The Sweden Democrats, a right-wing populist party, submitted a draft motion urging their government to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital.
Bjorn Soder, a former leader and current lawmaker for the Sweden Democrats, submitted the draft motion to the Riksdag, or parliament, on Thursday. It would be read as a nonbinding resolution.
“The Riksdag stands behind what is stated in the motion to formally acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announces this to the government,” the draft resolution reads. “The Riksdag stands behind what is stated in the motion and supports moving Sweden’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and announcing this to the government.”
Sweden’s Sept. 9 election left the center-left bloc, whose policy on Israel was one of the most hostile in the European Union, with just one seat more than the center-right Alliance, with the Sweden Democrats as the third biggest group.
Subsequently, the Social Democrat former prime minister Stefan Lofven ended his term amid attempts to set up a governing coalition.
Amid popular discontent over Sweden’s far-reaching immigration policy and relative openness to immigrants from Muslim countries, the anti-Islam Sweden Democrats dramatically increased their share of the vote, clinching about 18 percent compared to 12.9% in the previous election.
Whereas it has maintained a favorable attitude toward Israel, the party has a long and problematic record vis-à-vis members’ attitudes to Jews. Ahead of the elections, regional politicians from Sweden Democrats were caught making anti-Semitic statements online, including using a picture of Anne Frank to mock Holocaust victims.
Per Olsson, who represents the party on the City Council of Oskarshamn, a coastal Swedish city, earlier this year posted a picture of Frank captioned “coolest Jew in the shower room” on the Russian social network VKontakt, the Expressen daily reported Friday.
Raghu Jacobsen, who represents the party on the City Council of Stenungsund in western Sweden, wrote on Twitter: “As long as Rothschild controls the economy and with the modern slavery on this planet, there will be anti-Semitism. #Jews #israel,”
Martin Sihlén, representing the Sweden Democrats in Örkelljunga, in Sweden’s south, wrote on Facebook that “Hitler wasn’t so bad” and he “did not lie about Jews.” He also wrote that “international Jewry is thirsting for destroying Europe. It was ultimately not Germany who started the Second World War, it was the Jews.”