Swedish radio apologizes for Jews’ responsibility question
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Swedish radio apologizes for Jews’ responsibility question

Public radio presenter asked Israeli ambassador whether Jews are responsible for advancing anti-Semitism

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, third left, and Jewish community leaders pay their respect outside the synagogue Krystalgade in Copenhagen, on February 15, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/Odd Andersen)
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, third left, and Jewish community leaders pay their respect outside the synagogue Krystalgade in Copenhagen, on February 15, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/Odd Andersen)

Swedish public radio apologized on Tuesday after a presenter questioned the Israeli ambassador about the responsibility of Jews for anti-Semitism, in the wake of the shooting of a Jewish man in neighboring Denmark.

Relations between Israel and Sweden are already strained over the Swedish parliament’s decision last year to formally recognize the Palestinian state.

On Tuesday, a journalist for Sveriges Radio (SR) asked ambassador Isaac Bachman on air: “Are Jews themselves responsible for the progression of anti-Semitism?”

The ambassador appeared shocked by the suggestion, and replied: “I purely and simply reject the question.”

When the journalist asked “Why?”, Bachman said: “There was no reason to ask this question.”

The station removed the program from its online archive and issued a full apology.

“We offer our fullest apologies for this question. It was misleading and put blame on individuals and on a vilified group,” SR’s senior management said in a statement on its website.

“The Jewish community has suffered a horrible act of terror and has all our sympathy,” the statement added.

Omar El-Hussein, a 22-year-old Dane whose Palestinian parents moved to Denmark, shot dead a filmmaker in Copenhagen on Saturday before killing Dan Uzan, a Jewish man who volunteered as a guard at the city’s main synagogue.

When Sweden became the first EU country to recognize the state of Palestine in October, Israel recalled its ambassador for a month in protest.

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