Swedish cabinet member was on board Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Marmara

Sweden’s city planning and environment minister, Mehmet Kaplan, was on board Turkish vessel which sought to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

October 6, 2014 20:27
1 minute read.
Mavi Marmara

The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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BERLIN – Two Swedish Green Party ministers in Stefan Löfven’s newly formed government protested Israel’s policies, prompting their detention for breaking international and domestic laws.

Sweden’s city planning and environment minister, Mehmet Kaplan, was on board Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara in 2010, which sought to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Israeli authorities detained him after the ship was intercepted.

Kaplan, who was born in the Turkish province of Gaziantep, rejects the existence of the Jewish state, according to experts.

Speaking from Stockholm, Lisa Abramowicz, secretary-general of the Swedish-Israel Information Center, told The Jerusalem Post that Kaplan spoke at a pro-Palestinian Gaza demonstration in July in Stockholm.

“66 years of occupation, and Jerusalem must be freed,” he said at the protest.

When asked if she views his anti-Israel assertions to be anti-Semitic, Abramowicz said, “I would say that is anti-Semitic” because by referencing 66 years of occupation that means “Israel has no right to exist.” She said he practices “double standards.”

Abramowicz said the Green Party has the same “very anti-Israel” posture toward Israel as the Swedish Left Party (former Communists).

Mehmet recently compared Swedish jihadists fighting in Syria with Swedish fighters who joined Finland to fight the former Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940. His comparison “shocked a lot of people,” said Abramowicz. He later retracted it.

In 2003, Sweden’s current education minister, Gustav Fridolin, then a Swedish MP, was arrested in the West Bank for allegedly blocking the construction of Israel’s security barrier. He protested along with the pro-Palestinian groups the International Solidarity Movement and Grassroots International and Anarchists against Fences.

According to a 2003 DPA news agency report, Fridolin told the Israeli media that “it was a nonviolent demonstration. We were just standing and talking when suddenly, without warning, bullets were fired at us. Afterwards, we understood they were rubber bullets.”

Fridolin has spoken at pro-Palestinian meetings in Sweden. It is unclear what role Fridolin will have in educational policy surrounding the Israel-Palestinian conflict and terrorism.

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