Day: March 12, 2009

Neither calm nor peaceful

In a debate on the spread of anti-Semitism among the political left in Sweden, Svenska Dagbladet‘s Per Gudmundson has responded to Left Party leaders who marched under Hamas flags in Malmö last Saturday as they took part in an anti-Israel demonstration outside the closed Davis Cup tennis tournament, and defended their actions afterwards (my translation):

It is being said that the “Stop the Match” demonstration in Malmö was sabotaged by a few troublemakers, and that the protest was really an expression of peaceful criticism of Israel. “Other participants behaved in an exemplary manner,” wrote  Dagens Nyheter. There is reason to doubt it. Open anti-Semitism was visible In “Stop the match” – and the video recordings show it.

In the part of the demonstration that marched under the green flag of Hamas a well-known anti-Semitic chant was repeatedly heard:

‘Khaybar, Khaybar, ya yahoud, jaish Muhammad saufa ya’ud ” translates as “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, Muhammad’s army will return “. The verse alludes to a battle in 629 AD, when a Muslim army under Muhammad’s command captured the mainly Jewish oasis of Khaybar. With insignificant losses the prophet crushed the numerically superior Khaybar army and forced the inhabitants into submission. A few years later the surviving Jews were driven out completely.

The chant, which is aimed specifically against Jews and not against the State of Israel, is common in the Middle East. The fact of its being shouted under the flags of Hamas is to be expected. Hamas is an anti-Semitic movement that refers to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in its charter. This is well known even to people who don’t know Arabic.

In his speech to the demonstrators on Saturday, Lars Ohly deplored the criticism of “Stop the match” as an attempt to “associate the strong, grass-roots protest with extreme acts of violence and anti-Semitism.” In the aftermath, the Left Party has found itself in the wrong  where the riots are concerned. A blind eye is turned to anti-Semitism. In the party’s statement it says that the “riots ruined a completely calm and peaceful demonstration.”

Ohly ought to explain why he thinks that slogans which explicitly threaten ethnic cleansing and the slaughter of Jews are “calm and peaceful” criticism of Israel.

See also: Anti-Israel rally in Sweden turns violent