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February 20, 2015 1:09 am

Swedish Journalist Asks Israeli Ambassador if Jews Are Responsible for Antisemitism

avatar by Paul Miller

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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.

Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman, was pleased to receive an invitation from Swedish public radio Sveriges to discuss anti-Semitism in Europe.

“It is not very common for the media to invite official representatives of Israel, people who can actually speak on behalf of the state,” Bachman told The Jewish Press.

“I went to the studio, knowing that the topics we would be discussing included the recent terrorist attacks in which Jews were targeted and killed in Paris and Copenhagen, as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call for Jews to make Aliyah,” Bachman explained.

The ambassador was interviewed by Helena Groll, who opened the conversation with a question regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public statements inviting Jews to move to Israel.

Bachman explained that his “job is not to convince the Jewish population to move to Israel. … People know that Aliyah [emigration of Jews from the Diaspora to the land of Israel] is an option that is valid, one that exists and is open to them at any time.”

But controversy erupted when Groll asked Bachman, “Do the Jews themselves have any responsibility in the growing anti-Semitism that we see now?”

The Israeli ambassador replied, “I reject this question completely.”

Groll continued to press the question, shouting over the ambassador, “Why?” in response to his position that “there is no place for such a question to be asked.”

As reported by The Jewish Press:

As Groll began talking over Bachman, demanding him to “tell me then, explore with me why is that a question of…” Bachman finally silenced her, by putting the situation in terms that she would be better able to understand.

He said, his voice becoming firmer and louder until Groll finally stopped talking: “To ask the question of whether a woman contributes to being raped is irrelevant altogether. I don’t think there is a provocation that the Jews are doing. They just exist.”

Bachman later explained, “I don’t think the journalist really had any idea that what she was asking was problematic. Her question was reflective of a particular view that is, unfortunately, widespread.”

Once the public heard the interview, an uproar ensued that has resulted in apologies from Swedish media and public officials.

Swedish parliamentarian Hanif Bali called the controversial question “disgusting and despicable,” posting on Facebook that “Jews bear responsibility for anti-Semitism is one of the oldest expressions of anti-Semitism. Public Service, yeah right.”

Sveriges radio published a public apology, stating they “unreservedly apologized for the question.”

Helena Groll called Bachman and apologized. The Israeli ambassador told The Jewish Press he “truly believed that she is now authentically, genuinely more aware of the situation and conscious of the dangers behind the kind of question she asked.”

Paul Miller is Executive Director of the Salomon Center. You can follow him @pauliespoint. This article was originally published by Breitbart.

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  • The Jews are to blame for antisemitism in the same way as the girl in the mini skirt is to blame for rape.

  • Jews are notably generous and helpful to others. Jews were a high percentage of the whites in the Civil Rights Movement. Israel was the very first country to set up a field hospital in Haiti after the earthquake there. Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan has recently spoken about Israel’s help in fighting Boko Haram.
    James Carroll wrote a book saying that an explanation for anti-Semitism is supersessionism. Three doctrines–Christianity, Islam and Marxism–split off from Judaism. They have to be anti-Semitic in order to justify their breaking away.

  • Lauren Goldman

    I live in San Francisco, and I was actually asked the same question; “Aren’t the Jews partly to blame for anti-Semitism?” The person’s body language and tone of speaking made me realize that things could only go bad from there, so I walked away. Lately, there seems to be an increase in openly anti-Semitic speech here.

    On the bright side, since I always wear a kippah, many people say “shalom” to me, and they are not Jewish. There are times when a person will have a question about Jews and/or Judaism and a pleasant conversation follows. With the way things are going these days (especially in Europe), these positive interactions help me to not get stuck in the negative.