Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Swedish journalist-turned-politican defends Israel in EU - David Rosenberg

by David Rosenberg

Former journalist hopes his Scandinavian homeland will better understand Israel's difficult position.

WZO delegation in Swedish parliament
WZO delegation in Swedish parliament
World Zionist Organization
At first blush, Lars Adaktusson hardly seems like a likely Israel supporter. A former journalist and Swedish politician serving as a Member of the European Parliament, Adaktusson’s curriculum vitae make him unique among Israel’s defenders abroad.

Indeed, Adaktusson, a member of the Christian Democrats, often finds himself at odds with his own government, particularly on the issue of Israel.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, has earned a reputation for her harsh criticism of Israel and often baseless claims. In December, for example, Wallstrom suggested that Israel was systematically “executing” Arab terrorists. Earlier last year, Wallstrom blamed the Paris terror attacks in November on “Palestinian frustration” with Israel.

Speaking to Yediot Ahronot on Tuesday, Adaktusson offered his view on why so many in Sweden – and Europe generally – have such a dim view of the Jewish state.

“It’s [part] of a long process,” he said. “We’ve had a problem with biased media reports, and we have a strong leftist movement – both in the Social Democrats Party and in other leftist parties – whose hostility towards Israel is very strong. We need to deal with this basic hostility in Sweden, and it’s a problem.”

Adaktusson expressed hope that as Europeans struggle with the rising threat of terrorism at home, they will be better able to understand the difficulties Israelis face every day.

“I hope that people understand what Israel has to deal with – the stabbings, the various continuing attacks by Hamas. The facts speak for themselves.”

Regarding the future of relations between Israel and the European Union, however, Adaktusson argued that both sides had room for improvement.

“As far as diplomatic relations, we’re talking about something that’s two-sided. We need to be more open to and more willing to have good relations with Israel on a variety of levels, and to strengthen our ties and relations [between us]. But that also will require from the Israeli side a willingness to listen to Europe and also listen to criticism.”

David Rosenberg


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