Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has canceled a planned trip to Israel this Friday. The Swedish government has refused to condemn an article in a Swedish newspaper accusing IDF soldiers of killing Palestinians and harvesting their organs.
Israeli diplomatic officials said Saturday night that the visit had definitely been canceled.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was considering not meeting Bildt unless he condemned the article in the tabloid Aftonbladet, something the Swedish government – citing freedom of the press – had adamantly refused to do.
Netanyahu gave vent to Israel’s disappointment over the matter during a meeting last week in Jerusalem with visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
During that meeting, Netanyahu said that no one was expecting the Swedes to restrict freedom of the press, but that it was reasonable to expect the government to speak out against the type of defamation that in the past had led to the mass murder of Jews.
Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and Bildt’s failure to visit here will have an impact on the country’s ability during its term as president to have any real say on the diplomatic process.
Ironically, while the Swedes continued to refuse to condemn the article, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos said Saturday in Stockholm that he regretted the Spanish newspaper El Mundo’s decision to run an interview Saturday with Holocaust denier David Irving as part of a retrospective on the start of World War II 70 years ago.
«The foreign minister, while maintaining the most absolute respect for freedom of expression, regrets that space was given to a historian who denies one of the biggest tragedies for humanity in modern history», a spokesman for Moratinos said. «These types of statements deeply hurt the Jewish people».
Source: Jerusalem Post.
There will not be many parallels in World history that can match the act of the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.
In 1980, the free and democratic World was willing to boycott the Olympic games in Moscow, as a protest against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
The present Government who holds the chairmanship to the European Union, would most likely have been the only Western democracy, who would have participated claiming that the Russian invasion had not taken place.
How could Carl Bildt have claimed that?
Simply because he had read it in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.
And since there is freedom of the press in Sweden, the Government could neither have condemn such a story, nor come up with a good reason for not sending all their athletes to Moscow.
One denial that is a crime, is to deny the Holocaust. The same people in Sweden who have published the blood libel against Israeli soldiers, have put their trust in sources of information they have gathered among Holocaust deniers. Hamas, Hizbullah, Fatah and the governments of Syria and Iran included.
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