Sweden Blacklists Israeli Envoy for Promoting ‘Hate Speech,’ Then Reverses Move
JNS.org – Sweden briefly blacklisted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman on Twitter on Wednesday as part of a broader ban on entities the Swedish government considered to be engaging in hate speech online.
The ban was put in place by the Swedish Institute, an agency operating under the authority of the Swedish Foreign Office. The move temporarily blocked some 14,000 users from using the Twitter handle @sweden, which is controlled by the Swedish Institute.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted that the ban was “crazy and shameful,” sarcastically calling it “democracy and pluralism at its best.”
Ambassador Bachman also blasted the ban.
“Now, that #Israel’s MFA and ambassador are blocked – #Sweden is much safer in reading Iran and others, that were not blocked,” Bachman wrote on Twitter.
In addition to Israel, the ban included the Twitter accounts of journalists, writers and politicians from the Sweden Democrats party.
Reacting to the backlash, the Swedish Institute removed the ban and said in a statement it “apologizes to those who have been blocked mistakenly.”
After Sweden reversed the ban and apologized, Nahshon tweeted sarcastically again, writing that he was “disappointed” he wasn’t blocked.
The Twitter controversy comes after Israeli-Swedish relations suffered their latest setback with Sweden’s decision this month to vote in favor of a UNESCO resolution rejecting Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem. Sweden, the only European Union country to support the measure, was sharply criticized by Israel over the vote. In 2014, the Swedish government became the first executive branch in the EU to recognize Palestinian statehood.