US/World News

Swedish far-right party moves to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

(JTA) – The Sweden Democrats, a right-wing populist party, submitted a draft motion urging their government to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital. Bjorn Soder, a former leader and current lawmaker for the Sweden Democrats, submitted the draft motion to the Riksdag, or parliament, on Thursday, Sept. 27. It would be read as a nonbinding resolution.

Sweden’s Sept. 9 election left the center-left bloc, whose policy on Israel was one of the most hostile in the European Union, with just one seat more than the center-right Alliance, with the Sweden Democrats as the third biggest group. Subsequently, the Social Democrat former prime minister Stefan Lofven ended his term amid attempts to set up a governing coalition. Amid popular discontent over Sweden’s far-reaching immigration policy and relative openness to immigrants from Muslim countries, the anti-Islam Sweden Democrats dramatically increased their share of the vote, clinching about 18 percent compared to 12.9 percent in the previous election.

Whereas it has maintained a favorable attitude toward the Jewish state, the party has a long and problematic record vis-à-vis members’ attitudes to the Jewish people. Ahead of the elections, regional politicians from Sweden Democrats were caught making antisemitic statements online, including Per Olsson, who represents the party on the City Council of Oskarshamn earlier this year posted a picture of Frank captioned “coolest Jew in the shower room” on the Russian social network VKontakt, the Expressendaily reported. Raghu Jacobsen, who represents the party on the City Council of Stenungsund in western Sweden, wrote on Twitter: “As long as Rothschild controls the economy and with the modern slavery on this planet, there will be anti-Semitism. #Jews #israel.”

Martin Sihlén, representing the Sweden Democrats in Örkelljunga, in Sweden’s south, wrote on Facebook that “Hitler wasn’t so bad” and he “did not lie about Jews.” He also wrote that “international Jewry is thirsting for destroying Europe. It was ultimately not Germany who started the Second World War, it was the Jews.”

CAP: Supporters of the far-right Sweden Democrats party react to exit polls in Stockholm on September 9, 2018. (AFP Photo/TT News Agency/Anders Wiklund)

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