Swedes shouldn’t make themselves,
nice, beautiful and pure. Absolutely not.
IBA News: Israel’s former ambassador to Stockholm, Zvi Mazel, currently a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Ambassador Zvi Mazel, thank you for coming in. The government of Israel, Israeli officials have called this article a blood libel, but why do you think it is that the government of Sweden will not condemn it?
Ambassador Zvi Mazel: We they should sir, they should. They don’t want to do it because it’s in their tradition that it’s inherent that Sweden is above all, that in Sweden the freedom of the press is total and the government cannot intervene.
I don’t accept it absolutely, they should condemn it. The problem is, and I would like to say something about it, about the freedom of the press in Sweden. I would like to say very clearly, there is no freedom of press in Sweden.
Maybe some people would be surprised by what I’m saying, but they should know that about 80% of the press in Sweden belongs to the Social Democrat Party and the trade unions. Two organizations that are connected and anti-Israeli. And in the last twenty, thirty years they have been issuing dozens if not hundreds of condemnations of Israel. They are two anti-Israeli organizations.
This is the story. So when Carl Bildt of the Foreign Affairs says there is freedom of the press, on this principle we can do absolutely nothing, this is just not true and I beg to differ completely.
IBA News: Ambassador Mazel, should the government cancel the upcoming visit of the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, based on your assessment on his relationship to Israel?
Ambassador Zvi Mazel: What a difficult…eh, I should say that we should receive him, absolutely and discuss the matter with him. And I hope that some good people can organize some good demonstration in front of his hotel and in front of the embassy, even though the ambassador was quite said,..you know the ambassador of Sweden in Israel completely and immediately condemned this article.
I think that we should accept him, this is the best thing in diplomacy to accept and discuss and to make your point. Absolutely.
IBA News: But one option is for the Israeli officials to welcome Carl Bildt, but not to discuss anything with him other than this issue until it’s resolved. Would you agree with that?
Ambassador Zvi Mazel: Yes, it’s a possibility, why not? I mean, if they behave like this we have to answer, we have to find the right answer and put them into the corner. Because in the last twenty years just as I said, they were putting, rather pushing into the corner Israel, attacking Israel. I can talk about it during three hours but we don’t have the time. So anyway, the time is right for the government of Israel to tackle the problem of anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic attacks in Europe and especially in Sweden. Maybe this a new government will start doing it.
IBA News: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Ambassador Mazel, likened the incident to Sweden’s repugnant behaviour during the Holocaust. Was that the right move to make for Israel’s Foreign Minister?
Ambassador Zvi Mazel: Maybe you should not have brought too much the problem of Shoah (unclear) absolutely, but the behavior of Sweden was not the best during that time. You know between 33′ and 34′ and before 42′ no Jews were admitted into Sweden. Later, there was the story of Wallenberg, which was wonderful even they accepted them on their territory the Jews from Denmark, but at the same time they helped a lot the Nazi effort for war.
You know that they let the Nazi troops to go Norway and back from Norway into Germany through their own territory and also they delivered the supplies of steel for the German Panzers. According to some historians, World War II was prolonged about one year because of the Swedish steel supplied to Germany.
So there is a problem with Sweden and they should know about it, they shouldn’t make themselves, nice, beautiful and pure. Absolutely not.
IBA News: Ambassador Mazel, former ambassador to Sweden, and now with the JCPA, thank you very much for being our guest this evening.
Ambassador Zvi Mazel: You are welcome