Top Israeli Official Calls Swedish Foreign Minister an Antisemite
An Israeli minister called Sweden’s top diplomat an “antisemite,” after she once again attacked the Jewish state during a parliamentary session on Tuesday.
In an interview with Israel Radio on Wednesday morning, National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz blasted Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström for demanding an investigation into Israeli “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinians during the current wave of violence.
Dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces — many of them in the middle of carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers, police and civilians — since October, when tensions flared in Jerusalem and across the West Bank.
Steinitz, from the ruling Likud Party, said Wallström was an antisemite – “whether consciously or unconsciously” – because she singled out Israel for killing terrorists without trial while other countries, such as the US, Russia and France, do so without her demanding an investigation.
Steinitz also said Sweden was the “EU champion” for the number of citizens that have gone to fight for ISIS.
Israel Radio also reported on the harsh response to Wallström’s remarks from politicians across party lines.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, also of Likud, announced that her office would not review requests from Swedish ministers or deputy ministers to visit Israel. As far back as a year ago, according to Israel Radio, a message was conveyed to Wallström that if she came to the country, nobody would meet with her.
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said it was unacceptable to compare terrorist attacks with the Israeli security response. Livni stressed however that Israel must maintain normal diplomatic relations with Sweden before adopting more extreme measures.
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman — who was Wallström’s counterpart in the previous government — went a step further than Steinitz, saying, “The only thing the Swedish foreign minister hasn’t done yet is actually join the Palestinian terrorists in stabbing Jews. Given how she’s behaved until now, one can only hope this won’t happen.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, of Labor, said that Wallström was giving a “tail wind” to terrorism and that comments like hers on Tuesday made the chances for separation between Israel and the Palestinians harder to achieve.