Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, IsraeliStock

The Sweden Democrats, Sweden’s right-wing populist party, has submitted a draft motion urging the local government to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital, JTA reported Friday.

Bjorn Soder, a former leader and current lawmaker for the Sweden Democrats, submitted the draft motion to the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) on Thursday. It would be read as a non-binding resolution, according to the report.

“The Riksdag stands behind what is stated in the motion to formally acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announces this to the government,” the draft resolution reads.

“The Riksdag stands behind what is stated in the motion and supports moving Sweden’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and announcing this to the government,” it adds.

Sweden’s September 9 election left the center-left bloc, whose policy on Israel was one of the most hostile in the European Union, with just one seat more than the center-right Alliance, with the Sweden Democrats as the third biggest group.

Subsequently, the Social Democrat former prime minister Stefan Lofven ended his term amid attempts to set up a governing coalition.

The anti-Islam Sweden Democrats dramatically increased their share of the vote in the election, clinching about 18 percent compared to 12.9 percent in the previous election.

While it has maintained a favorable attitude toward Israel, the party has a long and problematic record vis-à-vis members’ attitudes to the Jewish people.

Just a week before the elections, regional politicians from the Sweden Democrats party were caught making anti-Semitic statements online, including with them a picture of Anne Frank mocking Holocaust victims.

Two years ago, the party removed one of its members of parliament for anti-Semitism, after she proposed legislation to end state subsidies for media outlets that she said favor the Bonnier media group, whose controlling family has Jewish roots.

Martin Sihlén, who represents the Sweden Democrats in Örkelljunga, in Sweden’s south, wrote on Facebook that “Hitler wasn’t so bad” and he “did not lie about Jews”, according to JTA.

He also wrote that “international Jewry is thirsting for destroying Europe. It was ultimately not Germany who started the Second World War, it was the Jews.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)