Television, terror and Swedish funding

Funding terrorism is illegal in Sweden. But Sweden’s government is doing just that.

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Marianne Ahrne,

Mariann Ahrne
Mariann Ahrne
צילום: MA

Of the $100 million contributed annually by Sweden to the Palestinian Authority, an uncontrollable percentage goes towards salaries for convicted terrorists and allowances to the families of suicide bombers. The more people the terrorist kills, the more money the PA pays to him or her. In this way, many terrorists earn far more while locked up in Israeli prison cells than the average Palestinian worker does.

Some $355 million of the PA´s budget is currently used for this purpose.

Swedes like to pretend that their foreign aid money is ear-marked for humanitarian purposes only and gladly go on about it. But this is nothing more than words - and they are ”blowing in the wind”.

If the government of Sweden does not halt its funding to the PA until they stop rewarding their terrorists, then nothing will change. Mahmoud Abbas, the PA’s president, will continue saying ”yes, yes” in English and ”no, no” in Arabic - while continuing to cash in.


Feeding the Palestinian Authority with large servings of Swedish funding without demanding a total stop to the unconscionable paying of salaries to terrorists ...
Our government is of course aware of Abbas’ double-talk and knows where at least part of  the Swedish foreign aid money ends up. So either it accepts that it is sponsoring terrorism or it is in denial about the facts. I don´t know which is worse.

But I do know “Palestine” has become the darling pet of our government. And Israel its black sheep.

How would Swedes react, I wonder, if a school in Stockholm were to be named after Rakhmat Akilov, the terrorist who drove a lorry into the crowd on Stockholm’s Drottninggatan in April. Not even Margot Wallström, our country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, would view that as a clever move.

But the Palestinians are constantly naming schools, arenas, streets and squares after their terrorists, while stubbornly terming them ‘martyrs’. And those who plan terror attacks while preferring not to be blown up themselves can go on to become TV stars.

Not long ago there was a celebration (yes, a celebration!) of the suicide bombing of Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria where fifteen Israelis, eight of them children, were murdered and 130 injured. In Gaza and Lebanon, crowds went out onto the streets, cheering and handing out candies in honor of the massacre. The PA later honoured the suicide bomber with a military funeral. I quote a Palestinian TV reporter who covered the event:
"The flags of the political parties were raised at this national wedding [meaning the wedding of the “martyr” in Paradise with his 72 virgins] which demonstrated the national unity and cohesion among our people [between Fatah and Hamas].”

The Sbarro suicide bomber was blown to pieces in the explosion. But Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who planned the attack and brought him to the site, is alive and, until recently, had a TV show of her own where she encouraged viewers on to more acts of terrorism. Tamimi was one of the 1,027 terrorists liberated in exchange for a captive IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, in 2011. Following her release, Palestinian TV broadcast an interview recorded with her while she was still in an Israeli prison. It shows her [YouTube] expressing delight on learning that more children had been murdered in Sbarro than she knew about at the time.

It turns my stomach to think that, indirectly at least, the Swedish government and Swedish funding from ordinary Swedish taxpayers sponsor her and the likes of her.

The reason I have been looking into the case of Tamimi a little more closely is that Arnold Roth, the father of Malki, one of those children murdered in the pizzeria, takes part in a documentary film “Watching the Moon at Night” made by the noted Swedish film-makers Bo Persson and Joanna Helander. I approved the funding of their film while working as a commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute.

Since then, I have followed its destiny, seeing it praised at festivals and by several of the foremost global experts in the fields that it tackles - terrorism and anti-Semitism. But Sveriges Television (SVT), our country’s national public TV broadcaster, has, for some obscure reason and despite the fact it originally signed on to co-produce it, refused to screen it. And continues to refuse.

More than 1,300 people have signed a petition demanding the film be broadcast by SVT. But no... with the passage of time and after having followed all the ups and downs, I have come to believe that SVT’s refusal to show the film is,  sadly, connected to the fact that among the Spanish, British, Irish, Swedish and Algerian victims of terrorism sympathetically interviewed in the film, there are also a couple of Israelis.

Such is the depth of Swedish hatred and prejudice against Israel.  And let it be noted that this is no longer a rare response from those on Sweden’s left.

That the left is over-represented on the documentary board at Swedish Television is an open secret. It probably explains why the management at SVT has no problem showing Oliver Stone´s uncritical portrait of Putin but will not countenance the screening of “Watching the Moon at Night” in which critics of the Russian regime speak up. Men and women, please note, like Anna Politkovskaja who put their lives at risk by their civil courage.

Well, Oliver Stone might be a side-track. But everything is connected.

Feeding the Palestinian Authority with large servings of Swedish funding without demanding a total stop to the unconscionable paying of salaries to terrorists while at the same time refusing to acknowledge Israeli victims of terror – these are two sides of the same coin.

There is a name for this. The name is anti-Semitism.

Marianne Ahrne, an award-winning film director and writer, was born in Lund, Sweden and lives today in Stockholm. Known for her breakthrough film Near and Far Away (1976), set in a Swedish mental hospital, she has written and directed about 40 films. She was honored in 1980 with the Esselte Prize for Literature and with numerous additional prizes for her film work. She has worked as a film commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute.








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