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Swedish aid groups deny anti-Israel bias

Paul O'Mahony · 27 Aug 2009, 17:42

Published: 27 Aug 2009 17:42 GMT+02:00

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The Swedish groups' reactions come in response to a report published earlier this week by Israeli group NGO Monitor focusing on the aid activities of Swedish development organization Diakonia.

Formed in 1966 by an alliance of five Christian churches, Diakonia receives the majority of its funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), a state body that was also singled out for criticism in a June report from NGO Monitor.

"A lot of the groups sponsored by Diakonia and Sida are radical in their nature and rhetoric and do little or nothing to promote peace in the region. If anything, they serve to increase hostility," NGO Monitor spokesman Dan Kosky told The Local.

Funded by the Wechsler Family Foundation and private donors, NGO Monitor's stated goal "is to end the practice used by certain self-declared 'humanitarian NGOs' of exploiting the label 'universal human rights values' to promote politically and ideologically motivated anti-Israel agendas."

In its report on Diakonia, NGO Monitor accuses the Swedish humanitarian aid group of sponsoring organizations that are "among the most extreme anti-Israel NGOs operating the region, employing inflammatory and, at times, antisemitic rhetoric."

But Joakim Wohlfeil, Policy Officer at Diakonia, rejected the report as poorly researched and lacking in any real substance.

"We were asked by NGO Monitor to comment on the report and we even took the time to sit down with them. But looking into the report we found the quality of their work to be of a very low standard," Wohlfeil told The Local.

"We haven't seen any reason to engage in a debate that seems to have more to do with general disappointment on behalf of the settler movement than any genuine criticism. They don't differentiate between criticism of illegal settlements and criticism of Israel. All they want is for us to see things from the 'right' perspective."

Wohlfeil said Diakonia made no secret of the fact that it was critical of the occupation of disputed territories.

"But when it comes to groups like NGO Monitor it just seems they're disappointed that the whole world doesn't see things their way. They've never expected much from the Scandinavian countries, but with criticism coming from places like the US and UK, they feel really hemmed in and misunderstood. It's kind of sad really."

Sida was reluctant to be drawn into the specifics of reports from a group it regarded as biased and unreliable.

"We see them as an extreme group that does not accept international regulatory frameworks. As such, Sida does not regard their criticism as worthy of comment," spokeswoman Anette Widholm Bolme told The Local.

Story continues below…

Dan Kosky of NGO Monitor stood by his group's reports. Responding to the charge of extremism, Kosky said he did not wish to engage in name-calling with the Swedish aid groups.

"I think our research speaks for itself. It seems that Sida and Diakonia

have failed to respond to the substance of our report. If they really want to play a role in the region they need to seriously reconsider their funding procedures," he said.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

19:32 August 27, 2009 by xenu
wow, nobody is bothered to comment on this article.

pretty impressive of those readers who commented on that article that included open letter to Swedish citizens........
20:05 August 27, 2009 by reason
"Sida does not regard their criticism as worthy of comment"

And neither do the readers of The Local, it would seem.
20:27 August 27, 2009 by morkusrex
"Swedish humanitarian aid group of sponsoring organizations that are "among the most extreme anti-Israel NGOs operating the region, employing inflammatory "

Really doesn't sound that fetch. I like Sweden, but their government actions in the last week or so were shameful enough.
23:56 August 27, 2009 by Lea
Just to remind the readers: the now-famous Aftonbladet fiction writer Donald Boström has received substantial "aid" from Diakonia during his stay in Western Bank during the 90-s. Did his research give anything to the peace process? No. Does his article contribute to that. I seriously doubt that.

I only hope that people would read this report thoroughly and act accordingly.
02:17 August 28, 2009 by DumbFounded
Why should Swedes care?
03:16 August 28, 2009 by lingonberrie
Consider the source.
06:52 August 28, 2009 by Zonob
No body gives a rat's ass listening to this Zionist propaganda. Go Sweden Go!!!
07:04 August 28, 2009 by ilan
somthing you GOT to see !

Resurrection in Palestine

Poor Starving Gaza Palestinians at the Start of Ramadan

Child Abuse in Gaza, Hamas Terrorists Sponsored Pedophile Wedding"

British Colonel Declares The IDF Did More to Safeguard Civilians Than Any Other Army

Israel embraces Darfur

Cowardly IDF Soldier Saves Palestinian Girl Life

Female Homicide Bomber (suicide)

JUST google it !
08:23 August 28, 2009 by mysticbumwipe
Here for me is the crux of the article:

Regarding NGO monitor: Sida "...was reluctant to be drawn into the specifics of reports from a group it regarded as BIASED and UNRELIABLE."

And here is the reason, NGO monitor do not accept international LAWS.

So... Its not about 'racism' or furthering 'political' agendas. No, no, no.

It really IS about upholding the law, and supporting human rights for ALL without prejudice or bias.

Here is the qoute:

"We see them [NGO Monitor] as an extreme group that does not accept international regulatory frameworks. As such, Sida does not regard their criticism as worthy of comment,"

I think it a shame that the many Israeli supporters here do not seem to be able to imagine themselves in the shoes of the Palestinians and ask themselves how they would react to the treatemnt that Israel has been meting out to them for so many decades...

So here is a message to the the many Israeli supporters here: Please try to do that.

And please try to learn and then respect "international regulatory frameworks".
10:45 August 28, 2009 by Kooritze
I have many friends who have worked in Israel and all describe the attitudes in the jewish communities as arrogant, racist (especially against palestinians) and completely uncompromising. Swedish Aid groups try to do humanitarian work for those people in need as best they can.......based on an empathy for human suffering. Lately Israeli reaction has become absurd with shouts of racism and anti semitism. It all just goes to show the cynical and paranoid side of this nation.

Perhaps we are all starting to realise that this state is based on religeious fundamentalist views............Israelis are not an ethinic group.....but there is a religeous group within it who run the show who are the ones making all the noise.
12:59 August 28, 2009 by Iraniboy
Does this NGO reacted against these T-shirts used by IDF?

"1 Shot 2 Kills"

13:14 August 28, 2009 by Elias06
Sweden should expect bad days coming up ..when "god's chosen nation" is mad ...ask palestinian they can advise u better than me!!
13:24 August 28, 2009 by mehrdad1111
its a fact that your and mine tax money were used for a long time by the EU to finance direclt ythe terror of the al aqsa briganes of the fatach and its a fact that yours and my money is used by the EU to finance pali TV hate speech against jews and other anti jewish publications like school books in which israel even does not exist.

one need only to look at the personal of NGOs like HRW and AI and their history when it comes into dealing with israel to know how one sided anti-israeli they are.
16:35 August 28, 2009 by vladd777
Here again we have the lumping together of cultures.

The only way to a form of peace in the middle east is for all sides to respect one another's differences and to strive towards mutual goals which would benefit ALL people in the area.

When this starts to happen groups like sida and diakonia will become 'unemployed'.

Wonder how these'christian' groups will react should the very people they appear to support so fervently succeed in their ultimate aim.

17:03 August 28, 2009 by Meir
As an Israeli, who follows international news and newsmedia over 30 years, I have to conclude that Sweden is one of the most anti Israeli nations in Europe. I understand that you don't like this title, but this is just the conformation of yout nations behavour on all levels, personal, groupwise, political, newsmedia and others.

So you now what to do if oyu want a more favourarabl view from Israeli's towards you.

I accept that you can have other views that us, but ther singularity in which you all always condem us, shows us that behind this is more that just critic.
17:43 August 28, 2009 by peropaco
Meir, Is not that Swedes are anti Israelis or anti Jews. They are also anti Islam and I can even bet they look at the Muslims with more disdain. The Swedes are very strategic beast you know. Cowards, yet smart..!! They have all the Muslims living in marginalized areas or ghettos. Most of them live on welfare or they are shop owners; example, video joints, pizza store with Italian names etc. None withstanding this, the Swedes cannot pick a fight with the Muslims. No, no, no, why? Well, it is simple arithmetic's; the Muslims are more prone to violence and the Swedes know this. Consequently it is easier to pick a fight with the Jews as they know we will moan and groan but we will never dear to burn down Aftonbladet or hunt down the writer of the article and cut his neck like a castrated goat.
18:15 August 28, 2009 by mkvgtired
"the jewish communities as arrogant, racist"

Kooritze, and the Palestinian that blows up a bus full of Israelis isn't racist? I guess it is just a convenience factor. He has nothing against Jews, he just doesn't want to travel too far to mass murder people. Are you saying if given the chance that same suicide bomber would be just as likely to blow up a bus in Tehran, Cairo, or Riyadh?
20:08 August 28, 2009 by Leprehcaun
@ mkvtired

That is true but what others do to you doesn't justify what you do to others. Just because some Arabs are racists doesn't automatically make your racism against them any less racist. I still think that dinosaurs like you are in minority, your press seems to disagree with you and your fanatical right wing party.

Calling Swedes anti-semitic and neo-nazis when it isn't true is also racist. You're a racist. Or stup1d.. So is peropaco. Meir.. I don't understand him. He's lying about what he is reading or confused or has gotten this wrong. Maybe he has never been to Sweden, he has no idea what he is talking about. Saying that e.g. G.W.B. has done a bad job doesn't make you anti-American and you Israelis are very quick to call anyone who quotes someone who thinks that the IDF MIGHT have done something wrong as an anti-semite.

When a teenager (there is some confusion about his age, I've heard 15 and 19) disappears, gets killed, delivered home by a military escort in the middle of the night and has a big Y-section on his chest something is very wrong. But naturally your government screams NAZIS! to make it all go away, so that all credibility is lost and no one even considers to investigate what happened that night. A teen was killed and an "autopsy"-like procedure was preformed on him. The only ones who wants him dead are IDF soldiers. Now tell me, how can someone immediately say that it is impossible that the IDF did it?
20:45 August 28, 2009 by hsig
Just as the Berlin Culture Centre's decision to remove educational panels of the former grand Mufti of Jerusalem --Hajj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini portrayed together with Hitler and known as an S.S. functionary who participated in the holocaust is an obvious ploy to appease its muslim citizens, so too Sweden kowtows to its burgeoning Islamic population . Does the average Swede comprehend that his\her own culture and values are gradually being undermined --eventually even obliterated by its submisiveness to vociferous anti-semitic hatefilled media and government sponsored adherence to the enemies of freedom and democracy, whose aim is to enforce Sharia law world wide either forcefully or through anhilation as propogated by Ahmindinijad and his Iranian side-kicks.Does the average Swede fully comprehend the large financial contribution made by its government servicing and propogating terrorist ideology through so-called "peace movements" so reminicent of former Soviet inspired naive peacniks?

Gish - Israel
21:17 August 28, 2009 by Leprehcaun
No. Swedes definitely not understand that. At least no one who is sane. "We" do understand that statements like that are ridiculous and not true, that that is real propaganda, real lies. Swedes will be antisemitic and Sharia law.. hehe.. will be enforced when the skies are purple, I get an IG (when I fail) a course in school, when hell is created, frozen, unfrozen and frozen again. Then and only then. We are however anti-people-like-you, no matter what religion or nation you claim yourself to belong to.
09:49 August 29, 2009 by Uncle
Meanwhile - rockets are falling on Israel and the local and Aftonbladet are quiet again

Every time it happens I will write it here, regardless of discussion, to dilute a bit the muslim propaganda.
13:42 August 29, 2009 by farnoxo
And so what if Sweden has an anti-Israel bias! Everyone seems fine if international agencies have a bias against other repressive nations (Zimbabwe, Souht Africa under the apartheid govt., China etc.). Maybe supporters of Israel should start to wake up to the realisation that Israel is, in fact, a nation that is engaged in actively oppressing a minority. Whichever way, whatever rhetoric is thrown about, this is the cold, hard fact!

And then when we get "oh take pity on me" comments like "Meanwhile - rockets are falling on Israel ". In South Africa after the first multi-racial 1994 elections - the "terrorist" bombings by Umkhonto We Sizwe stopped - funny that! In Northern Ireland after the peace efforts over the last 10 years the bombings in Northern Ireland and England have essentially stopped - funny that!

Maybe if the state of Israel actually committed themselves to peace then maybe the rockets would stop there too!
16:06 August 29, 2009 by Rick Methven
There seems to be a push here on the part of the Israeli supporters to paint Swedes as racists, just because Sweden will not buckle under the pressure from their tirades and condemn the Aftonbladet story. We now get enticement to go out and attack Muslim immigrants to Sweden to protect Swedish women from being raped by all these immigrants.

Apart from the far right minority, Swedes in general are not racist. My son who is adopted, and looks like he could come from either the Middle East or Asia, has had much fewer racial attacks since we moved to Sweden that he did when we lived in England .

Swedes, have for most of the 20th century been isolated from immigrants, Africans and Asians did not emigrate to Sweden when they could go to their former colonial masters countries - Britain, France, Holland , Belgium Portugal. Sweden never had any colonies. I remember a visit from my wife's Swedish niece ( then 12) to us in Paris in 1980 being amazed by the number of black people - she had never seen one in her small Swedish town

Most immigrants to Sweden, today get assimilated into communities and live side by side with native born Swedes. The greater influx of immigrants has made Sweden a much more vibrant and interesting place to live, culturally and culinary.

The biggest problem of racial tension is often between different immigrant ethic groups - Iraqis vs Iranians or Kurds. Not attacks on the native Swedes and raping our women.

Israel on the other hand is institutionally racist on several levels. The immigrants to Israel after 1948 came from Europe, survivors of the concentration camps and ghettos. They hated the Goyim under who they had suffered. They hated all Arabs and Blacks who they perceived as their enemies.

In Israel they found that there already existed Semitic Jews who had never left the region or who had returned from places such as the Yemen. In the 1980's Israel was the biggest supporter of Apartheid South Africa even feting John Vorster who the British had interned as a Nazi sympathiser. Why?, because Israel saw the Apartheid model as a way of protecting Jews of Israel from the non Jews within their borders.

Today Israel, dominated by European Jews, treats the Indigenous Semitic Jews with disdain,, practices apartheid towards the Israel Arabs who are second class citizens, and has a nice big ghetto called Gaza. As Leprechaun said when peace talks took place with the Irish and discrimination against the Catholic minority ceased, the bombs stopped. If Israel allowed building material into Gaza to repair the horrific damage done by the IDF, then maybe the Rockets would stop . Worth a try?

Any way to quote the bible/torah to all you Jewish/Israeli posters who accuse Sweden of being Racist

" Cast the mote from your own eye before that of your neighbors"
17:09 August 29, 2009 by mehrdad1111
@Rick Methven:

you live in sweden or in a fantasy world?

80% of the rapists in skandinavia are muslims. and just go to malmö rosengarden or any other big suburb to see the dark future of sweden when the number of muslims continue to grow at such a rate.

its realy sarcastic that you claim that muslims in sweden are assimilated..they are not..they are not assimilated in sweden, not in norway, not in denmark, not in france, not in netherlands, not in belgium, not in germany....

but you have nothing better to do then to call israel with its 20% arabs an apartehdi state while nearly all muslim countries are real existing apartheid states which are "judenrein".
17:48 August 29, 2009 by Rick Methven
On behalf of All Swedes and Muslims living in Sweden, I demand comdemnation of mehrad111 for his outright lies. Where is your proof that 80% of rapes in Sweden are carried out by Muslims??.

The only diiference between Apartheid South Africa and Israel is that the second class citizen in Israel is the minority Arab while in South Africa is was the majority Blacks.

Do not Incite racial hatred in Sweden by blatant lies. It will come back to bite you.
18:06 August 29, 2009 by vladd777
To tell you the truth, I have never heard one 'genuine' Swede speak nastily about Jews in all the 23 years I have lived in Sweden!

It seems to me that so-called 'activists' are the ones causing all the controversy!

I'm sure that if Jews and Muslims were allowed to share the Holy Land without the interference of political extremists who hide behind their 'religion' they would find a way to do so.
21:15 August 29, 2009 by erez

didnt know how hate sweeden have towards israel.

no matter what, you just hate us.

nice ppl u r.
09:34 August 30, 2009 by SFSister
Hard to trace the roots of all the hate. Did it begin with the Hebron Massacre of 1929, where based on a lie spread by Arabs, other Arabs massacred Jews who had been living in the region for 3000 years? That episode spawned the forerunners of the IDF. Sorry guys; it wasn't a bunch of swaggering Israelis trying to show how tough they were. It was self-defense.

The hate continues with the Israelis, who respond to hate with violence, fed up as they are with demonization by the Europeans and the Muslim world.

Remember that it was the Arabs who categorically refused the U.N.'s two-state solution in 1948, not the Israelis. Now, everyone who wants peace (including myself) sees this as the only solution. But then we find Nizzar Rayyan, the Hamas leader who was killed by the Israelis, telling the Atlantic writer Jeff Goldberg, when Goldberg asked if he could envision a 50-year hudna (or cease-fire) with Israel: 'The only reason to have a hudna is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don't need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel.' There is no chance, he said, that true Islam would ever allow a Jewish state to survive in the Muslim Middle East. 'Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God... You [Jews] are murderers of the prophets and you have closed your ears to the Messenger of Allah.... Jews tried to kill the Prophet, peace be unto him. All throughout history, you have stood in opposition to the word of God.'" Does that sound like the rhetoric of a peace-loving victim to you?

I belong to J Street, a pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian Jewish peace organization that works to bring the two-state solution to reality, often side-by-side with Palestinian groups. I've decided there are two kinds of people in the Middle East as there are everywhere else -- not Jews and Arabs, but people who believe in peace and people who believe in violence. I'm not terribly optimistic but I dare to hope, in spite of the vitriol I see in some of these posts.
09:39 August 30, 2009 by dafdaf
we jews have the most powerful backing behind us. Our God.
12:23 August 30, 2009 by Rick Methven
Boy oh boy is God busy today just in Sweden.

With Christians, Muslims and Jews all calling him to back them against the rest.

If gods backing is given to those in majority then sorry dafdaf but the result is

1st Place: Christians - 7 million votes

2nd place: Muslims - half a million votes

3rd place: Jews 18,000 votes
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