Yair Lapid
Yair LapidSpeaker for Yair Lapid

The head of the "Yesh Atid" party, MK Yair Lapid, attended a pro-Israel rally today (Sunday) in Stockholm, Sweden, together with hundreds of supporters of Israel, members of the Swedish Parliament, students and representatives of the Jewish community in Stockholm.

The rally took place in the wake of a surge in anti-Semitic statements over the past few months in Europe in general and specifically in Sweden, and in the wake of the delegitimization campaign recently orchestrated by BDS.

It is the first time that a senior Israeli statesman has taken part in such a rally in Sweden, which is known as one of the most difficult arenas for Israeli proponents to present their views.

Recently, there has been a spate of anti-Israel statements from the Swedish government, with the foreign minister issuing anti-Semitic statements and even calling for investigations of Israel for killing "innocent Arabs," referring to the perpetrators of stabbing attacks.

The rally featured the Head of the Christian Democratic party in Sweden, Eva Thor, as well as Brigitta Ohlsson, a Christian Democrat Member of Parliament and a former Swedish ambassador to the UN; Yitzchak Backman, Israel's ambassador to Sweden; Saskia Pantel, director of the Zionist Jewish Federation in Sweden, as well as other prominent dignitaries.

Lapid said at the opening of the rally: "We are standing here in Wallenberg Square, in memory of the Swedish diplomat who during the Holocaust saved my father, a 13-year-old in the Budapest ghetto, from being murdered by the Nazis."

"In days of fear and hatred, Wallenberg had the courage to love and protect the people of Israel. Your government and, in particular, your Foreign Minister, are now on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of morality. However, Wallenberg's legacy, the legacy of moral courage, still exists in Sweden and it is standing here in front of me."

Lapid added that "If the Swedish Foreign Minister is concerned about human rights in the Middle East, she should be talking about the use of children as terrorists and as human shields, the discrimination against the homo-lesbian community in the Palestinian authority and the incitement against Jews there who are portrayed like images from Der Sturmer. She should be discussing the exploitation of women in the Gaza strip and the human rights situation in Iran."

"If attacks against Jews are detached from the facts and based on prejudices - this is called anti-Semitism. Raoul Wallenberg fought this 70 years ago and saved my father." added Lapid.

Tamir Oren, an activist in the pro-Israel organization "Stand With Us" and reserve officer in the IDF, spoke against attempts to delegitimize the IDF and its soldiers and emphasized that Israel is fighting for the right to exist.

"It must be said explicitly: When a school becomes a rocket factory there is no other definition for it than a rocket factory. Could we have bombed the school from the air? Of course we could. But we knew that there could be innocent people there, who Hamas forced to be there, and therefore we didn't bomb there. I can say most emphatically that no soldier wants war, but when rockets are exploding over our houses, we have no choice but to fight once again and protect our country."