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September 17, 2014 11:36 am

Swedish Comedian Confronts His Country’s ‘Anti-Semitic’ Media

avatar by Eli Wishnivetski

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Anti-Semitic graffiti painted outside a Stockholm school. Photo: Calle Nathanson via Twitter.

Anti-Semitic graffiti painted outside a Stockholm school. Photo: Calle Nathanson via Twitter.

In early August, Swedish-Jewish writer and comedian Aron Flam took a call from Aftonbladet, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers – “Hello?” he asked. The newspaper staff did not notice that Flam had picked up the line. “Come on, we need someone playing the part of the disgruntled Jew,” someone said. “I can hear you!” exclaimed Flam. “Eh, hello? Yes, this is Aftonbladet debate (section) – would you write something about anti-Semitism in Sweden?”

Whether in print or online, Sweden’s newspaper consumption ratio is one of the highest in the world. Technically considered a tabloid, Aftonbladet has the country’s biggest print circulation and was at the forefront of adopting Internet publishing. Despite the multitude of readers amongst the nation’s 9.5 million citizens, the daily’s journalistic standards have repeatedly come into question.

In 2006, one of the paper’s own columnists criticized its emphasis on celebrity coverage rather than the war in Iraq. The memoir of world renowned moviemaker Ingmar Bergman accused Aftonbladet of deliberate character assassination. But it was the paper’s 2009 publication of the claim that Israel appropriated, harvested, and sold Palestinian organs – that brought it worldwide infamy and condemnation. Many referred to the report as a blood libel. Editor-in-chief Jan Helin repeatedly stood behind the reporting prior to confessing to a complete lack of substantiation.

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Aftonbladet also denied Flam’s version of the events. According the paper’s managing editor, Marica Finnsiö, the phone call originated from a secluded part of the office intended for undisturbed calls so Flam could not have heard any background conversations. Regardless, Flam declined Aftonbladet’s invitation. “I don’t want to be your Jewish alibi,” he told them. Three weeks later, Flam did acquiesce to Aftonbladet’s request, albeit at a different venue. Writing in Nyheter24, an online Swedish news site, Flam gave his take on anti-Semitism in Sweden, as epitomized by its media and Aftonbladet in particular.

Flam pointed out that a large part of contemporary anti-Semitism in Sweden is spurred on by self-proclaimed anti-racists whose definition of racism does not include prejudice towards Jews. Critics of Israel frequently complain of being accused of anti-Semitism. “I’d argue the opposite,” wrote Flam. “Anti-Semitism is being condoned by claiming that it’s merely criticism of Israel.”

Classic anti-Semitic sentiments, such as Jewish control of the world’s banking system and media, permeate Swedish culture – through comedians or musicians – but are either ignored, defended, or glorified by media types as being enlightened. All the while, the main Jewish congregation in Stockholm – home to most of the country’s estimated 18,000 to 20,000 Jews – is demonized for its support of an “apartheid state.” “That’s assigning collective blame,” noted Flam. “That would be like blaming all Muslims for 9/11.”

According to Flam, many of Aftonbladet’s articles tend to follow a certain pattern. First, Israel’s actions are portrayed as excessive. Then such actions are related to Nazism and/or Apartheid. Lastly, a disclaimer is made that such discourse is taboo lest one be immediately labeled an anti-Semite. Compared to other lethal conflicts, not only is the coverage of Israel disproportional, but it’s also the sole conflict where one side is continuously criticized for murdering children and controlling the world. “Swedish media is generally pro-Palestinian,” Flam said.

Flam brought numerous examples of media bias and recklessness. Aftonbladet gives the conflict little context; its managing editor characterizes the conflict as two ethnic groups pegged against one another rather than a terror organization up against a democracy of varying views. Its journalists have used anti-Zionist sources, utilized falsified pictures from Gaza, and asserted erroneous facts, such as that Israel attacked all of its neighbor states upon its founding. The newspaper provided a forum for a politician to label Israel an “insane” nation that must be “dismantled,” and published a cartoon where a warmongering religious Jew is seen telling a peacenik that “Hitler gassed the wrong Jews.” The fabricated blood libel is likely the paper’s worst infraction.

For his part, Flam was not unfazed by the newspaper’s denials of the phone call he received. “Hearing that (Aftonbladet) wants me to play the part of the disgruntled Jew makes me disgruntled,” he said. “The irony of falling into the stereotype has not escaped me.” Flam hesitated to call everyone at Aftonbladet anti-Semitic. “That would be assigning collective blame,” he wrote, “and I don’t do that. It’s Aftonbladet that does.”

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  • greg

    To clarify:

    Previously, I mentioned an ‘odor’ (among other things) emanating from Malmo, Sweden. The stench of which I referred to is the systemic brutalization of Malmo’s Jews (for years now), and the reprehensible acquiescence and enabling of this reality by Swedish authorities.

    President Obama appointed an Anti-Semitism ‘Tsar’ (I’ll let others with a greater grasp of flipping historical ironies handle that one, who traveled to Malmo, shook the requisite amount of hands, then returned.

    End of story.

    The State Department has gone dumb on Global Antisemitism since the end of George W. Bush’s presidency. The website’s publications and reports are dated, though no less potent. At that time, the department was active on the subject, and headed by strong figures, some continuing at YIISA (Yale on Antisemitism – Now defunct) following their tenure.

    It’s incumbent upon us not only to sound-off regarding the subject of Antisemitism, but to fight it at it’s source(s) The Malmo City Council is a good place to start. The Jewish community’s recent request for greater security measures – incl. security cameras – was roundly denied by regional authorities (!)

    This ***edifies the problem***, and furthers the exodus of Jews from Malmo to safer environs. The realities of Swedish Antisemitism, and the recurring violence against Jews in Malmo, are both well-documented on YouTube, and by simply searching the subject ‘Malmo Anti-Semitism’

  • jack grayson

    Lammie from South Africa clearly explains why the apartheid slur against Israel has no basis in fact. I have used the very same examples in discussion with intelligent and well read people. However,this apartheid viewpoint has imbedded itself so deeply into the psyche of so many people of the left that it is nigh on impossible to permeate their brain washing.

  • Gidi

    Some of us still remember Sweden as the country who gave refuge to the entire Jewish population of overrun Denmark in 1943. Submitted here is the poem:
    “The Swedish Tongue” by Nathan Alterman, that was printed in Palestine then.
    (BTW, it was the Danish king, Christian X, and not the Swede who wore the yellow Star of David when the Nazis declared that Jews must do so.)

    Few know the Swedish tongue
    Who speaks it? Perhaps only the Swedes themselves.
    Because their land is lost in mountains and fjords,
    and small and modest is their nation.

    And when Sweden said: “I hereby admit
    from the Danish border all the exile Jews”,
    all the peoples of the earth realized and saw
    how poor is Swedish in lexical cues.

    Because many states already declared,
    hidden linguistic treasures exposing,
    the words “infiltration” and “quota” and “visa”…
    Only in Swedish are these items missing.

    When a lad escapes to Sweden from the hunting,-
    she doesn’t turn to consult the maps.
    She simply takes him inside, caressing,
    unaware of the “migration” lapse.

    There are states in the world sevenfold larger
    with vast space for lodging and shelter,
    but before they rescue a man drowning in water
    they love to look at their dictionnaire.

    That is, their vocab is colourful as a butterfly –
    there is “maximum capacity” and “absorbability”.
    Only the Swedes, in their barbaric habit, try
    to offer a bed and a cup of tea.

    Thus, in definitions she doesn’t abound
    neither in red tape nor in formality,
    she simply writes: “Entrance Allowed”…
    and God forgive her for her stylistic poverty.

    Then God will tell her in tears: Sværyə, Sværyə,-
    two forgotten words you wrote on your doors.
    But they’re worth tractates and an encyclopaedia,
    Yes…even Britannica… with all its tomes.

    And then angels will whisper and say
    what a rift there is, oy vey,
    that this simple double word
    drew tears from the eyes of the Lord.

  • HaroldT

    What are they going to call the Islamic state of former Sweden in a few years time ? Any suggestions ?

    • johan

      sweden is kind againt jews.. if a jew really would a reality check on anti-semitism he should make a visit to Gaza.

    • Francis Manns

      A world that did not lift a finger when Hitler was wiping out six million Jewish men, women, and children is now saying that the Jewish state of Israel will not survive if it does not come to terms with the Arabs. My feeling is that no one in this universe has the right and the competence to tell Israel what it has to do in order to survive. On the contrary, it is Israel that can tell us what to do. It can tell us that we shall not survive if we do not cultivate and celebrate courage, if we coddle traitors and deserters, bargain with terrorists, court enemies, and scorn friends.

      Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath (1974), p. 6

      • Sarah

        Yes.

    • “What are they going to call the Islamic state of former Sweden in a few years time ? ”

      Val-Allah?

    • very good – we shall see

  • Kris Kristian

    THE MUSLIMS IN THIS WORLD HAVE SUCH GREAT PROPAGANDA, THAT THEY HAVE CONVINCED THE WORLD THAT ISRAEL IS REALLY BAD. THAT ISRAEL IS THE GREATEST RACIST NATION ON EARTH.
    THAT THE JEWS OWN ALL THE BANKS. THAT THE JEWS CONTROL THE USA.
    THAT THE JEWS STEAL BODY PARTS FROM DEAD ARAB SOLDIERS.
    THAT JEWS KILL CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM CHILDREN FOR THEIR BLOOD TO MAKE MAZAH

    OBVIOUSLY, THE WORLD WOULD BELIEVE ALL THESE BLOOD LIBELS LIES.
    REMEMEBR THERE ARE 14 MILLION JEWS SPREAD ALL OVER THE WORLD. THEY ARE A DROP IN THE OCEAN. WHAT IS IT? .0001% OF WORLD POPULATIONN
    THERE ARE 1.5 BILLION MUSLIMS, THERE ARE MORE THAN 2 BILLION CHRISTIANS.
    SO, HOW MANY CHRISTIANS HAVE EVER MET, OR SEESN A JEW? HOW MANY HAVE VISITED ISRAEL?

    SO, THE BEST WAY FOR THE MUSLIMS TO TRY TO DESTROY ISRAEL, IS TO LIE TO THE WORLD. THEN YOU HAVE THE ARCH JEW/ISLAEL HATER, TUTU WHO SPREADS LIES ABOUT ISRAEL. HE IS THE BIGGEST SINNER IN A CLERICAL ROBE.
    GOD WILL NEVER ACCEPT THAT MAN INTO HEAVEN.
    TUTU IS PROMIOTING BDS AGAINST ISRAEL.

    WHY IS HE DOING ALL THESE EVIL THINGS?
    BECAUSE HE IS PERSONA NON GRATA IN ISRAEL.
    CAN YOU IMAGINE. SOME YEARS AGO, HE WAS AT YAD VASHEM, THE HOLOCAUST CENTRE.
    WHILE STANDING IN THE MEMORIAL HALL, AT THE ETERNAL LIGHT, AFTER SEEING WHAT THE NAZIS DID TO THE JEWS, HE HAD THE NERVE TO SAY THAT THE JEWS MUST FORGIVE THE NAZIS FOR WHAT THEY DID.
    THAT MAN IS NO ANGEL, HE IS EVIL WHEN IT COMES TO ISRAEL AND JEWS.

    I REPEAT WHAT I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES.
    HITLER’S MINISTER OF PROPAGANDA, JOSEF GOEBBELS SAID “THE BIGGER THE LIE, THE MORE OFTEN TOLD, THE MORE THE WORLD WILL BELIEVE THE LIES”

    MY ADVICE TO THE BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS. VISIT ISRAEL. YOU WOULD BECOME THEIR BIGGEST AMBASSADORS WHEN YOU SEE THE TRUTH.

    THE ISRAELI CHRISTIANS ARE THE ONLY CHRISTIANS IN THE ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST WHO HAVE FULL RIGHS AS DO JEWS, THEIR CHURCHES ARE PROTECTED BY LAW.
    THERE ARE MANY ISRALI CHRISTIANS, DRUZE AND MUSLIMS WHO HAVE VOLUNTARILY JOIND THE IDF TO FIGHT FOR THEIR COUNTYRY, THE JEWISH STATE OF ISRAEL.

    • Ivan Gur-Arie

      Whether Tutu confines his hatred to Jews and Israel or spreads his “loving goodies” to others is not the question He displays a totally evil point of view. He is perhaps the devil incarnate and should be worshipped by all Satanists.

    • Thank you for singing the truth. But it does not help to SHOUT.

  • Jili

    What do you expect from not too bright,uncritical and low informed journalists in a country with a very high Muslim immigration?The truth?

  • SOMEONE SAID THAT LONG AFTER THEY CEASE BELIEVING IN GD, PEOPLE STILL BELIEVE IN THE DEVIL. UNFORTUNATELY THE SWEDES SEEM TO LIVE HALF THEIR LIVES IN DARKNESS, AND SO CANT SEE THE DEVIL IN THEIR BATHROOM MIRRORS. THE OTHER HALF OF THEIR LIVES THEY SEEM TO STAY BLINDED BY SUNLIGHT…. THIS IS WHAT KEEPS THEM EVEN-HANDED AND NEUTRAL IN THEIR OWN EYES.

    NO WONDER THEY NEED ALCOHOL TO MANAGE THEIR DEVILS.

    NO WONDER THEY FALL BACK ON JEWS AND ISRAEL AS THEIR DEVILS LEFT-OVER FROM LUTHER.

    • johan

      please remove anti-swedish propaganda like this.. this is not true.

      • Greg

        Hej Johan:

        Wake up and smell the stink in Malmo, for starters. Sweden is a stain upon Europe, and it’s people are weak, fearful and suicidal by design.

        (I lived in Almhult for months, so I know them well)

        I’ll end by simply echoing a previous comment, and ask; How long before we call that wretched Lutheran peninsula ‘The Islamic State of Sweden?’

        Take a whiff of Malmo, and the intensity of that odor should be a pretty decent indicator.

      • It is absolutely the truth. My cousin lives in Malmo and was so fearful at work they would find out she was Jewish and burn down her house that she never told them or took Jewish holidays off.

        Jews should embargo Sweden and not given them a penny of our American tourist dollars. All Jews should leave and go to Israel.

        What cowards and hypocrites these Swedes are!

      • Wendy

        Unfortunately it is true.

  • theo

    It’s Oh so easy for a country which does not face daily threats to its existence and enmity to criticise Israel
    It denotes a certain superiority image that is not in any way tested by the reality Israel has to face every day of its existence
    Because Sweden knows it never will have to live under such conditions it assumes this condescending air
    But this betokens an arrogance which in itself is a sign of inherent weakness
    Sweden, pray you never have to face Israel’s options because sure as day follows night you will not have the inner strength to survive

    • Noellsq

      It is a shame that the Swedish people are so naive to believe or recognize that their culture will be gone and Sharia will take over. Muslims do not assimilate but destroy from within.

    • Sarah

      Amen

  • Lammie

    Does ANYONE in Sweden know anything about Apartheid? As a former S. African living in Israel I can tell you that there is NO apartheid in Israel. Israeli Arabs travel on the same buses as everyone else, wait on the same benches for the bus, eat at the same restaurants, go to the same cinemas, work in the same hospitals, go to the same Universities, are patients in the same hospitals – beds side by side, are elected to our Knesset (Parliamnet) become judges in our Supreme Court, etc, etc. etc. NONE of this was possible under apartheid. In South Africa if a “black” person and a “white” person got married it was a terrible crime. Arabs and Jews can marry in Israel without breaking a single law.

    In any case what has apartheid got to do with 9/11? The sentence where that is mentioned makes no sense at all – except that both were evil. It does not mean that Swedish Jews who support Israel approve of apartheid as THERE IS NO apartheid in Israel. People are SO ignorant. Perhaps if they took the time to educate themselves – (you can find all the info you need in seconds on Google to verify what I have said here) everyone would be able to make rational statements. Maybe they would also realize that there is no country in the Middle East where Arabs have the rights that they have here – women and men – and the majority of Israeli Arabs do not want to live under Arab dictatorships where women are second class citizens and homosexuality is punishable by death. Does anyone in Sweden even know that it is not compulsory for Arabs to serve in our Defense Forces, but many of them volunteer to do so? Look it up! Educate yourselves.

    • It may help to “understand” the invidious attacks on Israel to realize that such attacks are funded by Billions of dollars from the Wahabbi Saudis. It’s not comforting, I know, but at least we know that the attacks are not the result of ANYTHING actually happening in Israel. The attacks are funded and motivated by vicious billionaires who are tyrants over their own suffering people. Israel is the scapegoat of convenience for tyrants.

    • Sarah

      Thank you!

  • Fred Chalfin

    I can understand the backward, uneducated Muslim countries for being anti-Israel and anti-semitic. Israel is the home of major institutions of higher learning and science. They invented the cell phone and other modern electronics, not to mention the Iron Dome missile defense system. They have been a large contributor to the advancement in medicines. They have many Nobel Prize winners and a bunch of patents.

    But Sweden puzzles me. They seem to be educated and enlightened. Could it be that they are jealous? Is it because Israel is an intellectually superior rival, and surpasses Sweden in most categories? Sweden’s king was famous for wearing the yellow Uden star during WW2, what has happened to his country since then?

    • Alexander

      Sweden’s king did not wear the yellow Uden star during WW2.
      The legend is about King of Denmark. But it’s never happened either. False.

  • Ross Yerkes

    FROM A BIBLICAL STANDPOINT THE JESUS REJECTING JEWS AND ISRAEL ARE CURSED BECAUSE THEY REJECT AND IN MANY CASES HATE JESUS CHRIST, AND TWO THIRDS OF JEWISH ISRAELIS REJECT THEIR OWN GOD, JEHOVAH. THIS CURSE IS EVIDENT BY THEIR CONSTANTLY ACCUSING THE REST OF THE WORLD OF BEING “ANTISEMITIC” – “EVERYBODY HATES US !”, AND BY THAT NATIONS NEVER ENDING WAR WITH THEIR NEIGHBORS.

    • Noellsq

      Ross Yerkes-you are the most uninformed individual that I have come across today. Israel is a very small country and is the Middle East most liberal and religious free country. Christians, Jews, Muslims and whoever can practice their faith in peace.

    • Ross – yopu are an idiot

    • Greg

      A favor please: Can we nix the religious fanatics like Ross from the page, and further ban ALL postings presented for review entirely in CAPSLOCK?

      Jesus Jehovah F-ing Christ (Ross, Your postings are a bigger drag than a perforated palm on a crucified hippy.

    • Wendy

      When we pass over to the other side we will see the truth. The people that hurt the Jews will all be punished. Remember my words.

  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    The Swedes are already getting a taste of what is in stall for them when their beloved Islamism takes over the country .I wish them many encounters with the Islamic State and Caliphate .

    • I do too – good luck to them

    • Greg

      Amen to that. They’ll cower following the first domestic attack. It’s in their DNA.

  • steven L

    Let the Swedish people invite many more Muslims brothers.

  • Swedes? Swedes? Weren’t they the guys who were selling ball bearings to Hitler in WWII? (Try operating a war machine without them.) Weren’t they the “neutral” country where Nazi operatives could be open about their intelligence gathering? Jus’ sayin’.

  • Mickey Oberman

    In an anti Semitic, soon to be Islamic country like Sweden Mr. Flam, by saying what he did and taking the stand he has taken, is a true hero.

    Thank you, Mr. Flam.

    Mickey Oberman

    • Deep appreciation. Appreciating the appreciator!

    • madhvi

      Re. Mr Flam-Yes a hero in some respects. But he tarnished Israel in his comments. I imagine that when one lives in a country so insanely permeated with hatred for, lies and propaganda about the Jewish people (i.e. the Jewish state of Israel), it would be very hard to hold completely and steadfastly to the truth.
      In the land of the blind (and indeed, Sweden IS the land of the blind), we are are grateful for the one-eyed man.

  • Montlasky

    What can anyone expect from a country that has surrendered its soul to Islam? The world is well aware of the Scandanavian anti Semitiism sponsered by it ‘s overwhelming Muslim population.
    So onerous that sooner than later all of Scandinavia will be a Caliphate.
    Anyone. For a Burkha?

  • Bernard Ross

    I would be happy to wake up one morning to read that Sweden had been burned to the ground.

    • Johan

      is this an appropriate comment? Shalom!

  • wsg

    “..the main Jewish congregation in Stockholm….is demonized” for supporting Israel.

    Then Mr. Flam says, “That would be like blaming all Muslims for 9/11.”

    Is Mr. Flam comparing the sole beacon of enlightened liberal democracy in the Middle East to an act of mass murder by people for whom such enlightnement is anathema?

    I’ve never heard of Mr. Flam. But it sounds like he’s part of the problem.

    • art

      re read the article You misinterpret it totally

      • Paul

        Think again. Although Mr. Flam (with good intentions) is only pointing out the mistake of assigning collective blame for 9/11 and accusations of support for Israel, he DOES make a chilling error by his choice of example. To make this clear: it is not right to assign collective blame – that is clear. But in the case of the Moslims, it is assigning collective blame for an outrageous act of terror – so although the origin act of reprehensible, we should not include those not supporting the act. In the other case, the “crime” we should not generalise about is – support for Israel. This would imply that its OK to bash those who support Israel, but should not accuse ALL of the Jewish congregation in Stockholm with supporting Israel, since many of them are innocent of this crime. Support of Israel is not a crime. Killing innocents is. Using the two as examples to illustrate the point of collective guilt actually implies that they are equally bad. Capiche ?

        • I appreciate you taking the time to fine tune the comments. You seem to have a good heart. I disagree with you, however, about seeking to avoid “collective blame” for the 9/11 attack.

          The entire Islamic world is deeply responsible for this assault, and thousands of others, on unarmed civilians, including other Muslims. After all, everywhere we turn today, we see slaughter BY Muslims. Almost all other “belief” systems have calmed down — although many others have indulged in nasty slaughters. NONE of the other areas of the world are so filled with killings of innocents.

          Look at what Islam teaches, preaches, funds, and trains young people to do. Try reading the text books the Wahabbis publish all over the world for children.

          Islam is intent on conquest, and slaughter of “Infidels”. It is what they do. It is what they celebrate.

        • Paul – I don’t think art can really read English

      • Paul

        I could make this simpler: forget the part about the comparison to 9/11. The the whole Jewish community is said to support Israel. MR. Flam says this is assigning collective blame. So, supporting Israel is – something to blame! Don’t accuse ALL the Jews, because other Jews do NOT support Israel ? Those not supporting Israel are innocent, those supporting Israel are the ones to rightfully blame ?

        • madhvi

          The issue isn’t “collective blame”. The issue is anti-semitism. The demonization of (and European OBSESSION with)Israel stems from the same anti-semitism that attacks the individual Jew.

          • Wendy

            True.

    • Lauren Goldman

      By putting “apartheid state” in quotes, Mr. Wishnivetski is stating how Israel is presented by the media and viewed by a substantial percentage of the population in Sweden. So, by extrapolation, they view being supportive of Israel as being supportive of apartheid.

    • madhvi

      Yes I agree-to a degree.
      See my comment above. Yes his comment unfortunately supports the Islamonazi lies of the Israel-bashers/jew-haters.

    • Wendy

      Agreed.

  • Emanuel

    Great job both!

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