Israeli Diplomacy in the Face of European Anti-Semitism
Israeli Diplomacy in the Face of European Anti-Semitism
By Sarah Ann Haves
In recent days, a rift has been caused between the Israeli and Swedish governments over false reporting in a Swedish newspaper which accused Israel of blood libel. The popular Swedish daily, Aftonbladet, with a reported mass circulation of just under 1.5 million copies daily, claims that Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) kidnapped and murdered Palestinian Arabs in order to harvest their organs for transplanting. This anti-Semitic rhetoric, now hidden under the mask of so-called “investigative journalism” is an excuse for Jew hatred. It is being encouraged and influenced by Sweden’s large Moslem population.
This kind of anti-Semitism has occurred throughout history, going back to accusations before the Middle Ages, fueling Nazi propaganda into the 20th century and beyond. While the Swedish government has refused to condemn the offensive material, hiding under the banner of “freedom of speech” as spelled out in the Swedish constitution, new evidence has revealed that Sweden’s media is partially government controlled. So, it is possible that Swedish government leaders have given their tacit approval to the reporting of offensive anti-Semitic material. This is not the first article from this well-known newspaper that has sought to demonize Israel while supporting the so-called Palestinian cause.
A recent report indicates that Moslems will make up 20% of the populations of European Union countries by 2050. With these changing demographics, trends also indicate a steep rise in European anti-Semitism. Between January and June 2009, there were 609 anti-Semitic incidents reported in the U.K. alone. The three countries likely to see the fastest increase in Moslem populations are the U.K., Holland, and Spain. These populations are now being fueled by Moslem hatred of Western values, especially Judeo-Christian principles. The outcries of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” fuels anti-Western propaganda including bias against Israel, as well as anti-Semitism against Jews, worldwide.
DIPLOMACY UNDER FIRE
What’s troubling for Israel is the diplomatic fall-out that could result in damaged relations with Sweden. The Swedish government assumed the European Union (EU) presidency on July 1, and since then, Israel has complained of unfair treatment. There have already been diplomatic tensions between the two countries over Israel’s eviction of Palestinians from a Jewish-owned home in East Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Europe now, trying to convince the U.K. and Germany that Israel has frozen settlement growth. He is hoping to work out a formula with U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell that will allow Israel to finish construction on 2500 homes before freezing all settlement construction for possibly as long as two years. Netanyahu also has the task of convincing other European nations that Israel’s intentions are sincere. The Europeans are anxious to see movement on peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. With Sweden in the driver’s seat, as head of the EU now, Israel has a long path to climb in international diplomacy.
PRESSURE ON ISRAEL REGARDING THE NUCLEAR ISSUE
Little attention has been given to the fact that the Arab League has urged Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt to support an Arab resolution calling for Israel to open up its nuclear program to EU scrutiny. In September, a 150-nation general assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be meeting, where votes will be counted on measures that criticize Israel, such as the nuclear issue. Most important are the votes of 27 EU member states that have the power to censure Israel at the IAEA conference.
The Arab League will be asking the IAEA to help encourage the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty — a treaty that Israel has refused to sign. U.S. President Barack Obama has called for the abolishment of global nuclear weapons, which has fueled anti-Israel sentiment, and added pressure on the Jewish State to sign the treaty. Meanwhile, the EU and Israel are awaiting Bildt’s answer to see whether he will encourage the passing of the Arab League resolution, which would result in the censorship of Israel’s nuclear program.
In the midst of tensions between Israel and Europe, a new diplomatic forum has been created to bring European Parliamentary members together with Israeli Knesset members. In July, MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima Party), along with the European Forum of the Knesset (EFK), held an historic first meeting, attended by several European ambassadors to Israel. Israeli Opposition Leader Tzippi Livni, Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin, and other high-ranking Israeli politicians were given a chance to express their views at the meeting on “parliamentary diplomacy”.
The purpose of the gathering was to strengthen relations between Israel and European parliaments. Fiamma Nirenstein, Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, reported that Sweden has been financing a radical NGO in the guise of human rights and humanitarian aid. She further stated, “In general, through the Barcelona Process, Europe fuels the conflict, funding all the organizations that call Israel a regime of apartheid and accuse it of war crimes.” Sweden is one of the countries mentioned by Nirenstein that gives funds to The Palestinian Center for Human Rights to promote “the culture of hate and war.”
In Rome, Nirenstein hopes to establish an Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating anti-Semitism. She plans to gather more than 40 parliamentary diplomats from throughout the world that are committed to defending the rights of the Jewish people.
FUTURE DIPLOMACY ISRAEL AND EUROPE
Israel fights an uphill battle in convincing European parliaments to stop the spread of anti-Israel hatred, as well as anti-Semitism of global Jewish communities. This is especially true after the tight-lipped response of Sweden’s Foreign Minister Bildt, who refused to condemn the Aftonbladet blood libel article. Because Sweden is one of the world’s largest per-capita donors to the Palestinian cause, Israel will have to take great care in diplomatic dealings with Sweden during its hold on the EU presidency. Hopefully, Bildt’s response to Arab pressure at the IAEA conference will also be tightlipped, giving grace to Israel when it comes to reporting on the Jewish nation’s nuclear capabilities.
Meanwhile, Israel is counting on the U.K. and Germany to convince Sweden that the Jewish State has already begun a settlement freeze in the West Bank.
Israel is also counting on Netanyahu’s trip abroad to result in a favorable working relationship with European leaders, despite the ever-increasing hostile environment Jews continue to face on the streets of most European cities today.
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and, in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting from Israel on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues affecting the nation.
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