100 Jewish communities strongly condemn Sweden’s UNESCO vote
The World Jewish Congress, representing more than 100 Jewish communities worldwide, sent a letter yesterday to Margot Wallström strongly condemning Sweden’s support for the anti-Israel UNESCO resolution, which the WJC called “a distorted, dangerous and illegitimate revision of history.”
Enclosed is the letter by the WJC in Yiddish, an official language in Sweden, which is very much identified with the Jewish minority. Below is the English translation:
Dear Minister Margot Wallström,
The World Jewish Congress, representing more than 100 Jewish communities worldwide, strongly condemns the UNESCO Executive Board’s decision taken on May 2nd 2017, coinciding with the 69th Independence Day of the State of Israel, to deny Israeli sovereignty and jurisdiction over Jerusalem.
The decision is a distorted, dangerous and illegitimate revision of history which serves only as bait for adversaries of Israel seeking to undermine the right of the Jewish people to its self-determination, as well as to deny its historic and religious links to Jerusalem.
It is deeply worrying that Sweden, a Western democratic county, voted in favour of this outrageous decision. As the only EU country to support this decision, Sweden continues to stand out as one of the most one-sided critics of Israel in the free and democratic world.
The Swedish government, in its official explanation for supporting UNESCO’s decision, states that “since the EU unfortunately has not been able to stay united, and since Sweden believes the current text is acceptable, Sweden has voted in favour.” Thus, instead of standing side-by-side with EU nations of similar democratic values such as Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Greece and Lithuania, Sweden’s yes-vote joins some of the world’s most notorious human rights abusers, such as Iran, Pakistan, Qatar and Sudan.
Although Sweden regularly positions itself as a staunch defender of equality, freedom of speech and LGBT rights, there is seemingly a blind spot when it comes to its treatment of the State of Israel. Furthermore, by continuously singling out and condemning only one side, Sweden is playing a counterproductive role in the strive for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The World Jewish Congress urges Sweden to vote against similar UNESCO decisions in the future and to do everything in its power to rectify this effort and enable a balanced view of Israel at the United Nations and its agencies. We remain at your service for a personal meeting to further discuss this crucial issue.
CEO World Jewish Congress