Newspaper 1:

Israel summons Swedish envoy over NATO drill, visas for Hamas

Foreign Ministry Director-General Ron Prosor on Thursday summoned Swedish Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg to clarify Stockholm’s decision to withdraw from a NATO international air force exercise because of Israel’s participation, as well as reports that the Scandinavian country was planning to grant visas to two Hamas representatives.

Sweden called off its participation in the air force exercises to take place in Italy next month because of the involvement of the Israel Air Force in the drills.

Prosor told Rydberg that those who do not see Israel as a legitimate peacekeeping force could not be surprised that Israel does not view them as having legitimate involvement in the Middle East peace process.

He told the ambassador that Israel had received reports that Sweden intended to be the first European state to grant visas to Hamas officials, which would be seen as bestowing legitimacy on a terrorist organization.

“We do make a connection between these two events and are concerned with Sweden’s positions on them,” the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm said in a statement.

Rydberg said in response that the Hamas officials had requested visas, but that they had not been granted in any event. He said that even if the visas were issued, the Hamas representatives would not meet with Swedish dignitaries in an official capacity.

Regarding the NATO drill, Rydberg said that Sweden had “technical and financial” reasons for dropping out of the exercise, and pointed out that Israel and Sweden had never participated in the same peacekeeping exercise.

Prosor replied that the envoy’s remarks were “insulting and unacceptable.”

Sweden was supposed to send nine aircraft to Italy for Volcanex 2006. According to a Swedish military source, the decision was made in response to Israel’s lack of participation in peacekeeping missions, a prerequisite for this particular drill.

While not mentioning Israel by name, Swedish Defense Minister Leni Bjorklund said that her country was withdrawing because “the Swedish Armed Forces were notified at a late stage that a state not belonging to the Partnership for Peace, and with which Sweden did not previously have bilateral military cooperation and which does not take part in international peacekeeping missions, was to take part in the air exercise.”

“The Government has given and gives the Swedish Armed Forces permission to carry out a number of different military exercises. This permission is applicable as long as there is no significant change in the conditions for the exercise. In the cases of the Volcanex and Spring Flag air exercises in Italy, international peacekeeping missions were the exercise scenario,” added Bjorklund.

A Swedish Foreign Ministry official said, “The point of the operation is to prepare for international cooperation in preserving world peace. The participation of the Israeli air force changes the prerequisites of the drill.”

Israeli officials have responded harshly to the decision.

One government source said, “The lack of sympathy for Israel in Sweden is out of proportion. Some government ministers spearhead the most anti-Israel approach in all of Europe, and particularly in Scandinavia. In meetings between senior Israelis and Swedish ministers, the Swedes refuse to listen to Israel’s positions.”

National Religious Party Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev, called Sweden’s decision anti-Semitic, saying, “Just a day after the commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, an enlightened nation has risen and surrendered to the Islamic axis of evil.”


Newspaper 2:

Sweden called to explain Hamas visas

Sweden’s Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday to explain his government’s decision to grant visas allowing Hamas leaders to enter Sweden.

Rydberg said that the visas had not yet been issued, but did not exclude that event from happening. He said that there would be no meetings between the Hamas members and Swedish officials.

The two officials also discussed Sweden’s decision, announced on Wednesday, to withdraw from an international air force exercise upon learning that Israel was also due to participate. He provided mostly technical and financial explanations for Sweden’s withdrawal from the military exercise.

Foreign Ministry Dir.-Gen. Ron Prossor reportedly rejected Rydberg’s explanations, saying that Stockholm’s decision effectively legitimizes terrorism, and that one cannot make a distinction between a terrorist organization and its members.

In explaining Stockholm’s stance, the spokesman of the Swedish Foreign Ministry said that the aim of the drill was to prepare for future cooperation in international peacekeeping operations, but added that “the participation of the Israeli Air Force has changed the prerequisites of the exercise.”

Sweden’s Defense Minister Leni Bjorklund explained that Sweden pulled out because a state “that does not participate in international peacekeeping missions” would be part of the exercise, but did not mention Israel by name

The Foreign Ministry director-general told Rydberg that Sweden’s rejection of Israel contributed to a general anti-Israel attitude worldwide.

Prossor asserted that whoever disqualifies Israel disqualifies himself from any role in the Middle Eastern peace process.

A senior Israeli official claimed that Sweden was the country that is most hostile towards Israel. As such, he suggested that Israel should stop purchasing Swedish-made Volvos for its ministers.

In an interview to Israel Radio, former foreign minister Silvan Shalom mentioned that all the Scandinavian countries have had a problematic attitude towards Israel for some time. He noted that the Left in Sweden was more radical than in other countries, causing it to adopt a more pro-Palestinian attitude.

Shalom recalled that Sweden was one of the last Western nations to label Hamas a terrorist organization.

About the author



  • And the point is…

    That the JPost is a rag 🙂 well suited for wrapping fish n chips!

    Heres what KABOBfest had to say:

    According to Ha’aretz (Censored), Sweden thinks Israel sucks. I couldn’t agree more. Below is my educated analysis of the issue…

    Sweden called off its participation in Volcanex 2006, an international air force exercise to take place in Italy next month, because of a certain apartheid state’s involvement in the drills. According to senior officials in Stockholm:

    Israel is not currently acting in the name of peace, and therefore, it should not take part in the demonstration.
    Bu-bu-bu-but wait – it gets worse! A Swedish Foreign Ministry official with extra large kahones added:

    The point of the operation is to prepare for international cooperation in preserving world peace. The participation of the Israeli Air Force changes the prerequisites of the drill.
    Oh snap! No he didn’t girlfriend? Oh yeah he did!


  • OH.MY.GOD!

    I love that site! They are like the Muslim Jewlicious with a heavy Palestinian slant. We should do cross-posting with them and, like, argue with them instead of with each other. 😆

  • By the way, Yonah, did you notice the link I provided in your Penn post? They are allowing the exhibition to go forward.

  • mmm… the swedish are right, I think that when Sweden will try to snick to the next “war keeping forces drill” we will do the same…

  • Hey guys, I’ve been reading this blog for some time and I basically limit my blog intake in these daily forms:

    Jewlicious – Jewish news perspective from Israel and the Diaspora from a mid to left of center political perspective (please let me know if I am wrong as this post about Ha’aretz reinforced my assumption)

    Israelforum – Some debate with Neo Nazis and haters that drop by as well as read Mediocrates brilliant quips.

    LittleGreenFootballs – for right of center commentary of the War on Terror.

    And now, Kaboomfest – to elevate my blood pressure and combat the sometimes openly anti-Semitic themes that run through the site. I post there as well under assumed name too.

    This morning I noticed a couple of you guys dropped in (thankfully), however, I was pretty shocked by TheMiddle’s comment where he said “I love the site. Seriously.

    I’d just like to point out that it is dangerous to compare Kaboobfest to Jewlicious as I think the views espoused here are a lot more tolerant and less biased than some of the trash posts there. I don’t deny Palestinians have many valid claims (and I love to debate these with my Palestinian friends face to face), but I think the overwhelming attitude at Kabombfest is very smug, hateful, and disrespectful of Israel’s, Israeli’s, and our (Diaspora) history, claims, and opinions. I find very openly or implied anti-Semitic posts there every day (such as reiterating many old canards and myths about Jewish conspiracies) and I think it diminishes the (perceived) objective content of this blog by comparing Kaboobfest to it. That’s just my two cents. But thanks for listening.

  • Also, I forgot to mention. I don’t link to that site in order not to elevate their PageRank and draw even more haters there. I think as Jews, sometimes, we are a lot more tolerant of our enemies opinions than they are to ours (obviously). I don’t think promoting that site and its propaganda serves anyone’s cause. If they were willing to be a bit more objective over there, I’d change my tune, but as I’ve posted there once before (to this effect):

    “I came to Kaboobfest looking for peace, I’ve left determined on war.” Figuratively of course. That site isn’t about discussion, it’s about trashing the image of Israel and Zionism outright.

  • Minus, I am not afraid to debate with these folks from Kaboomfest. By posting that I like them, I doubt I’m giving their work any sort of certification. The people who go there with one mind-set will leave with the same. The people who go there confused, will not be swayed just because they use certain propaganda-oriented language. In fact, they don’t say or write things that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

    It is critical that people who support Israel see what the sophisticated pro-Palestinians say, because this stuff drives a good deal of the various anti-Israel movements around the world. It ends up affecting academia and diplomacy, as we have seen. On that site, however, they post their content and are game enough to allow people to come in and challenge them. If you can’t challenge them and hold up your side of the discussion, then they may be right. And we need to recognize that there are such issues. Right now, for example, they have a post similar to one I was going to write, where Israel has decided not to prosecute for murder a man who was accused of the murder of an Israeli Minister and who was captured after Israel went in and took him out of his Palestinian prison. They justified this action, and so did I, by the way, by proclaiming that he masterminded the murder for which they will not prosecute. The post on kaboomfest that mocks this, does so rightly.

    Admittedly, I only read about 7 or 8 posts before concluding that I truly enjoyed their site, so there may be many other posts I’ve missed where they show antisemitic colors. I don’t know and you are welcome to enlighten me on this point. However, while I strongly disagreed with their views, they were presented intelligently and with humor. I’d rather debate that type of commentary than the hateful crap we see all over the Internet where there is no sense of respect towards Israel or Jews. That was not the impression I received from their posts. Again, you can disabuse me of that perception if you know different.

    At the end of the day, whatever their feelings, or those of the Palestinians in general, we will sit with them and talk. When we talk, we will discuss these many issues on which we diverge. People who do it as they do are the ones I want in the dialogue, because some of their counterparts are not capable of doing so. In fact, some of their counterparts on the Left, including Jews, are not capable of doing so. I stopped posting at one Jewish lefty site recently because I kept providing documented evidence and the only response I kept getting was “this is propaganda.”

    I will also add that there is a difference between posts and comments. If a post is offensive, the author is responsible for its contents. However, comments come from all corners and on that site as on this one, anonymous people may comment. You get all kinds of stuff for which you are not responsible. Somebody posted a poem about Muslims here the other day that I found to be abhorrent. If they had written something similar about Jews, I would have considered it antisemitic. I said as much, but it was kept up probably because those voices exist out there and sweeping them under the rug isn’t too helpful or enlightening. Are you attributing the voices in their comments to their posts?

    I hope that explains things somewhat. If their site is about trashing Israel and Zionism, let them know they are wrong. Every time you do so, you also force them to confront the fact that their position may be wrong.

  • One more thing just occurred to me. I don’t want anybody to dehumanize me because I’m a Jew or support Israel or am a Zionist. I do believe that I should be sure to offer the same respect to those who are able to communicate about these matters intelligently on the other side. If you notice, the Hamas guys don’t get treated too respectfully by us, but if somebody is willing to engage in dialogue, I am happy to engage them and I think the key is for there to be mutual respect.

  • Thanks for the quick response, and while I agree with many of your points, I am convinced that our level of tolerance and open-mindedness, while altruistic and selfless as it seems, is more of a liability than an advantage. As I look across the political blogosphere and forums, I see us with an “olive branch in one hand and a sword in the other” while I see our counterparts with only swords.

    Maybe its just me, but in the last 6 years of my involvement, I’ve seen it bears no fruit. I am convinced that there will always be plenty of Jews ready to jump to the defense of our enemies in the spirit of political correctness, multiculturalism, and even tikkun olam (yes, I could barely make it through that blog without thinking about walking into some Muslim gathering in Dearborn, handing someone a chain and asking to be flogged for being a Zionist :)) – heck, I was one of them – but even fewer Jews that realize that it won’t make a difference how much we empathize, help, or support their cause, they’ll demand more, and hate us just the same. Now, I’m not prepared to align myself with any far right movement or anything of the sort, but I think I am being a realist when I say, “Their plight does not concern me, there are plenty of them and leftist Jews that fight each day for their plight. My only concern is our plight, or success, and our culture. No, I’m not objective. I support our struggle only, because there are far fewer of us who do, and even fewer of them willing to transcend the lines to jump to our defense.”

    And my point wasn’t to dissuade you from posting over there. I appreciate the help quite frankly. I encourage debate and even more so, debunking the many fallacies and half-truths that are published there each day. I just didn’t like the comparison of their blog to this one (which judging from the comments here, goes far and beyond avoiding to blatantly insult the other “team”), nor do I think we need to help them market their site to the legions of radical Chompski’ites looking for even more ammo by directly linking to, bookmarking, or tracking back, etc. That’s all I was saying. But thank you greatly for the conversation! Good Shabbos!

  • Comment #10. I completely agree. My point is that the Kaboomfest site lacks mutual respect, while this site does not. That is the key to my displeasure with the comparison.

  • How about we leave it at this, Minus: Jewlicious is a terrific site and it’s hard to compare other sites. 😉

    Shabbat shalom.

  • TM, I must say you have been doing an excellent job posting over there though!