Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Friday, August 28, 2009

Why Lieberman took on Sweden

Here is a quite different take on Lieberman and Sweden
Last update - 11:37 28/08/2009       
Why Lieberman took on Sweden
By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
Who takes the prize for the most breathtaking display of hypocrisy in the wake of the silly organ-trafficking story in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet? The tabloid's editors, who are still insisting that the half-baked "report" based on 17-year-old rumors should lead to an international inquiry? The Israeli government, which has persisted in transforming gutter journalism into a full-blown diplomatic incident? Or perhaps the Swedish foreign minister, who insisted that he was not going to condemn the report since freedom of the press is sacred (no one suggested he censor the paper), but took a different line when cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper were used by Muslims around the world to justify arson and murder?
To say that none of the players in this farce have shown any common sense would be a serious understatement. But there is another, just as disturbing aspect in this case. The reaction of some Israeli politicians, especially Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, with their wild accusations of anti-Semitism - against all of Sweden's media, government and society - broke a fundamental, unwritten rule in Israel-Diaspora relations.
The moment Israel officially brands a government or entire country as anti-Semitic, it automatically places the local Jewish community on a collision course with local society. Israel tends to have close ties with Jews around the world, and we take this for granted. But the fact that Israel sees itself not only as guarding its own citizens, but also Jews in other countries, is far from simple.
Defending Jews around the world isn't just about maintaining a safe haven in their hour of need, or even organizing an emergency airlift when famine or war threaten. It also means delicate diplomacy, keeping in mind that Israel's actions can have serious repercussions for Jews in other countries, whether or not they support Israel.
No more statistics
The government and Jewish Agency's joint task force on anti-Semitism stopped publishing the number of anti-Semitic incidents in each country in its annual report. They realized their publication was embarrassing other communities, which published widly differing statistics in their own reports.
With all respect to the Jewish state, it is up to local Jews to identify the acts of hatred that directly affect them. Private "watchdogs" can and will do whatever they like - after all, they need to fund-raise - but a government should exercise some degree of judgment and diplomacy. The only exception to this rule is regarding Jewish communities in dictatorships, who need others to speak for them.
By blaming the Swedish government for the organs story and its alleged indifference to anti-Semitism, and comparing it to a wartime government that ignored the Holocaust (in itself an historical inaccuracy), Lieberman has pushed Swedish Jews into a trap.
No one can accuse them of being anti-Israel, but since they have decided to live in Sweden, which is a democracy, they must be allowed to confront anti-Semitism in their own society on their own terms. Lieberman's accusations essentially give the local community a stark choice: Decide which side you're on.
Ariel Sharon and French Jewry
This isn't the first time a senior Israeli politician made this kind of mistake. Ariel Sharon and his foreign minister Silvan Shalom embarrassed French Jews when they called upon them to emigrate to Israel during the first years of the Second Intifada, but at least that seemed like an authentic emotional reaction to what was a real wave of anti-Semitism. Lieberman's outrage is everything but genuine.
If the foreign minister were really intent on fighting global anti-Semitism, he would find no better place to start than his own homeland, the former Soviet Union. Whether or not Donald Bostrom is a bona fide anti-Semite or just a singularly unprofessional journalist, in Russia, Ukraine and the other former Soviet republics, there is no shortage of newspapers, magazines and Web sites filled with the most primitive hatred of Jews, including specific references to blood libels. Some of these publications are officially sanctioned and funded.
But you won't hear Lieberman excoriating the leaders of these countries. After all, that's his personal stomping ground, the only place in the world where he is a welcome guest. But Sweden, which just happens to hold the presidency of the European Union, and is rather critical of the West Bank settlements, why not brand it anti-Semitic? Lieberman is never going to visit Stockholm on business after he retires from politics, and there are no Yisrael Beiteinu voters there.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory