organizations with only one goal: to eliminate the State of Israel.”
Hundreds of Christians, Jews and members of the local Kurdish community are expected to take part in the rally, which is titled “Take back Zionism.”
“For far too long, Zionism has been treated as a dirty, unwanted or alien concept in Sweden, especially in the media and politics,” the rally’s organizers said. “We want to take back Zionism and not let others define what it means.
Zionism simply means that you are in favor of a Jewish homeland with self-determination.”
The Zionist Federation said that the rally is nonpartisan.
“You can be left or right, liberal, socialist or conservative; the only thing we need to unite around is that Israel has the right to exist and be a country where the Jewish people enjoy self-determination,” they stated in the online invitation to the event.
Earlier this year, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom sparked outrage in Israel, calling for an investigation to determine whether Israel is guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during the recent wave of terrorism. She made no such call following terrorist attacks in Europe in the past months, in which local police killed the terrorists.
Wallstrom also lamented the “disproportionate” number of deaths on the Palestinian side, as opposed to Israelis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Wallstrom’s comments “outrageous, immoral, unjust and just wrong,”as well as “stupid.”
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