Anti-semitism: the Italy-Sweden controversy continues
7 September, 2009
During the discussion following the speech of Sweden Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, at the meeting of the EU member States' Foreign Affairs Committees, which was held today in Visby, Sweden, MP Fiamma Nirenstein, Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, asked the Minister to clarify his program for combating anti-semitism in Europe. The phenomenon is dramatically increasing, as demonstrated by the 2009 report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA): the study, which examined the trend from 2001 to 2008, has - in fact - demonstrated the rise of anti-semitism throughout Europe, and throughout Northern European countries as well. It's a phenomenon which can partly be explained as a consequence of the increasing tensions in the Middle East and as result of the recent global economic crisis.
Among the most significant episodes as of late, MP Nirenstein cited to Minister Bildt the article on
IDF killing Palestinians in order to traffic in their organs, published this August by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet , a report that the Swedish government refused to condemn.
MP Nirenstein told that the fight against anti-semitism is an essential priority in the continent where the Shoah was perpetrated, as well as emphasized that contemporary anti-semitism feeds on radical, anti-Israel prejudices: the moral clarity of Europe, and moreover its authoritativeness, cannot but reaffirm the priority in relation to the fight against this disease of the conscience.
Since Minister Bildt, in his response, has totally ignored the demand of a clear commitment against anti-semitism and has denied the attested growth of this phenomenon also in his area, and since he has felt the need to protest against a presumed "attempt of some countries to dictate to Sweden the content of its own newspapers, which is against the principle of free speech", Nirenstein declared: "I'm stunned that Bildt, after the authentic blood libel of the Swedish newspaper, ignored the occasion to firmly condemn anti-semitism. A condemnation that Sweden refused to express numerous times in these days"; a condemnation, she asserted, that "has nothing to do with limitations of free speech".
Hon. Fiamma Nirenstein
Vice-president Committee on Foreign Affairs, Italian Chamber of Deputies