15 October 2012

Somebody, please explain this to Swedish FM...

Because 1) I don't know no Swedish and 2) Even this article I have to translate from Hebrew, since I didn't find yet its English counterpart in the English version of Haaretz. So:

Yitzchak Bachman Lavie, Israeli ambassador to Sweden, was called for a reprimand by the Sweden Foreign Ministry. Swedes protested a publication of an article in Haaretz that quoted an anonymous source in Israeli Foreign ministry. The source claimed that Sweden opposes additional sanctions against Iran due to its economic interests.
Carl Bildt, Swedish FM, demanded of Israel explanations on what he defined as "anonymous slander" in the press from Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Senior sources in [Israeli] Foreign Ministry say that, according to the information that they obtained, Swedes are concerned with the fate of the huge deal between Tehran government and Swedish communication concern Ericsson.
That Ericsson story: true or false? Who knows, but the original article in Haaretz that lighted a fire under the Swedish FM's backside, says, between other things:
The Swedish communications giant has signed a series of agreements with government-owned company Irancell in recent years. Last October Bloomberg reported on Ericsson's supplying to Irancell communications technology that allows the tracking of cell phone users' whereabouts. According to the investigation, the Iranian regime used these systems to locate opposition activists.
For fairness sake, I can't say that Swedes are greedier than other countries who still keep trading with Iran or, for that matter, with many other repugnant regimes. However, to complete the picture:
Over the past week, pressure has been put on the Swedish government to drop its opposition to the new round of sanctions.

According to the Foreign Ministry official, the Stockholm embassies of Germany, France and Britain lodged a complaint at the Swedish Foreign Ministry. They gave examples of the effect of sanctions on the Iranian regime, but Swedish officials replied that sanctions only harm the Iranian people and do not change the government's decisions.
Anyway, the post is not about these gory details of Ericsson deal with Tehran, but about something else... just a sec, I shall look at the beginning of that post. Oh, yes: somebody with working Swedish: please explain to Mr Bildt that Haaretz is not a part of Israeli government but, rather, an independent media company and, as such, can (and does) publish whatever the heck it desires, while all the powers that be of the Israeli Foreign Office can't change a single letter in its edition.

This kind somebody might also draw Mr Bildt attention to the strange similarity of his ministry demarche to the protests of various Arab rulers lodged with European and other Western governments, when a newspaper publishes something that, in the ruler's opinion, insults this or another aspect of the Religion of Peace. Or summat...

Thanks anyway.

Update: And thanks to Peter for the timely reminder (in the comments to this post) on Mr Bildt's deep knowledge re freedom of the press.


peterthehungarian said...

Mr. Bildt wasn't ready to condemn the infamous Aftonbladet "Israelis kill Palestinians for their organs" article saying that Aftonbladet is an independent newspaper and the government hasn't any instrument to influence it's content.
The Israeli government and several US congresspersons condemned the article as baseless and incendiary, while noting the history of antisemitism and blood libels against Jews, and asked the Swedish government to denounce it. Stockholm refused, citing freedom of the press and the country's constitution. Swedish ambassador to Israel Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier condemned the article as "shocking and appalling", stating that freedom of the press carries responsibility, but the Swedish government distanced itself from her remarks.
A typical occurence of damaged short term memory combined with long term nostalgy for better times when killing Jews was much easier.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Thanks for the reminder, Peter, it was very timely.

Dick Stanley said...

Ah, but let some Swede produce a video for YouTube mocking Islam and I'll bet you'd see the government do a condemnation at the speed of light.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oh yes.