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Israeli Foreign Ministry: We want Sweden to distance itself from the contents of the Aftonbladet article

According to Haaretz, a representative of the Israeli Foreign Ministry says the following:

We did not ask for an apology, or for measures against the newspaper or the journalist, — All we asked of Sweden and the Swedes is that they reject and decry the content of the report. And our position has not changed.

That such a rejection of the contents of the article would cause a crime against the right for free speech, something that Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt claimed here (swedish), is as shown here (swedish), incorrect. On the contrary, the government is allowed, as it did in the past (swedish), to criticize the content of any newspaper article. The issue of publication is a very different matter. But that is not the relevant issue at stake.

Now Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, according to that same Haaretz article, propose an EU statement which would declare articles of this sort to be ”acts of blatant anti-Semitism.”

Frattini intend to raise the issue in EU’s foreign ministers meeting later this week. But Sweden will not respond (swedish):

– From the Swedish side, we have no plans to address this issue at the informal meeting of foreign ministers in Stockholm, say [foreign ministry’s Communications Director Cecilia] Julin, and says that according to Bildt this information must be an ”Italian misunderstanding”.

The Swedish position appears therefore, as Foreign Minister Bildt expressed it (swedish), to be ”crystal clear”: No concessions to Israel.

This standpoint seem to be even more to the point when one considers what Mr. Bildt subsequently blogged about before a meeting he would have – and well now also had – with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. Bildt writes under the heading ’Important visit from Egypt’, that the

Israeli settlement policy, including in East Jerusalem, is a decisive obstacle to progress.

On this – as well as on possible Arab steps to facilitate progress – we will certainly be speaking today.

The Swedish Foreign Minister thus find a reason to consult with the Egyptian foreign minister on criticism of Israel, but find no time to discuss with a colleague in the European Union even the possibility to criticize the false and seemingly anti-Semitic criticism of Israel put forth in Aftonbladet.

According to the Swedish Foreign Ministry, ”there are no plans” to do so.

”All pressure on Israel”, continues therefore seemingly to be the Swedish government’s motto.


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