Swedish state TV ties Trump’s Jerusalem recognition to ‘Jewish lobby’

Public broadcaster apologizes for show asserting lobby ‘incredibly strong,’ after viewers complained it was anti-Semitic

US President Donald Trump delivers a statement on Jerusalem as US Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2017. (Madel Ngan/AFP)
US President Donald Trump delivers a statement on Jerusalem as US Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2017. (Madel Ngan/AFP)

Sweden’s main public broadcaster apologized for an article that tied US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to the strength of the “Jewish Lobby.”

In a broadcast Wednesday immediately following Trump’s address regarding Jerusalem, the broadcaster SVT asserted that the “Jewish Lobby in the US is incredibly strong,” and said the lobby “has championed this issue for a long time.”

“It was an unfortunate choice of words that immediately was corrected by our senior news commentator,” Charlotta Friborg, executive editor and publisher SVT News, told JTA in an email.

Viewers had complained online that the assertion promoted anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish control over US foreign policy.

Separately, leaders of Dutch Jewry complained about their state broadcaster’s editorial choices in covering an assault on a kosher restaurant.

The exterior of the HaCarmel restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Google Maps)

The NOS broadcaster placed a picture of Jerusalem on its website accompanying its report about the attack, in which a 29-year-old man waving a Palestinian flag smashed multiple windows of the HaCarmel restaurant in southern Amsterdam on Thursday.

NOS accompanied the article with a photo of the Israeli and American flags projected on the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem but removed the picture following complaints.

“There were plenty of images from the anti-Semitic attack,” which was filmed in its entirety, tweeted Paul van der Bas, the chairman of the CIJO youth organization of the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI. “But NOS uses a photo of Jerusalem. Why so suggestive?”

The criticism of NOS over the Jerusalem image follows earlier rebukes of the broadcaster by CIDI over its use of a picture showing a dead Syrian child in an article about an air strike on a military target in Syria last week that international media attributed to Israel.

NOS removed the picture following a protest by CIDI, which on Tuesday wrote on Twitter: “Fake News at NOS. A photo of a wounded/slain child in an article [about an incident] without civilian casualties.”

On November 9, during a speech about the Kristallnacht pogroms of 1938, Ron van der Wieken, the director of the Central Jewish Organization on the Netherlands, accused some Dutch media, which he did not name, of “mobilizing support” for terrorist groups that seek Israel’s physical destruction.

“The ceaseless Israel-bashing that goes on in some Dutch media, as well as one national quality newspaper, is so persistent, so one-sided and selective that it must draw from a basic enmity to the idea of a national Jewish home,” he said.

Earlier this year, Israel refused on technical terms to extend the work permit of a reporter for NRC Handelsblad, a newspaper with national distribution that is considered a quality publication.

In January, the newspaper refused to correct an assertion in one of its articles that said “almost all the Arabs were driven out of Haifa” in 1948, the year of Israel’s independence, despite testimonies that they left despite pleas for them to stay by the mayor.

In 2016, an article by the same reporter about Hebron said Israeli soldiers “shot dead five Palestinians” in the city without mentioning the Israeli army’s claims that the Palestinians in question were shot while trying to stab Israelis. NRC refused requests for a correction.

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