Swedish priorities

Unsurprisingly, Israelis have a decidedly negative view of Sweden.

Flag of Sweden (photo credit: REUTERS)
Flag of Sweden
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Once upon a time, Sweden was a model welfare state with ridiculously low levels of poverty.
Crimes rates were well below European averages.
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.