Swedish priorities

Unsurprisingly, Israelis have a decidedly negative view of Sweden.

November 17, 2015 21:08
3 minute read.

Flag of Sweden. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Once upon a time, Sweden was a model welfare state with ridiculously low levels of poverty.

Crimes rates were well below European averages.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Swedes barely bothered to lock their doors at night.

Today’s Sweden, in contrast, is in a state of crisis, in large part due to its inability to deal with a huge influx of immigrants, most of whom come from poor, Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa or are the children of these immigrants.

Since 1975, when Sweden began to undergo a major societal shift, crime rates have exploded. Violent crime incidents are up 300 percent. Rapes have increased by an unbelievable 1,472%. Grossly overrepresented in these acts of violence against women are Sweden’s rapidly growing immigrant Muslim population.

Yet, Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s Social Democrat foreign minister, who has rightly been praised for pursuing a “feminist” foreign policy (most famously by very publicly criticizing Saudi Arabia’s repression of women), ignored the enormous challenges facing her own small country and instead chose to focus her attention on what she apparently believes is the real problem plaguing the world – the Jewish state.

Speaking to Sweden’s state television over the weekend, Wallstrom said that, besides France, other countries – including Sweden – should worry about the rise of the radicalization of young Muslims.

“Obviously, we have reason to be worried,” Wallstrom said according to the translation from Swedish provided by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, “not just in Sweden but across the world because there are so many that are being radicalized.”

“Here, once again, we are brought back to situations like the one in the Middle East, where not least, the Palestinians see that there isn’t a future [and think]: We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

There it was – the old linkage argument that, since the so-called Arab Spring, has fallen into some disrepute: Palestinian anger and frustration are fueling Muslim violence around the world.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry was quick to attempt to “qualify” Wallstrom’s comments.

“In the interview referred to, no implication or reference was made that implied that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had any relevance for the tragic events in Paris.”

But, if Palestinian frustration had nothing to do with violence on the streets of Paris Friday night, why did she say it did? A blindly pro-Palestinian position is nothing new for Sweden’s present government. In fact, Sweden’s prime minister wasted no time declaring his intentions. In his inaugural speech in October of last year, he pledged to recognize Palestine, as though the urgency of implementing this move justified it being mentioned in his first official public speech to the Swedish nation. Soon after, he made good on his promise. Sweden became the first major European nation to recognize Palestine since the breakup of the Soviet bloc. The country had the dubious honor of following in the footsteps of Soviet foreign policy.

During the recent wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians, Sweden’s government has refrained from taking a stand, choosing instead to condemn “all violence, all terrorism” whether it be in Israel or in Palestine, as though Israel were just as much a perpetrator of terrorist attacks as the Palestinians.

Sweden is also one of the European countries leading the campaign to label Israeli products made beyond the pre-1967 lines.

Unsurprisingly, Israelis have a decidedly negative view of Sweden. According to a Jerusalem Post poll published ahead of our diplomatic conference taking place in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Israelis were asked about their perception of various European countries.

Germany was viewed as the most supportive of Israel.

Sweden was seen as the least supportive. Some 39% of the 506 respondents polled on October 26 (before the attacks in Paris) pointed to Sweden as least supportive of Israel. France was ranked second least supportive at 22%.

As mentioned, Sweden has problems of its own. Rather than floating discredited theories about the causes of Muslim discontent, Swedish politicians like Wallstrom instead should focus on solving its own issues.

Related Content

July 15, 2018
July 16, 2018: Groundless allegations