January 13, 2016
H.E. Stefan Löfven
Prime Minister of Sweden
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We write to express our concern at recent events which we fear are damaging the perception of Sweden among the American Jewish community.
For Jews around the world, Sweden has long been hailed as a place of refuge for Danish Jewry and many Norwegian Jews during World War II, the country of Raoul Wallenberg, and a pioneer in Holocaust education. The sad reality is that today, Sweden is more known for Malmo’s Jews fleeing anti-Semitism, for blood libels and comparisons of Israel to the Nazis in its newspapers, for counterproductive recognition of Palestine as a state, and increasingly for Foreign Minister Margot Wallström’s offensive statements on Israel.
Most recently, her call for investigations of Israeli soldiers who fight Palestinian terrorists belies either ignorance of Israel’s commitment to the rule of law or disdain for it, neither of which should be acceptable for a serious Middle East policy. The Israel Defense Forces have a robust mechanism to review complaints which is both outside the chain of command and subject to civilian oversight. Detailed information is available in the article, “Israel's Investigation of Alleged Violations of the Law of Armed Conflict” on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Additionally, her statement appeared to minimize or dismiss the serious security situation confronting every single Israeli resident – Jewish and Arab – who is under threat of being stabbed, shot, or rammed while going about their daily business. Surely if such attacks were occurring with regularity on the streets of Stockholm, there would be a comprehensive effort to ensure the security of city streets and to stop the perpetrators from carrying out their attacks.
We take no pleasure in the growing perception of Sweden as a country with unfriendly policies for Jews and the Jewish State. We urge you to ensure that official Swedish statements demonstrate respect for, and knowledge of, Israel’s proven commitment to the rule of law, support for its security challenges, even as it faces armed threats on a scale which Sweden is fortunate not to know.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director