Press Release

ADL to Swedish Prime Minister: Ensure Gov’t Officials Demonstrate Respect for Israel’s Legitimate Security Challenges

New York, NY, January 14, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to ensure that government officials demonstrate respect for Israel’s commitment to the rule of law and understanding of its complex security challenges.

ADL voiced concern in the wake of comments by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, who called for an investigation to determine whether Israel conducts extrajudicial executions of Palestinian terrorists.

In a letter to Prime Minister Löfven, ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said the League takes “no pleasure” in the growing perception of Sweden as a country with unfriendly policies for Jews and Israel.

“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,” Mr. Greenblatt wrote. “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.”

Mr. Greenblatt added, “Swedish government officials should take the time to educate themselves about legitimate Israeli defense against terrorists. Sweden, which served as a place of refuge for Danish and Norwegian Jews during World War II, now has a reputation as a place where Jews are fleeing from due to anti-Semitism, specifically in Malmo. Swedish media further inflame both anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitism with comparisons of Israel to Nazis and blood libels.”

In October 2014, ADL referred to Sweden’s decision to recognize a state of Palestine as “unwise, untimely, unhelpful and unserious” and reiterated that such a move does not foster or promote any type of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.