Israel slams Sweden for invoking Palestinian plight while discussing Paris attacks
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'The vile manner in which she links the attacks in France and Israel is no less than a blood libel'

Israel slams Sweden for invoking Palestinian plight while discussing Paris attacks

Foreign Ministry says FM Margot Wallström is ‘systematically’ biased in her views and ‘deceiving’ herself and the public

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom gives a statement to the media in Stockholm, Sweden, on the Paris terrorist attacks, on November 14, 2015. (AFP/TT News Agency/Henrik Montgomery)
Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom gives a statement to the media in Stockholm, Sweden, on the Paris terrorist attacks, on November 14, 2015. (AFP/TT News Agency/Henrik Montgomery)

Israel on Monday excoriated the Swedish foreign minister for linking Palestinian frustration to Friday’s attacks on Paris by Islamic State.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem called Margot Wallström’s comments “shockingly brazen,” and said it had summoned the Swedish ambassador for a dressing-down.

“To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East in which not at the least the Palestinians sees that there is no future; we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence,” Wallström told Swedish television.

The Swedish Embassy denied that Wallström “said that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is linked to tragic events in Paris.”

“Sweden condemns all acts of terrorism,” the embassy said in a statement.

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But Jerusalem said Wallström’s comments were part of a “systematic bias” against the Jewish state.

“The Swedish foreign minister is systematically biased against Israel and displays outright hostility by pointing to any link between the terror attacks in Paris and the difficulties between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Wallström made the comment shortly after the November 13 attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State terrorist organization.

The Foreign Ministry said that the Swedish ambassador to Israel had been summoned for a clarification with the ministry’s director general, Dore Gold.

In an earlier statement, the Foreign Ministry blasted the “senseless attempt to create a link” between the attacks and Israel, saying such rhetoric is not only self-deceptive, but “also deceives the international public.”

“It would seem that the Swedish foreign minister is afflicted with total political blindness,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel on Monday. “This blindness may lead to tragedy.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said, “The statements by the Swedish foreign minister are borderline anti-Semitism. The vile manner in which she links the attacks in France and Israel is no less than a blood libel.”

The Swedish minister’s controversial statement was first reported by David Metzler, an American-born Swede living in Israel, who called it “foolish and irresponsible at best,” in a Times of Israel blog post.

In her official response to the terror assaults, posted Saturday to the Swedish Foreign Ministry website, Wallström condemned Friday’s “despicable” attacks, calling them acts of terrorism that target democracy and open societies. “They must and will be met with resolve; terrorism must be opposed and those responsible must be called to account.”

She also spoke of the “need to tackle the underlying causes of terrorism,” arguing for a “long-term approach” and for the strengthening of international efforts against extremism and fanaticism. “Together we must stand up for democracy and for humanistic values,” she concluded.

On October 30, 2014, Sweden became the first Western European nations to formally recognize the “State of Palestine,” drawing an angry Israeli response.

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