Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sweden's Palestinian Lobbyists - Nima Gholam Ali Pour



by Nima Gholam Ali Pour


The Swedish municipality of Malmö, with only 318,000 inhabitants, is providing tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenues each year to organizations that spread extreme anti-Israeli messages.


  • Apelgårdsskolan elementary school in Malmö lends its premises on Sundays to an association called Framtidsföreningen ["The Future Society"]. The organization holds a Sunday school, where, among other things, maps are handed out to children where Israel has been removed, and schoolbooks are distributed in which "resistance" against Israel is celebrated. Framtidsföreningen has also received $4500 from Malmö's recreational board since 2014.
  • That pro-Palestinian organizations will use tax-funded operations as a tool to spread hatred against Israel is a given. This means that organizations that spread hatred against Israel in Sweden in many cases have tax revenues at their disposal at several levels.
  • There are no effective lobbying organizations in Sweden that fight for the cause of Israel.


In recent years, aid that finances hatred against Israel has received much attention. Organizations such as NGO Monitor have shown time and again how European countries and international organizations provide financial support to projects in which the sole purpose is to spread lies about Israel and erode its legitimacy as a nation.

But the European war going on against Israel has deeper presence and is more widespread than just some European governments or international organizations providing assistance to organizations that are spreading hatred against Israel.

The Swedish municipality of Malmö, for instance, with only 318,000 inhabitants, is providing tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenues each year to organizations that spread extreme anti-Israeli messages.

The association Kontrakultur has, since 2012, received $167,000 in tax revenues from the municipality of Malmö. If you visit the website of Kontrakultur, you can see that two of their partners are the International Solidarity Movement Sweden and Isolera Israel ["Isolate Israel"]. Both the International Solidarity Movement and Isolera Israel are organizations that have extreme views on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Both organizations say they believe that Israel is an apartheid state conducting ethnic cleansing and is to be boycotted; they support Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, which they call "resistance."

When Isolera Israel in March 2015 carried out a campaign during "Israel Apartheid Week," when they sent out "apartheid inspectors" to Malmö's stores to encourage shop owners to remove Israeli products, they had their headquarters located on premises owned by the municipality of Malmö.

Apelgårdsskolan elementary school in Malmö lends its premises on Sundays to an association called Framtidsföreningen ["The Future Society"]. The organization holds a Sunday school, where, among other things, children are given maps from which Israel has been removed, and schoolbooks are distributed in which "resistance" against Israel is celebrated.

Framtidsföreningen has no business being in a Swedish school: it is a pro-Palestinian association that cooperates with organizations such as International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, one of the founding organizations behind the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

Apelgårdsskolan is located in the area of Rosengård, which is, according to Swedish police, a "particularly vulnerable" area. According to the Swedish police's definition, there are, among other things in "particularly vulnerable" areas, parallel society structures, extremism, people traveling to take part in combat in conflict areas and a high concentration of crime. That the municipality of Malmö makes it possible to spread hatred against Israel among children in such an area is enabling a future war against Israel.

In addition to having used municipal premises to indoctrinate young children that Israel does not exist and teaching children that they should carry out militant actions against Israel, Framtidsföreningen has also received $4500 from Malmö's recreational board since 2014.


Apelgårdsskolan elementary school in Malmö (left) lends its premises to an association that holds a Sunday school, where children are given maps from which Israel has been removed, and books distributed in which "resistance" against Israel is celebrated. Right: Hillevi Larsson, a Social Democratic Member of Parliament representing a district of Malmö, shows off a Palestinian flag and a "map of Palestine" in which Israel does not exist.

Although these might seem shocking details to any sensible person, this kind of activity is normal in Sweden. Tobias Pettersson, Chairman of the pro-Israeli think tank Perspektiv På Israel ["Perspective on Israel"], sent information about Framtidsföreningen to Malmö's largest newspaper, Sydsvenskan. However, the newspaper's journalists responded that the subject was not something for them to cover.

No newspaper in Sweden has written anything about these events. The anti-racist organization Motargument ["Counterpoint"] wrote a blog about the events in Apelgårdsskolan but tried to downplay the incident by saying that it was just a matter of "Arabic-speaking pupils" who were having "Palestinian studies."

On March 3, the organization "Malmö's Young Muslims" held a lecture on municipal premises about "Palestinian lobbying in Sweden." This lecture was directed at young people and held by Adnan Abou-Chakra, a person who among other things, acts as translator when Hamas writes articles for Swedish newspapers. This lecture also took place in Rosengård. It is a mystery for anyone why a Swedish municipality should make it possible for young people to learn about "Palestinian lobbying in Sweden."

These are just some examples of how pro-Palestinian organizations that spread hatred against Israel or have extreme views on the Israel-Palestine conflict have created a local infrastructure in Malmö, financed by taxes.

They have managed to do this through effective lobbying. Beside the Sweden Democrats, there is no political party in Malmö that sees any of this as a problem. That pro-Palestinian organizations will use tax-funded operations as a tool to spread hatred against Israel is a given. This means that organizations in Sweden that spread hatred against Israel in many cases have tax revenues at their disposal at several levels.

While there are pro-Palestinian organizations on the municipal school premises that indoctrinate children that Israel is not on the map and teach young people how they should conduct lobbying on behalf of Palestinian causes, there are no effective lobbying organizations in Sweden that fight for the cause of Israel.

While municipal tax revenues go to organizations that spread hatred against Israel, the local synagogue is financing its own security without any financial support from the city of Malmö. Such an inequitable situation in itself shows how effective the pro-Palestinian groups have been in their lobbying.

Even when someone fights against anti-Semitism in Sweden, it is expected that the person condemn Israel. Siavosh Derakhti, who has received several awards for his fight against anti-Semitism in Sweden, and who met President Obama in 2013, wrote the following about Israel in an article from 2011; he tells young Muslims in Sweden why they should distance themselves from anti-Semitism:
"But we must also be critical of Israeli policies and military. Where there is oppression and discrimination against civilians in Palestine, we must show courage and hope for the future. We need to influence our politicians so that they can take up the fight in parliament and hopefully strengthen demands against Israeli policy and listen to the young people. The children and the civilian population in Palestine should live in peace and live in freedom. Israel must cease its military attacks and discrimination and the oppression against the Palestinian civilian population in the West Bank and Gaza. I think our politicians show little support for the Palestinians and the European Union must have the courage to strengthen the tone against Israel, possibly threatening a boycott if things continue. The attacks against the civilian population of Palestine must end. The world should boycott cooperation with Israel, as long as the country carries out attacks against civilians in Palestine."
Even the one person in Sweden who has been praised for his struggle against anti-Semitism evidently feels compelled to remind people how evil Israel is, and in contradiction to the facts on the ground there. Derakhti's approach towards Israel may also explain why he has received awards from the Swedish establishment.

The Palestinians may not be able to run a country, as the chaos in the Palestinian territories demonstrates, but they can apparently run Swedish politics better than anyone. As long as this imbalance, composed of Palestinian lobbying activities at all levels of Swedish policy-making -- from local to national -- exists, and is unopposed by any real lobbying for Israel's cause, then Sweden will be a pro-Palestinian country with a pro-Palestinian establishment.

This disinformation and imbalance also ensure that Swedish taxpayers, at all levels, support operations that spread hatred against Israel.

It is not that Swedish politicians have misunderstood anything, except facts about Israel; it is that a pro-Palestinian lobby has been very successful and has achieved all its goals, while whoever supports Israel has been either silent or passive and not taken to heart how effective grassroots organizations can be. You can be very charming, and if you are building pro-Palestinian grassroots organizations, it is easy to convince Swedish politicians.

There are many people who now analyze Sweden and ask how this country in northern Europe could recognize a State of Palestine so quickly and criticize Israel so much. It is the pro-Palestinian lobbying organizations that have caused this to happen. The only way to reverse the trend is to build or support effective pro-Israeli lobby organizations that are as ambitious as the pro-Palestinian lobby organizations.
If the people who support Israel do not confront these pro-Palestinian lobbyists, more countries like Sweden will become platforms from which to delegitimize Israel. This European confrontation is essential and of the most urgent, strategic importance.
Nima Gholam Ali Pour is a member of the board of education in the Swedish city of Malmö and is engaged in several Swedish think tanks concerned with the Middle East. He is also editor for the social conservative website Situation Malmö.  Follow Nima Gholam Ali Pour on Twitter and Facebook
Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7626/sweden-anti-israel

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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