(JTA) — The European Jewish Congress accused Sweden’s foreign minister of being “borderline racist” after she linked the Paris terrorist attacks to perceived hopelessness among the Palestinians.
Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, leveled the accusation Monday following remarks Friday on Swedish television by Margot Wallstrom about the killing that day of more than 130 people in a series of attacks in the French capital. French President Francois Hollande said the attacks were planned by the Islamic State group in Syria.
Kantor said of the remarks by Wallstrom, “This is a deeply troubling worldview and borderline racist,” adding that she ignored “conflicts around the world involving Muslims and cherry-picks the only conflict involving Jews, as if to once again suggest, perhaps not consciously, the age-old idea that the Jews are always central to international affairs in a malevolent way.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry also reacted to the remarks with a harshly worded condemnation and summoned Sweden’s ambassador to Israel, Karl-Gustav Nesser, to clarify the issue.
During an interview for the SVT station, Wallstrom said, “To counteract the radicalization, we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”
The Swedish Embassy in Israel later said in a tweet that Wallstrom “has not said that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is linked to tragic events in Paris. Sweden condemns all acts of terrorism.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry in its statement said Wallstrom’s words “are appallingly impudent,” adding that Wallstrom “has consistently demonstrated bias against Israel and exhibits genuine hostility when she indicates a connection of any kind between the terrorist attacks in Paris and the complex situation between Israel and the Palestinians.”