Op-Ed: Expose: Funding Swedish BDS and Demonization of Israel
Nima Gholam Ali Pour and Tobias PeterssonThe writers are representatives for the Swedish NGO Perspektiv på Israel (Perspective on Israel) (PPI)
The image of anti-Israel demonstrations and activists with Palestinian scarves is only part of the pro-Palestinian movement in Europe. That European states give tax money to anti-Israel organizations with an extreme agenda is another part of the pro-Palestinian movement in Europe. The second part is kept less visible because it is more controversial.
In Sweden, the governmental aid agency, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency(SIDA), has given tax funds to the organization “Palestinagrupperna i Sverige”(PGS), through the aid organization Forum Syd. In the Forum Syd board sits among others parliamentarian Amineh Kakabaveh, who has described Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank as "ethnic cleansing."
PGS is an organization that in its statutes describes Israel as an apartheid state and wants all "Palestinian refugees" to return to Israel, which would result in the destruction of the Jewish state. The Swedish government is funding such an extreme anti-Israel organization with tax funds.
PGS also supports the BDS movement. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has published a report where they show that there are anti-Semitic elements in the BDS movement. Swedish tax funds that are supposed to be funding humanitarian aid are actually funding racism against Jews.
The fact that PGS has poor judgment is not a secret in Sweden. Already in 2008, Anna Wester, the current chairman for PGS, was criticized by Jonathan Leman, a prize-winning journalist for the Swedish anti-racist organization EXPO. Anna Wester had on several occasions linked to websites with such foul anti-Israel and conspiratorial contents that it could be considered as anti-Semitism.
Another kind of organizations the Swedish authorities are funding is the local Palestinian organizations in Sweden. Their propaganda language is very bias and hateful towards Israel when they communicate to the public on their websites or in social media like Facebook.
Palestinska Kulturhuset i Helsingborg (The Palestinian Culture House in Helsingborg) is one of these local Palestinian organizations. It is funded by Helsingborg City. On December 3, 2011 they celebrated the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian people by inviting a Swedish Iranian rapper by the name Behrang Miri. He rapped in front of very young children about Zionism and the Israeli Defense Forces in a very demonizing way. Here are some excerpts from the rap:
"Memories torn by Zionism..."
”...As Alladin they walk in with armor, they destroy and devastate for everyone who prays for Allah Akhbar”. (translated from Swedish*)
This demonizing image of the Jewish state of Israel was mediated to young children. That is child abuse financed by the Swedish authorities, carried out only to demonize Israel and keep the hatred alive.
It is important for Israelis not to buy the version that pro-Palestinian movements in Europe are trying to spread: that anti-Israel movements are based on the activism of the European peoples. Because of the media's bias many Europeans have become hostile to Israel, but they have not turned into anti-Israel activists. These anti-Israel organizations are based more on financial resources they receive from European governments, who call it humanitarian aid.
That the Swedish government is supporting anti-Israel organizations that actually promote the destruction of Israel is as crazy as if Israel would give money to any organization that would like to destroy Sweden. But in Sweden the craziness is the horrible reality, Sweden supports such organizations. The Swedish government gives the Swedish people's tax money to organizations who view Israel as an apartheid state.
That Sweden provides great amounts of money to these kind of organizations has resulted in that the pro-Palestinian organizations can not afford to be wrong. That is why they have to keep spreading anti-Israel lies as they can not afford to admit they are wrong. Being pro-Palestinan and anti-Israel has become a way for activists to not only live, but something to live from.
By this system Sweden creates incentives for the organizations to spread hate against Israel.
The extremist anti-Israel organizations would be marginalized if they did not receive funding from the Swedish state.
The campaign for a better relationship between Israel and Europe begins with European states like Sweden who stop giving aid to organizations that spread lies about Israel and who advocate for the destruction of the state of Israel.
Tobias Petersson and Nima Gholam Ali Pour are representatives for the Swedish NGO Perspektiv på Israel (Perspective on Israel) (PPI)