Swedish foreign minister isn’t anti-Semitic, she’s a demagogue
Swedish foreign minister isn’t anti-Semitic, she’s a demagogue

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

“If I am accused of being an anti-Semite for promoting a two-state solution I think that hurts the debate,” the foreign minister of Sweden haughtily announced this week.

Foreign Minister Margot Wallström is right—calling somebody anti-Semitic just for promoting Palestinian statehood is counterproductive. There’s just one catch. No reasonable person is calling her that. Nobody who is part of the serious public conversation, in Europe or the United States, is making such an allegation. It’s a product of her imagination.

I’m not saying that the foreign minister of Sweden is delusional. I’m not saying she’s imagining things. It’s actually worse than that: she’s a demagogue. She knows full well that no serious person is calling her an anti-Semite. For her to make that charge is an old propaganda trick. You claim that your critics said some crazy thing which they didn’t say, and then you argue against the words that you put in their mouths. See how that works? You come out looking reasonable, and they come out looking crazy.

This all started when Foreign Minister Wallström was interviewed by the Swedish Jewish newspaper “Judisk Krönika” (Jewish Chronicle) on March 19. Sweden was the first EU country to recognize the Palestinian Authority-occupied territories as the “State of Palestine,” and has given the Palestinians more than $700-million in aid since 1993. 

Given Sweden’s strongly pro-Palestinian record, I guess it wasn’t surprising when Wallström told the interviewer of her continuing support for Palestinian statehood. She even defended the PA’s policy of providing salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. (Translation provided by Swedish journalist Annika Hernroth-Rothstein.)

Foreign Minister Wallström could not even bring herself to acknowledge that the PA, which walked away from the negotiations years ago, is to blame for the absence of negotiations.

When asked by the interviewer who is to blame for the fact that there is no peace, Wallström at first laughed (!), and said, “Do you really think I would place blame on anyone?” Then, of course, she proceeded to heap blame on Israel.

After briefly paying lip service to the fact that “each encouragement for violence and stabbings also creates a hindrance on the other side” (without mentioning who is doing that “encouraging”), Wallström got to her main point:

“Naturally, if you are an occupational force then you have the responsibility not to do things to hinder the peace process,” the foreign minister asserted. “More settlements, more demolitions, I think it’s the third time that the EU is paying for the same buildings – that doesn’t help but it hinders.”

Wallström was referring to the fact that the EU directly has been paying for the illegal construction of Palestinian buildings in Israeli controlled territory. When the Israeli authorities had the temerity to demolish the illegal buildings, the EU put them up again. The Israelis tried to enforce the law again. The EU put them up for a third time.

So: the EU sponsors illegal buildings which they know Israel will demolish, and then Sweden’s foreign minister declares that “more demolitions” are “hindering the peace process.” Can there be any greater chutzpah?

And last, we have the foreign minister’s claim that “more settlements” are “hindering the peace process.” Yet from 1992 until 2017, Israel did not authorize the establishment of a single new settlement. When Israel last year announced it would create a new community for Jews who had been expelled from the town of Amona, the New York Times headline declared: “Israel Approves First New Settlement in Decades.”

But Foreign Minister Wallström evidently is not interested in the facts. She’s only interested in finding ways to incite the public against Israel. That’s the true mark of a demagogue.