27
Aug
09

On air: Should Sweden apologise to Israel ?

lieberman
“It is regrettable that the Swedish foreign ministry does not intervene when it comes to a blood libel against Jews, [This] reminds one of Sweden’s conduct during World War II, when it also did not intervene.”  – Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman.

reinfeldt
“No one can ask the Swedish government to violate its own constitution. Freedom of speech is an inalienable part of Swedish society”

Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt.

The Swedish newspaper AFTONBLADET has published an article which claims that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians to sell their organs.

Totally untrue, unsubstantiated hate speech , says this piece in the Jerusalem Post – an open letter to the people of Sweden.

Double standard, says this blogger, citing the Swedish Government’s reaction to the Danish cartoons.

netanyahuIsraeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is also angry :

 “We are not expecting an apology – we expect condemnation.”

 

And a lawyer launches a 7.5 million dollar lawsuit against the paper, while boycotts of Swedish goods and companies are being called for.

carl bildtThe Swedish FM Carl Bildt says that anti-semitism is :

” the only issue on which there has ever been complete unity in the Swedish parliament”.

But he says freedom of expression is enshrined in the Swedish contitution.

There are no plans for an apology, freedoms ; of speech and the press are being cited.

But should they think again ? Does any government have the right to demand an apology from a private company – in another country  ?


96 Responses to “On air: Should Sweden apologise to Israel ?”


  1. 1 steve
    August 27, 2009 at 15:26

    I believe in the freedom of speech, however if it’s untrue, you can sue for defamation. Hence, that is a limit on free speech, though people shouldn’t be prevented from saying what they have to say, there might be legal consequences afterwards though.

  2. 2 Suresh in New Jersey
    August 27, 2009 at 15:30

    The Jewish people have suffered enough persecution and calumny to last centuries. While I respect the paper’s right to freedom of speech, they cannot transgress into libel without consequences.

    I dont see how the Swedish government can apologize for a private party in their country. But they can most certainly put into motion legal proceedings against the newspaper, much like a suo moto filed Public Interest Litigation. The case will be heard on its merits and the newspapers editorial board should be punished accordingly. They should also be forced to retract the article and publish an apology by the courts.

  3. 3 Jennifer
    August 27, 2009 at 15:33

    Yes; Sweden should apologize. The Aftonbladet should apologize to Israel and to their readers who they tried to forcefeed their agenda with blatant lies.

    I recall a very wise woman once giving the media some good advice: quit making stuff up! Take it to heart because people will find out when you lie. Then you will loose your credibility.

    This Jews harvesting Palestinians organs story is further chipping away at the Jews’ rights to their homeland by portraying them as “killers” of the Palestinians and their freedoms. This time they’ve just taken it to extremes. Sure, have freedom of speech; but you are still a num num.

    • 4 Roseann In Houston
      August 28, 2009 at 16:00

      “A very wise woman”…thank you, you have identified yourself as someone whose opinion has absolutely no value to me. Sarah Palin (the person you quoted” is anything but a wise woman and her politics are so extreme and illogical that I now watch her only to get a good laugh.

      • 5 Chrissy in Portland
        August 28, 2009 at 19:02

        I couldn’t agree more with your comment about sarah palin and her politics!

      • 6 STEPHEN /PORTLAND
        August 28, 2009 at 19:23

        Here- Here.. She is a Wise women!

        And it was nice to hear from those Joe six packs in that Country of Africa in Europe today.

    • 7 Sam
      August 28, 2009 at 16:39

      Aftonbladet should apologise if their stories are not true i.e. if their investigations are not really conclusive, but Sweden should be left out of the issue. That a citizen or group makes a comment does not mean that the whole country should take responsibility.

    • August 31, 2009 at 00:08

      Sarah Palin ? wise?? Remember the Katie Couric interview??? Oh you are funny.

  4. 9 Roberto
    August 27, 2009 at 15:48

    RE “” But should they think again ? “”
    ———————————————————————-

    ———- Everyone should think again, and then try thinking honestly, but too few will, regrettably.

    It’s a lack of honesty in the media and political process that causes these spats, gaffes, and otherwise vicious little embarrassments to the human record.

    Illicit/illegal organ rustling is a direct result of modern medical technology being used by modern health care industry to make big money. Anywhere young healthy people will be dying needlessly, healthcare “professionals” will be found like pickpockets and thieves in the night to make off with the gory booty.

    So no surprises when some ambitious politico or reporter can create a sensation by using these modern human transgressions as fodder to make a name for themselves as they further besmirch the human record of integrity.

    Wars have always been well attended by human vultures., the sort of nastiness that gets glossed over in the history books.

  5. 10 Nelson Isibor
    August 27, 2009 at 15:49

    No. Since Isreal is so aggrieved over the article they could initiate legal proceedings against the publishers of the contentious article but asking Sweden to apologise is a step taken too far. If any apology is to be issued, it should come from the publishers- if it is eventually proven that the article was libelous/dafamatory.

  6. 11 patti in cape coral
    August 27, 2009 at 15:54

    I agree with Nelson Isibor.

  7. 12 Michael in Ft. Myers, Florida
    August 27, 2009 at 15:55

    OK, so a “tabloid” paper reports something which is offensive about actions supposedly taken by soldiers. First of all, this was a statement about just that, soldier’s actions, NOT a Jewish plot. (Have we forgotten that Isreal is supposed to be a secular state where one person’s actions or words do not speak on behalf of all Jews?) That is the difference between what their reactions to the Danish cartoon was and to this issue. The Danish cartoon was intentionally offending an entire religion. At best the paper should either apologize or offer up concrete proof of such atrocities, but saying that the Government should apologize is as sensible as asking the American government to apologize every time a tabloid paper prints lies that offend someone.

  8. 13 gary
    August 27, 2009 at 16:13

    Has Israel been slandered again? Maybe, I have no way of knowing for sure. However, I do know it is best to avoid behaviors that make such slanders plausible.
    g

  9. 14 steve
    August 27, 2009 at 16:19

    @ Michael

    Lots of jews in years past have been killed because of the blood liberal, I dought many muslims have been killed over drawings of mohammed. There’s quite a large differece in the scenarios.

    • 15 Michael in Ft. Myers, Florida
      August 27, 2009 at 17:04

      My point remains the same. This was NOT a statement put out by the Sweedish government, so why should it apologize for the actions of a privately held company? I’m sorry, but Isreal has been mollycoddled for far too long, and just like any person of adult should have learned, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it! Have you ever been to Isreal, and listened to the absolute hate speach used daily by officials of Isreal against anything non-Jewish? I have and it is nothing nearly as mild as what some tabloid rag prints!

  10. 16 Tom K in Mpls
    August 27, 2009 at 17:16

    If the situation is so weak that the most Israel can reasonably do is request an apology, why is this a topic?

  11. 17 steve
    August 27, 2009 at 17:22

    I meant Libel, not liberal. Sorry. Wasn’t even a freudian slip, I swear.

  12. 18 VictorK
    August 27, 2009 at 17:49

    No. The Israelis are as adept as the Muslims in using hysteria and moral outrage as a bullying tactic. The Swedes should stand firm.

    Free speech, qualified by the laws re defamation and incitment to violence, is too important to be sacrificed in this way.

    Re Lieberman’s comment on Sweden and WWII: and this man’s a diplomat? Is it any wonder that Israel has so few friends in the world?

    It’s hard facts like the continued dispossession of Palestinian families that makes for anti-Israeli & anti-Jewish sentiment, not dubious tales about organ-driven killings
    http://aljazeera.com/news/articles/39/Palestinian_family_denied_even_half_a_house.html
    …a much more significant issue than a tabloid newspaper row.

  13. 19 viola
    August 27, 2009 at 18:05

    As far as I know, nobody expects the Swedish government to close down the offending rag, just condemn irresponsible, hate-mongering journalism. That would not be quelling free speech.

  14. 20 Keith- Ohio
    August 27, 2009 at 18:14

    Umm.. I would actually say the Danish cartoon is MORE an example of freedom of speech. This report, on the other hand, is blatant libel, in every sense of the word!

    Libel is not covered under freedom of speech in most countries. This “report” is intended to hurt and defame, and should not go unpunished by some level of government.

    However, for Israel to expect an apology from the Swedish federal government for the actions of a private institution is silly and unreasonable.

  15. 21 T
    August 27, 2009 at 18:19

    No. While Israel has a right to exist, that doesn’t give them the right to instantly say anit-semite when you dare to criticize them. Stateside politicians and the MSM are terrified of Israel and AIPAC. But at least some countries have the guts to not be.

  16. 22 Tom D Ford
    August 27, 2009 at 18:32

    Israel does not have the moral standing to demand an apology from anyone, until after they apologize to the Palestinians and return their lands, homes, and olive groves.

    And Sweden need not apologize for outrageous tabloid articles.

    • 23 seaAdamwestiii
      August 28, 2009 at 19:11

      I agree with Tom Ford. Apparently the journalist interviewed a number of people and that was the basis of his story. Sweden should only apologize after a thorough investigation has been completed and if the information is not true, then the Swedish government should apologize. Furthermore, if a thorough investigation is borne out then we might even learn more!

      who are the people involved in the Organ sale scandal in New Jersey?

  17. 24 anu_D
    August 27, 2009 at 18:35

    I am with Netanyahu…..Sweden should condemn the comments and not necessarily apologise….. to avoid the comments being seen as having state’s endorsement

    • August 31, 2009 at 10:12

      Anu_D, for Netanyahu to ask Sweden to apologise, he must expect Sweden to believe that Israeli soldiers are incapable of committing any crime. How can Sweden have blind faith in Israeli soldiers or in anyone. If Israel has such faith in its own soldiers, it is open to Israel to use the Swedish legal system and sue the paper. Swedish state cannot vouch for the truthfulness of reports in any of the papers published in Sweden. Netanyahu is playing politics.

      • 26 anu_D
        August 31, 2009 at 14:38

        Krish…Please re-read my comment and thr original blog from WHYS team.
        Netanyahu is expecting a condemnation of the issue and not an apology from Sweden…..whihc is the part of Netanyahu that I am with

  18. August 27, 2009 at 19:02

    No, Sweden should not apolize. If anyone, then the newspaper and only if the alegations against the Israelis are without any backed information.

  19. 28 Sharafadeen A. (Sokoto)
    August 27, 2009 at 19:47

    When anything is said against the Isreali state (or Jewish race) it is termed it as “anti-semitism” as if they are the only semitic race. When they wrong anyone or race they behave as if they are above every other race of the world, but when they are wronged they will shout fowl.

  20. 29 steve
    August 27, 2009 at 20:00

    @ Sharafadeen

    Becuase if something is baseless and is untrue, it’s called defamation. It would be like if someone accused you of being a rapist, or a pedophile, and it were not true.

  21. 30 Abram
    August 27, 2009 at 21:34

    What a shamful act from the Swedish news paper. Are they doing that because they care about the Palestinians? I wonder whether the Swedish public is waiting to see similar reaction from Jews like thos Muslims who burned Danish embassies and its flag. I am scared of European hypocracy!

  22. 31 Swede
    August 27, 2009 at 21:34

    No. It is however easy to understand the sorrow and anger the article causes, taking into considerations the historical connotations. I believe most of us with the same references can share these feelings.
    But the Swedish government must act in a less emotional way. The government has to deal with a particular case with reference to the limits of governmental action in the Swedish context.
    In the Swedish constutional environment it is a fundamental thing that the responsibility for articles published in a paper solely rests on the paper. The government can never be responsible for such decisions and should never give the impression that it can influence them.
    This is one of the very solid reasons why a Swedish minister never will condemn an article on the request from a foreign government.

  23. 32 viola
    August 27, 2009 at 21:50

    There’s a huge difference between criticism and libel. Criticism is safe under the banner of free speech; libel is not.

  24. 33 deryck/trinidad
    August 27, 2009 at 21:56

    Nelson Isibor
    August 27, 2009 at 15:49

    Fully agree with your statement.

  25. 34 steve
    August 28, 2009 at 01:12

    Netanyahu –
    Why don’t you sue the paper for lible? Are you afraid of what might come out during the trail? You have much evil to answer for, I wonder if organ stealing is another to add to the long and growing list.

  26. 35 Archibald
    August 28, 2009 at 02:10

    Israel needs to take the large chip off of its shoulder and quit whining about hate speech when it continues to pursue policies which are causing the deaths of thousands, solely to dominate a land that is not for anyone to own.
    As wise “Sarah Palin”, (aka. num num), so aptly put it, “stop making stuff up”, Israel, quit blaming everyone else for hatred that you are now fomenting. “Freedom of speech”, is exactly what it says……….

    • 36 Chintan in Houston
      August 28, 2009 at 15:52

      @ Archibald
      I completely agree with you. Too long they have been giving Holocaust as a reason for their suffering. What they have been doing to the poor Palestinian’s is no different form apartheid in South Africa.
      I don’t remember Islamic people or Asian people killing all these Jews. It was the Europeans who did the murders and they were all Christians, so how come at the end of it the penalty was paid by the people in the Middle East?
      If they want an apology sue the newspaper, ask for proof. Curbing freedom of press is absolutely outrageous.

  27. 37 Ben
    August 28, 2009 at 02:14

    Israel comes across as having double-standards quite often. Especially when it comes to war crimes / terrorism / their soldiers’ conduct. They shouldn’t worry about some paper’s story if it doesn’t have any evidence. What they should worry about is their soldiers’ conduct and not demonising the whole Palestinian population in their eyes – or if they didn’t doctrine and brainwash their soldiers like that, would they just see the common humanity in the Palestinian civilians too readily?
    Anyway, there’s greater priorities. If Israel wants respect, it can earn it like anyone else. Then anyone with anti-Semitic views will look far more ridiculous in the first place.
    Of course, it’s far easier to shoot the messenger and think politically instead of compassionately and sensibly.

  28. 38 T
    August 28, 2009 at 02:20

    FYI: In the States, it’s almost illegal to publically crticize Israel. If you do, you can lose your job. In Israel, the opposite is true. There is constant debate with almost no consequences to those involved.

  29. 39 Will, British Columbia
    August 28, 2009 at 02:44

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, although I’m sure that the Israeli government has never said anything offensive and untruthfull or for that matter, taken actions that may have offended other peoples or nations around the world. I have no doubt that in such an unlikely event, the jewish state would step up to the plate, do the right thing and appoligize before the entire world for its mistakes and beg for forgiveness.

    • 40 Chintan in Houston
      August 28, 2009 at 15:56

      @ Will, British Columbia
      They never do say anything offensive, they just drive Palestanian’s out f ftheir homes, bull doze their houses and build Jewsish settlements in the name of natural growth.
      I don’t think they have seen pictures of cities like New York or Hong Kong, if you can’t grow in width you grow in height. Buid skyscrapers, was that so hard to figure out?

      • August 31, 2009 at 10:22

        @Will, British Columbia

        Add to that list of defiance in the face of world opinion recent war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. The world is numb with the atrocities committed by Israel against its Muslim neighbours, stealing their land is the least.

  30. August 28, 2009 at 06:34

    Sweden isn’t responsible for printing the article.

    On the other hand, I don’t believe that publishing an “opinion” that soldiers are harvesting organs is repellent, and worthy of a libel suit.

  31. 43 scmehta
    August 28, 2009 at 07:57

    HOW FUNNY !
    Whatever we enshrine in our constitutions or institutions around the world, is always with the purpose of protecting humane and ethical values, rights and duties and not to flout and hurt the others’ sensitivities; The moment we transgress the decent or reasonable limits, on the pretext of freedom, we become the abusers of the human rights. After all, it’s us who enshrine or enslave or unleash our beliefs as well as whims and fancies.
    All the good human beings know that justice is enshrined in our soul or mind, and we do come to know whenever we flout it; It’s a different matter that we generally and hypocritically ignore our own misdeeds and transgresses into others’ rights and sensitivities/beliefs.

    • 44 scmehta
      August 31, 2009 at 06:14

      Further to my previous mail:———-
      What’s the use of freedom of speech when we don’t speak in favour of justice or in condemnation of injustice and inhuman atrocities.
      Swedes are also human beings and they do know and realize when they need to speak freely and conscientiously; I think it’s their politicians/leaders who need to learn to interpret the meaning of “freedom of speech” in its right and humane perspective; HAVE A HEART PLEASE !!!!!!

  32. 45 VictorK
    August 28, 2009 at 10:05

    Though Israel as a society is infinitely preferable to its neighbours (no great achievement, given the neighbourhood), it’s wrong to think of it as holding standard Western values. No Western state has its identity rooted in religion to the extent that Israel does. In that respect Israel is much more like any other Levantine state than it is like a Western one.

    And consider what was proposed a few months ago in the Knesset
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1088712.html
    The Israeli view of free speech significantly diverges from the Western tradition. There can be no free speech for Arab Israelis under this legislation, and no citizenship either is Lieberman’s party gets its way. [The BBC, btw, needs to be reporting more on this].

    The Swedes should not bow to the demands of a country that deserves to be classed with Iran in this respect, and subordinates free speech to religious fundamentalism.

    • 46 viola
      August 28, 2009 at 16:33

      Comparing Israel to Iran? Iran holds elections not to elect someone but to allow the people to express approval of the real leaders’ choices. We all heard what happened in Iran when the people didn’t want to go along with that weird interpretation of democracy. The comparison is not valid.

  33. 47 Roberto
    August 28, 2009 at 11:01

    RE “” Israel does not have the moral standing to demand an apology from anyone, until after they apologize to the Palestinians and return their lands, homes, and olive groves. “”
    ————————————————————————————————————

    ——— My friend, everything I’ve seen from you undermines your own moral standing to make such demands.

    When the Islamic/Arabic states and Palestinians recognize Israel and return the lands, homes, and olive groves stolen from Jewishrefugees and their heirs who now represent a large number of Israel citizens, perhaps the Palestinian lands, homes, and olive groves can be returned in this hypothetical perfectfully equitable world which currently is nonexistant.

  34. 48 Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    August 28, 2009 at 13:32

    Do newspapers in Sweden set out to publish untruths about anything? Does the Israeli government’s mere denial of the story make the story false? Would Prime |Minister Netanyahu come out and address a press conference to confirm the story were it to be true? Is it not the modus operandi of politicians to deny stories? Does the Isreali governement apologise for every transgression committed by a private company registered in Israel?

    Writing as an African, I can say that countries in Africa have perhaps borne the brunt of misinformation and publication of untruths. To my knowledge few if any have demanded apologies and none has received one. It is true that the Jewish people were the subject of cruel even brutal treatmnt in the past. However, at the expense of being labeled anti-semitic, I should say that the world needs to move forward. There seems to be just too much residual guilt among some people when dealing with matters Israeli leading to there being a different set of rules for Israel and quite another for the rest of the world.

  35. 49 Dennis Junior
    August 28, 2009 at 13:35

    I think that the Swedish state should do the correct and just thing and, apologise to the Israeli…..

    =Dennis Junior=

  36. 50 steve
    August 28, 2009 at 15:01

    @ Will

    What would you think if I wrote an article saying that the canadian government sacrifices children as a method of trying to have more mild winters?

    • 51 Will, British Columbia
      August 30, 2009 at 04:32

      Would that be beside the article about Elvis being alive and working inside a local Kentucky Fried Chicken? As for Canada, we have our share of skeletons in the closet, and I encourage the media to bring them out in the open. Free societies allow for debate and thats where the truth is seperated from fiction with facts; evidence.

  37. August 28, 2009 at 15:22

    Frankly, why bother. Israel can do what it likes, – hence its horiffic policy of usurping the land, rights and voice of Palestinians, but if anyone else so much as says boo, they get charged with being “anti-semitic”. When Israel signs up to the international convention on human rights and abides by it, then and only then will I support demands for respect.

  38. 54 Steve in Boston
    August 28, 2009 at 15:32

    I don’t know how a government can apologize for something it didn’t do. However I agree with Netanyahu that a statement of condemnation should have been issued. The fact that one wasn’t speaks volumes about the Swedes

    Also, I am continually amazed at how some of the most virulent anti-semites cannot correctly spell “Israel,” even those who preposterously claim to have been there. Check out one of the posts above for a perfect example.

  39. 55 patti in cape coral
    August 28, 2009 at 15:33

    I don’t know about Will, but I would laugh hysterically.

  40. 56 Justin from Iowa
    August 28, 2009 at 15:42

    I haven’t heard much on this story, but is it true or not? Its only libel if its untrue. Israel has certainly proved that it can be every bit as disregardful of other people’s as other people’s have been to them in recent years, and its not impossible for bad apples to spring up and do terrible things without the knowledge or approval of the state – the USA has had its own bad apples in its armed services. If people have a tendency to believe stories like this, well, its not always just anti-semitism. You are percieved by how you act.

  41. 57 Robz
    August 28, 2009 at 15:58

    Before any one says sorry,find the truth behind the story.I believe in total freedom of speach.
    If the story is false,then the paper should print a correction,if true,then soldiers are in trouble.
    I’m not anti-Isreali,I just don’t feel sorry for them.

  42. 58 Tony from Singapura
    August 28, 2009 at 15:58

    This is not a freedom of speech issue, rather it is a question on the professionalism of the journalists behind the newspaper. I would challenge the journalists to prove the allegation – if they cant, I wont believe it.

  43. 59 steve
    August 28, 2009 at 16:00

    @Halima

    So you support untruths about Israel simply because you hate Israel? I’m not a fan of Saudi Arabia or Iran, but I wouldn’t spread lies about them just because I dislike them. This is clearly a case of antisemitism from the swedish newspaper. Because you hate Israel doesn’t make it any less so. Had they written an article criticizing Israel’s policies, it wouldn’t be antisemitism. But when you make stuff up, playing to the blood libel, it IS antisemitism. It would be like me writing an article saying that all Muslims are terrorist/suicide bombers. It’s simply not true. And you disliking israel doesnt’ form a basis for making it true.

    • 60 steve
      August 28, 2009 at 19:09

      What makes you so sure its not true? Who would have thought Rabbi’s in New Jersey would be involved in Organ trafficking? From what I understand the article was based on accounts of families of Palestinian youths who were Killed by the Israeli army, their bodies taken away and returned several days later with large incisions. OK, so Israel says its policy is to do an autopsy on anyone who dies an unnatural death. Well, first of all the cause of death is obvious in these cases and secondly Palestinians are not Israeli citizens so why is Israel taking their bodies back into Israel for autopsies? This alone is suspicious behavior and should be investigated.

  44. 61 Roseann In Houston
    August 28, 2009 at 16:13

    No, they should not apologize. I agree with Henry Nyakoojo (above), it’s time for Isreal to move on and be judged solely on current actions instead of cashing in on world guilt for past history.
    Many newspaper exposes started out with stories that were called libelous – Nixon and Watergate, Clinton and Monica Lewinski, Bush and falsified Weapons of Mass Destruction…but in every case important truths were revealed, thanks in large part to the brave actions of the newspaper reporter. Autopsies on the bodies of the men in question would either prove Isreal’s guilt or innocence – why won’t Isreal open Palestine to outside, impartial forensic scientists? That would settle the question, and THEN if the story is proven to be false, THEN they can demand an apology…but only from the newpaper. But Isreal is not taking actions to prove the story false…Why?

    I personally think that Isreal is given far too much lee-way and I am tired of them acting like the spoiled brat of the world, getting their way every time they throw a tantrum..

  45. 62 fmog
    August 28, 2009 at 16:20

    Well done Sweden for upholding freedom of speech. However, the journalist/paper that printed the story should be prepared for legal action if they cannot offer substantial proof. Recent history has shown that Israel appears to regard human life to have little value unless it is their own so it wouldn’t really surprise me if their was some truth in it somewhere.

  46. 63 viola
    August 28, 2009 at 16:22

    I am somewhat sympathetic to the Swedish government’s refusal to comment on a story that resembles “Aliens Land In My Backyard” type of nonsense.

    Canada

  47. 64 Tom K in Mpls
    August 28, 2009 at 16:26

    After some thought, only a government that controls the press in it’s country, would insist that another government would have any responsibility for the press in the other country. Does Israel claim to have a free press?

  48. 65 VictorK
    August 28, 2009 at 16:37

    *Tony from Singapura August 28, 2009 at 15:58 wrote: “I would challenge the journalists to prove the allegation – if they cant, I wont believe it.”
    *My understanding is that the story reported Palestinian allegations, and the reporter himself has said that he doesn’t know if they’re true or false. On a par with reporting that many Africans believe that the West invented AIDS to destroy them, or that Africa is poor because the West deliberately keeps it impoverished. Reporting what (some)people believe is factual, even when what they believe isn’t.
    *This is simple bullying, with the intention of reducing journalists (and others) to fear and inducing in them self-censorship when the word ‘Israel’ is mentioned. It has worked in the US (Senator Percy of Illinois is a good example of what happens to an American politician who blasphemes against Israel), and has worked almost as well with the Western Commentariat for Muslims.
    *This remains a matter of defending free speech against its enemies.

  49. 66 anu_D
    August 28, 2009 at 16:38

    20 Sharafadeen A. (Sokoto)
    August 27, 2009 at 19:47
    When anything is said against the Isreali state (or Jewish race) it is termed it as “anti-semitism”
    ==>>
    Sharaf,

    That’s true…..anything said against Jews or Israel is anti-semitism….and anit-semitism is not a permissible feature in the civilized human race

    • August 28, 2009 at 17:29

      and you will censor it? rubbish. Any criticism of Israel is termed “anti-semitism” ?
      Then Israel alone cannot be criticised?
      what rubbish. Israel does a lot which is justly criticised, and if it isn’t then it would be because we live in terror of Israel. hmm – wait a minute….. maybe you advocate terrorism by Israel as legitimate?
      When we can criticise what it REALLY does, then we can chuckle over the rubbish. All countries and all nations get stupid stories written about them. Live with it. and stop whinging. – or is that guilty feelings reacting?

      • 68 anu_D
        August 28, 2009 at 19:27

        Anti-semitism needs to be sensored in civil societies.

        Terrorism by Israel….you must be kidding……this is anti-semitism

    • 69 Sharafadeen A. (Sokoto)
      August 28, 2009 at 21:51

      @anu_D
      I wonder if you relly know who the semites are? please consult your dictionary.
      According to the Oxford advance learners’s dictionary stated that the Semites are members of people who speaks the semitic languages, including Arabs and Jews. Therefore “anit-semitism” is any acts of hatred against these languages or race (Arabs and Jews). Ironically the same dictionary defined “anti-semitism” as hatred of the Jews. This is mislead and acts of corruption, and this is why the Isrealite feels above the world and other race of the world.

  50. 70 steve
    August 28, 2009 at 18:03

    The announcer said that Israel asked the Swedish government to condemn the article, which is not the same as holding the swedish government responsible. There have been tons of articles in the US media or people on air that have been condemned by the government for what they have said. The President’s Press secretary often condemns what radio talk show hosts have to say about the President. So I don’t see why Sweden doesn’t condemn it? Nobody is saying that the Swedish government should be accountable for what the press does, though it should condemn hateful things.

  51. August 28, 2009 at 18:10

    The Swedish government doesn’t need to apologise to the Israeli government over an article published by an independent newspaper. All Israel can do is to sue the newspaper it believes to have published false and defamatory information.

    Newspapers are supposed to publish facts based on evidence. As a compromise, the newspaper should produce evidence of its allegations based on tangible sources. If the case is proved to be true, then it’s Israel that should carry its own investigations ,punish the perpetrators , apologise to the victims’ families and thank the Swedish newspaper for unearthing an ugly act.

  52. 72 Bruno
    August 28, 2009 at 18:20

    No, absolutely not.

    If anything it’s israel that owe serious apologies to the rest of the world for creating such misery in this region and violating countless international laws.

    This article was indeed nasty but not really more than many pieces of propaganda you often find in the Israeli press. I don’t heard the israel government apologize then.

  53. 73 Jeremy from Lansing MI USA
    August 28, 2009 at 18:37

    It is called free speech. Why would a country’s government apologize for a comment made by a private citizen. I could understand if a member of the government made the statement or if the news organization was run and controlled by the government, but otherwise the individual is responsible for what he/she says. If you do not like the comment, then disprove it with facts, or ask for the facts that brought about the comment.

  54. 74 Marc
    August 28, 2009 at 18:38

    Absolutely not! If governments are to be held responsible for what the independent media in their countries say, they are eventually going to demand sway over what is said, and freedom of speech, a bedrock of free societies everywhere, will be severely eroded. Frankly, I am shocked and dismayed that a free and democratic country like Israel would even suggest such absurdity!

  55. 75 Tom D Ford
    August 28, 2009 at 18:50

    Should the US apologize to “Martians” for the kind of stuff that The Enquirer or The Star tabloids publish or condemn those supermarket tabloids for making that kind of stuff up?

    Sheesh!

    “Much ado about nothing”, to quote Bill S from one of his plays.

  56. August 28, 2009 at 18:59

    There is a very broad distinction between anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism of Israel. Just because someone criticises Israel does not mean that the pers is anti-Semitic. I don’t think that failure to abude by journalistic principles in criticising Israel should be mistaken for anti-Semitism, either. Your guests are mixing issues here, and it seems to me that the intent is to divert the world’s attention from Israel’s continuous violations of international law and human rights by dismissing criticism as anti-Semitism.

    What has happened here is that someone who is over-zealous in his desire to criticise Israel has lost sight of the fact that he needs to abide by journalistic principles when writing his articles. That certainly is not a matter for any country’s government to regulate, as it would easily lead to government control of the media – an anti-democratic element of fascism. It is up to the people to hold the media to honesty and integrity.

  57. 77 STEPHEN /PORTLAND
    August 28, 2009 at 19:02

    This is an old rift going back to the Second World War. The Jews believe the Swedish government ignored their plight under the Nazis.

    The British government does not need to Apologies for the Garbage produced by Rupert Murdoch’s publications in the United Kingdom. Why should the Swedes!

  58. 78 Irene
    August 28, 2009 at 19:06

    Israel has a history of trying to stifle real news, resorting even to targeting journalists trying to reveal what is going on in Palestine. Asking the government of Sweden to apologize for something an independent newspaper said further destroys Israel’s already limited credibility. If the Israeli government believes they have been slandered, they can take the newspaper to court.

  59. 79 Ilze Choi
    August 28, 2009 at 19:09

    You are asking the wrong question. The most important question is whether a newspaper which is a major paper should be held accountable for what it publishes? This kind of charge is so shocking that the Aftonbladdet should have to provide incontrovertible proof to back up their story. Accuracy is as important as freedom of speech. If we can’t trust that what a reputable paper publishes has been verified, then this damages freedom of speech. One should then call it freedom to lie, instead. I hope that a way will be found to sue this shameless paper for libel and that it will have to pay dearly for not only damaging Israel but for damaging freedom of press.

  60. 80 Keith- Ohio
    August 28, 2009 at 19:12

    Printing libel- printing baseless falsehoods under the guise of truth- IS NOT FREE SPEECH. This ridiculous newspaper is accountable to some level of government. I don’t think the Swedish federal government needs to speak for this paper, but a more local level of government should be accountable for enforcing libel laws!

    The Danish cartoon was more a matter of freedom of speech than this, which is blatant libel. Here in the United States, tabloids print falsehoods about celebrity relationships, etc. They usually get away with it because no one takes them seriously, and rarely do celebrities get angry enough to press charges. HOWEVER, if they are so inclined, they are well within their rights to press charges against the paper. For instance: just google “sues national enquirer” and you’ll find tons of successful suits against the popular tabloid rag.

    When a nation is wrongfully informed that another nation/religion is indiscriminately slaughtering people, it IS A BIG DEAL, AND IT ISN’T FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    What if the new york times started reporting that you were killing children in your basement? You wouldn’t have any problem with that? I can’t believe any of you people actually think that this is legal.

  61. 81 GB
    August 28, 2009 at 19:15

    If you control every aspect of what people can report out of a war zone these are the kinds of stories you can expect. Barring all reportage except your own can only end badly in the long run.

  62. 82 Michel Norman
    August 28, 2009 at 20:08

    Obviously the Swedish government has to uphold its constitution and cannot intervene in the freedom of the press. However, that does not mean that when their countrymen do something on the level of incitement that is redolent of the catholic church in the middle ages, and is nothing more than a continuation of the blood libels that have been used against the Jewish people by the Christian and Moslem worlds since the time of the expulsion of the Jews from their homeland by the Roman invaders, and that is the reason for the sensitivity.

    Anti-semitism may be out of fashion since the holocaust, but anti-zionism is exactly the same, people who single out Israel for criticism when it behaves in a far more moral way than most countries in the world, why attack other countries when there is a Jewish one to attack, that way we can express our other feelings without being politically incorrect???

  63. August 28, 2009 at 21:00

    A country that does not involve itself nor is aligned with any other country or countries politically has no responsibility for anything other than what it does. Sweden owes nothing to anyone and if they don’t want to participate in others problems, that is their right to do so. So far Sweden has remained neutral, and not only has world war ii helped enrich its economy, but also the present economy has beheld Sweden an excellent option. Sweden has voluntarily cooperated with The U.S.A. in am effort to retrieve restitution for some Jews. Why can’t a country remain neutral?.

  64. 84 balkisu m sokoto
    August 28, 2009 at 22:10

    why is it that the isrealite (Jews) always feels so important than any other race of the world?

  65. 85 rick
    August 29, 2009 at 04:46

    Lieberman is like a bull in a china shop. He has damaged Israeli/Swedish relations with his hysterical responce and is too stupid to realize what he has done.
    You’d think after the Gaza war crimes Israel would be trying to make friends instead of doing the opposite.

    • 86 anu_D
      August 31, 2009 at 14:44

      I fully agree with the comment above from Rick.

      At this point Israel can do with as many nations on their side…and Israel needs to handle it’s disagreement with other nations more tactfully and behind closed doors

  66. 87 Michel Norman
    August 29, 2009 at 10:46

    One thing is very clear from all of this, Palestinian propaganda is based on another myths to make the ancient greeks jealous.

    I thought that newspapers were supposed to deal with facts and not fiction.

  67. 88 Harry
    August 29, 2009 at 12:36

    This response is just self-righteous indignation. I do not know if this story is true or libelous but generally there seems to be an atmosphere of impunity in the Mid-East that allows Israeli troops and extremists on both sides to get away with inhuman behaviour. A better response may to say “this is outrageous” but at the same time get the UN to appoint independent people to disprove or prove the accusations. Israel needs to build up tons of refuting facts to such accusations and over time no one will take such libel seriously. Outrage alone will not help in the long run.

    In the real world soldiers mess up especially when they know from past experience that their Government will refuse to contemplet their human-frailty just to save face. Israel as a democracy has greater responsibilities as it rightly seeks security but more and more, it is losing its way.

    The populations in the nearby countries are fed-up with their leaders and Isreal should be engaging those populations and building goodwill with the millions who would rather live in prosperity than in war with Israel.

    The real war to win is for Israel to implement the 1967 boarders and for commit to peace.

  68. 89 MarcusAureliusII
    August 29, 2009 at 16:15

    I am never surprised at the hatred for Jews many Europeans show. It’s been that way for a millenium or more. From the expulsion from Spain in 1492 to pogroms in Russia and even to this very day, Europeans tried unsuccessfully to get rid of all Jews culminating in the mass murder of six million of them in Nazi Germany. Distortions and lies are one method of justification for their hatred they have chosen as was done here. Scapegoating Jews by blaming them for their own shortcomings and failures in life is another method Europeans use. This is just one more example. Having failed at eliminating them, many Europeans are hoping that the Islamic world will finish the job.

    Europe enjoys my highest contempt for a pattern that has persisted throughout history, not merely hatred for Jews by for all outsiders and minorities. Just yesterday, Madonna was booed on stage in Bucharest for lamenting the discrimination against the Roma. European racism and ethnic hatred is a fact of life it refuses to accept and therefore will never be dealt with and rid of. Hypocricy, thy name is Europe.

  69. 90 Sameer, bangalore.
    August 29, 2009 at 17:15

    In today’s world, nobody can question Israel and Hindus on past and present acts. “Blood libel against Jews” screams Avigdor Lieberman. Would he also scream outrage against the Jews in India who inspite of being employed at high positions with the Habishi people ( African and Muslim ) ruling from the Zanjira fort near Bombay, conspired with the Marathas and the Brits to drive out their patrons. These Habishis ( also called Siddhis ) are among the poorest in India of now. Once they were rulers.

  70. 91 Alby
    August 29, 2009 at 17:33

    Free specch has to be protected. But, speech that incites hatred against any group should be prosecuted by the legal authorities who hopefully have that remedy in their constitution. Also, libel laws should be used by the Israeli govt, or IDF against the newspaper for publishing slanderous mis-information and propaganda. This is a remedy Israel possesses in a democracy.

    We have the same problem in the US today of privately owned media established publishing or broadcasting false information, dis-information, propaganda, half-truths, and selective reporting designed to slant public discourse in favor of one political view shared by the owners of the media, or worse to build up discord between Americans from different ethnic, cultural or political groups. This dis-information discord has already resulted in violence and deaths of US residents and police officers because of misinformation propagated by commentators on Fox and CNN.

    I am sure these commentators have careful lawyers to avoid a libel case since that is an obvious violation with plenty of legal precedents. But, the US Justice Department has also not taken up any of these cases of speech to incite hatred against groups such as gays, latinos, liberals, muslims, that routinely appear in our FCC licensed broadcasters and print.

    Israel does seem to have the unique issue of violating democratic principles when it suits the government against even Israelis who criticize the government. There are well known cases now of activists who have been deprived of their free speech and free assembly rights. It is true democracy is not a good thing for a ruling elite in any country who wish to violate international or domestic laws, or to maintain stalwart control over a nation’s economics. Israeli govt reflex in response to Sweden betrays an inconsistent love affair with democracy, but unfortunately that is what right-wing voters want to see from their politicians. That is the same in the US right now.

  71. 92 Gish
    August 30, 2009 at 16:14

    If the so-called “freedom of the press” (which is mainly government and union controlled) is an inviolable issue, why is there no criticism of the Arab and Muslim attitude with regard to their aspirations towards a world wide caliphinate, subservience to Sharia law and negation of human rights, or would this point of view be regarded as libel, creating the kind of mob violence that the Danish cartoon fiasco promulgated and both Sweden and the E.U. find so intimidating! The appeasement exhibited in the David Cup tennis tournament between Israel and Sweden in Malmo is a true indication of where Eurabia is heading.

  72. August 31, 2009 at 13:37

    In war, the worst things are possible so the door is opened to the worst stories. Sweden’s role during WW2 was shameful. It allowed Nazi troops to march through its land unopposed. Israel’s war in Palestine is also shameful. Yet how many horrific tales about what happened to Swedish people under the Nazi jackboots march have been suppressed by successive Swedish governments? Its the usual hypocrisy and both sides should know by now that those who live in glass houses should beware of throwing stones.

  73. 94 steve
    August 31, 2009 at 15:20

    @ gish

    I agree, and had totally forgotten about that soccer match which Sweden didn’t allow anyone to attend the match. My best friend shared your name.

  74. 95 Rick
    August 31, 2009 at 18:45

    The Swedish government should not have to apologize for an article made in a private newspaper. I can condemn it and state it does not agree. The paper should apologize. Also, if they commited libel, they should be taken to court.

  75. 96 Elina
    August 31, 2009 at 18:46

    No, I don’t think that the Swedish government should apologise to Israel. It’s the paper, Aftonbladet, that should be held responsible for the contents it publishes. So far, we don’t know whether the claims presented in the article are true or not. Perhaps there should be a further investigation — if it turns out there is no evidence and the report proves incorrect, then it would be appropriate of the editors to issue an apology, I think. In any case, the way in which Israel’s FM made his demand that the Swedish Foreign Ministry should condemn the article probably caused more diplomatic harm than did anything good to Israel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: