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Should the Nazi flag have a place in Sweden's Christmas traditions?

The Local · 21 Dec 2011, 15:48

Published: 21 Dec 2011 15:48 GMT+01:00

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Should it be there?

On Christmas Eve, it seems as if nearly every television set in Sweden is turned in to the Sveriges Television (SVT) broadcast of 'Sagan om Karl-Bertil Jonssons Julafton' ('The story of Karl-Bertil Jonsson's Christmas Eve').

Made in 1975, the animated movie follows a Robin Hood style theme whereby a young Karl-Bertil Jonsson takes packages destined for wealthy Stockholmers and instead hands them out to the city's poor and destitute, much to the dismay of his father.

Karl-Bertil's angry father takes his son around town to apologize in a taxi cab featuring an antenna decorated with string of small flags which wave in the breeze as the boy and his father ride about town.

Included among the flags and clearly visible is the flag of Nazi Germany.

As the story is set in Sweden during World War II, including the Nazi flag does lend to the programme's historical accuracy, some might argue.

However, considering the programme was created in the mid-1970s, one could also question whether or not it was really necessary to include such a provocative symbol in a Christmas programme aimed at children.

Story continues below…

What do you think?

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Your comments about this article

18:12 December 21, 2011 by Karloskar
Only in Sweden would something like this be allowed....it's outrageous. Nazi symbols have NO place at Christmas or any other time of year. They should either stop showing the show or go in and edit out the flag....
21:33 December 21, 2011 by RobinHood
If swastikas flew in Sweden in WW2, then that,s a historical fact - like it, or not. Censoring them is....... well, it,s censorship. The Nazis liked censorship - ironic, or what? Leave them in as a reminder to Swedes to be more careful about choosing their friends in difficult times.
00:35 December 22, 2011 by King Eric IIV
I've often debated the flag in question over Christmas since the first time I visited Sweden. I was surprised that I was the only one to notice it but then perhaps I'm more aware of it coming from Blighty.

Whilst I'm sure Messrs Åhlin and Danielsson were making some sort of subliminal statement, I am, however, as yet to receive a concrete explanation as to what that might be. Perhaps something on the class system in Sweden.

I've often been told that the story it is based, as the article states, during the Second World War but then why are Japan's and Italy's flags post war flags and didn't Swedish TV only start broadcasting in the mid fifties?

Maybe someone in the know can enlighten us.
04:22 December 22, 2011 by Da Goat
it is not actually a Nazi symbol it has pre-dated them by aeons!
08:18 December 22, 2011 by jostein
"He who controls the past, controls the future" is a Party slogan to live by!
10:05 December 22, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
It's a historical cartoon set in WWII, so it makes sense there is a Nazi flag. We also fought the Nazi's so we could have freedom of speech and expression, do you suggest we reign that in?

Those of you advocating to remove the historical reference from the cartoon remind me of a similar group in the 1930s in Germany who wanted to remove another group from their history, libraries, culture, etc. They burned destroyed Jewish books, you are suggesting doing the same by editing films that have certain nations flags in it? Should we remove all Japanese and Italian flags as well then since they were part of the Axis?

So which of you is right? Funny how we become what we hate eh.
11:24 December 22, 2011 by King Eric IIV
I certainly would not advocate air-brushing history. I found it particularly objectionable when the classic British film 'The Dam Busters' was (years later) post-edited to change the name of the black Labrador (to Trigger). This only gives future generations a false impression of society during that time.

What I would like to know is what the flag is supposed to symbolise? There must have been some reason for its inclusion. If it is a reflection of society during the War then how could the family watch 'Lilla helgonet' on a television set? Was there a tv channel broadcasting during the '40's? I was told that Sweden got its first TV corporation in the mid '50's. Perhaps this is just an historical inaccuracy.
11:27 December 22, 2011 by BrittInSweden
They shouldn't edit something that has been created decades ago just to be politically correct.

It is an animation, not Nazi propaganda
11:37 December 22, 2011 by rise
If the makers of the film have put a swastika in some scene then, yes, it should be there! Already people wants to censor books from for example Astrid Lindgren. Who's the next target of censorship? Maybe Vilhelm Moberg who wrote the The Emigrants Series, a classical series of four books about when Sweden weren't a country of immigration but emigration. Why censor it then? Well, he is using the word "neger".

Personally I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this kind of witch-hunt against artists from the past!
12:28 December 22, 2011 by jostein
#4 Da Goat

The swastika in itself is an ancient magical symbol with no sinister meaning.

But apparently, the picture in this animation is of a nazi flag and that IS sinister.

Furthermore, the swastika might be well and good to use by for example an iranian or an indian. But to us germanic people its been tainted. Which is another crime by Hitler and the nazis. So if you like old symbols and mourn the death of the swastika, bring your complaints to them.
12:46 December 22, 2011 by Kevin Harris
Before the war, and even in its early years, Swedes really did fly swastikas. The animators probably put the swastika in because they wanted to tell us that. Back then, many Swedes felt the Nazis to be a jolly fine thing, or were at least neutral towards them. We don't know how Karl-Bertil's dad felt, but clearly he didn't object to flying the swatiska, amongst other flags, on his car. Like most Swedes back then, he probably wasn't fully aware about what was going on in Germany. Like most Swedes, if he had been aware, he would have been horrified. Swastikas in Sweden had mostly disappeared by the end of the war. Partly because it was clear Germany was going to lose, and partly because the truth about the Nazis was becoming apparent.

Well done the Swedish animators for bravely uncovering an inconvenient piece of history most Swedes would rather hide away and forget.
13:10 December 22, 2011 by Streja
It would be good to include information about who made the cartoon. It would answer a lot of our dear expats' questions. They were not Nazis actually.
13:28 December 22, 2011 by gabeltoon
Is it not true that nazis symbols are against the law in europe?? The swastika may be an ancient symbol but it became a symbol of hatred and fear for millions of people.Even as far back as the 70's the world was changed to promote LOVE and PEACE. Why would anyone want to bring that symbol to the attention of the young of this time "THE 21ST CENTURY". We should never forget what happened during that horrible time but it is history and thats where it should stay. STOP DRAGGING THE PAST WITH YOU AS WE ADVANCE INTO THE 21ST CENTURY. The tv companies should be showing the children what CHRISTMAS means. You may say that it is history too but we are christians and we celebrate in this manner. HAVE A MERRY WINTER FEST.
15:20 December 22, 2011 by Jannik
This just shows how hysterical the times have become. In 1975, at a time which was closer to the second world war, this was less controversial, and the outcries far fewer.

But in todays PC climate censoring and demonization has become the norm. Lets edit Tintin and Pippi longstockings so that we dont offend any one. In fact people have the "right" not to be offended by anything.

This cultural marxist stranglehold on public debate and opinion will hopefully soon come to an end.
15:43 December 22, 2011 by ithinkimtink
When you raise your kids openly and answer all their questions, inform them, you can rely on them becoming informed and balanced adults. Censorship is not part of that in my opinion :)

And on another note, I don't think some flag in a tv show will raise many questions with kids that have not yet been in contact with the whole Nazi story.
16:08 December 22, 2011 by Central European
Strange, so in all movies, where soldiers are fighting angaist the Nazi forces is necessary to delete all the svastika on their tanks, stukas, M-109 and kriegsmarine ships.

We also have to kindly ask all indians and people who use their mirror happines svastika to change.

Even more any movie about romans should be cenzored to delete svastika from their legions standarst.

I do also suggest to delete all vikings "es" runes couse of SS forces, destroy the edelweiss flowers and its pictures couse nazi Alp SS division was using it !

Skull pictures must be forbidden due to SS Totenkopf insignia.......
16:08 December 22, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
The answer is OF COURSE NOT ! Not even for the sake of verisimilitude.

The symbolism of the Nazi flag flying in the Christmassy atmosphere of peace on earth and goodwill to all men might just give the susceptible young Swedish mind the wrong association by having the Nazi flag flying in the wrong context. I would go as far as to say that even if Karl-Bertil Jonsson's Christmas eve saga were to be set in historic Norway during Germany's Nazi times when Norway was also being ruled by Vidkun Quisling, the most hated Norwegian - the flag ought not fly for the same reason.

Yesterday evening, Mark Brzezinski, Brother Obama's new American ambassador to Sweden, lit the starter candle and passed it on to one of the world's holocaust survivors who lit the first Hanukkah candle at the Hanukkah celebration at Kungsträdgården in his short speech - ( his father was a Raoul Wallenberg type of person who also saved countless Jewish lives when he was Poland's Counsel in 1930s Germany ) -. Mr Brzezinski mentioned a young Jewish Fullbright scholar who recently arrived in Sweden and said that he was feeling so very welcome here since he could see so many candles burning bright in so many menorahs and chanukiahs lighting up the darkness from the windows in most of the Swedish houses and apartments ( he probably thought that he was in the New Jerusalem) - but of course these are Swedish Christmas lighting traditions and Christmas decorations - and of course as far from Nazi flags flying from the country's rooftops which would have given the opposite impression to the newly arrived Fullbright Scholar.

Very relevant, check this out:

17:40 December 22, 2011 by Jannik
@Cornelius Hamelberg

Please spare us the holocaust theology. Christmas has nothing to do with atrocities commited during the second world war. This holocaust guilt trip has already affected way to many aspects of modern culture.
17:59 December 22, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
There was a time when Hitler and his policies were highly regarded by Europeans and others.

That fact is never mentioned at all.

Hitler said "it is the winners that write history", he knew what he was talking about.
18:24 December 22, 2011 by Douglas Garner
Many of you are speaking of the Nazi emblem as a thing of the past... but this just isn't the case! This symbol of hatred is held in sacred regard by many supremist groups.

Similarly, many hold the flag which represented the southern states as a symbol of the south past and present, a symbol of the south from the american civil war, and by some, a symbol of current hatred and bigotry.

Should these all be erased from view... why bother? Hate groups will either go "underground" with them hence giving them even more power and mystic, or just come up with a new symbol! Bigots... for the most part, persons who love their fellow man should just ignore them! A bit like the old saying about... why wrestle in the mud with a pig? The pig likes it, and you just get dirty!
20:59 December 22, 2011 by dizzymoe33
The story takes place during WWII then it should be allowed because that flag was a part of that time period. I am so tired of everything be politically correct. Thank goodness I grew up in the 70's when things were so politically correct that I can actually take it with a grain of salt when some one is not so politically correct today. I won't stand for certain behaviors or treatment of people but come on people there are more things that are important that this flag debate. I am sure the family that has no food or home really care about a flag being shown in a cartoon.

Merry Christmas and God Jul to you all!
21:22 December 22, 2011 by shard
@Cornelius Hamelberg

it seems orthodox Jews are no less inclined to cite the bible to propagate their disgusting tenets:


it is a credit to secular israel that these monsters who would justify the murder of innocent babies are being brought to task, though sad to read they have support among the wider population too.

@Gamla Hälsingebock

not just Europeans either;


Personally, whilst I find all that the nazis stood for nauseating, I do not feel history should be cleansed of reference to them. If we do not learn of their despicable acts, are we not that much more likely to repeat them?

The very fact that this subject has brought Sweden's role (or lack of it) into focus and discussion is a good thing.

I never shy from reminding my children that they should be proud of their forebears from one nation who fought against the nazis in possibly the only 'good' war in history, and reflective about those from the Swedish side who did not.
10:13 December 23, 2011 by Kemi

Oh really? Not in movies such as the schindlers list or documentaries about WWII? Wow, finally someone with principals!

Except that you have a very childish attitude toward history. Or have you invented a time machine that allows you to erase history?

This is a stupid non-issue, modifying art work for political correctness, no matter to whose interest, would put you on the same side with all the dictators in the history.
11:30 December 23, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg

This is not about "holocaust theology"

Or merely about all that happened as a result of Nazi ideology.

Search your conscience well and please tell us in all honesty

What function does the Swastika & the Nazi Flag serve flying on your Christmas tree?

A Merry Christmas to thee...

14:59 December 23, 2011 by Chickybee
It's a children's film set in the past - get a grip - talk about psychological projection and paranoia!
15:57 December 23, 2011 by shard

"What function does the Swastika & the Nazi Flag serve flying on your Christmas tree? "

ignorant and baseless comments like that do not serve your cause.

You should be careful what you wish for. If we are to abolish anything related to the nazis from history, and entertainment in particular, then how shall you expect future generations to be taught about - and so think on with disgust - the atrocities they carries out.

And by attempt to carry out such cleansing, don't you see you become a supporter of totalitarian fascist tactics? Oh, the irony.

Thankfully there's youtube to show us the clip that's so preyed on peoples' minds;


much ado about nothing. I think chickybee summed it up nicely.

Back to current obscenities, let's talk about the Bethlehem Wall, what?

Happy Hannukah to thee!
16:38 December 23, 2011 by tadchem
Does anybody seriously believe that a glimpse or two of a cartoon of a small Nazi flag, in a historical context (as one of many flags decorating a 1940's taxi) is a serious threat to civil order, and will corrupt the youth by creating a new Nazi movement?

Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," but he likely was not confronted with the special kind of fool who chooses the course of willful ignorance.
18:22 December 23, 2011 by guliver
First I want to wish all Christians merry Christmas and happy new year.

The Swedish people specialy and the European people are democratic enough to decide if they wish to see the Svastika again over their heads.

There is a big difference between studing the 2WW history and what happened in Europe through books, TV programs Films where you can learn about Nazi Germany and you can see the Nazi slogan ,Propaganda ecc, or going to right extremists demonstration where the Nazi flag is raised up.

any way it is interesting to ask the film producer if he was aware to that flag and if the answer is yes what was his reason.

Sweden was a country which saved the Danish Jews in the 2WW ,

my fother self was saved by the Swedish Counsul in Strasburg,so I do have a lote of Credit to these people.

22:20 December 23, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
It's that one item, the Nazi's swastika-emblazoned flag to seen flapping in the wind for that microsecond ( "a glance or two") that sticks in the eye. Some people just don't like seeing that flag, that's all. It brings back unpleasant memories. I'm sure that both "tadchem" and Santayana would probably agree with each other that Christianity really has nothing in common with Nazism - and that a glance or two at that flag would be unlikely to overturn or pose "a serious threat to civil order" in Sweden - but just one glance could bring back fond memories to some and thereby further "corrupt the youth" who are already in the Nazi movement - and perhaps attract /recruit others to the cause, believing that their boss was a good Christian just because he claimed to be associated to Jesus. Or celebrated his birthday.

OK, so in the middle of the Merry Christmas a child asks mum & dad, "What flag is that?"

How do the not so ignorant and baseless "shard" & "Chickybee" begin to explain to the young he or she, him and her, under the Christmas tree?

Go ahead and tell us, briefly, so that we do not repeat the mistakes of history
23:47 December 23, 2011 by shard

"OK, so in the middle of the Merry Christmas a child asks mum & dad, "What flag is that?" "

have you even seen the clip in question? I refer you to the link above. Anyone, let alone a child, who would happen to notice the Nazi flag in that briefest of glimpses I would either have to wonder if they had an agenda or had otherwise had their visual acuity ameliorated as a result of autism or the like.

You run the dangerous risk of crying wolf, by promulgating innocuous (and perhaps as in this case, historically and contextually accurate) references to nazi germany, and thus alienating potential allies when their help might be required in a true hour of need.

if the authors of the piece on the other hand *did* have their own nefarious reasons for inserting that minutest of glimpses, then I would side with you. Provide me with proof of their intent, and I am with you. Fail to provide it, then I am against you.

But whilst we are on the subject of repeating the mistakes of history, what do you say to the orthodox rabbis who would like to promote the concept of justified killing of innocent babies - referenced above - thus providing fodder for the mindless right wing loonies willing to jump on the chance of saying that the 'blood libel' may have some foundation in truth? What do you say to the jewish child who asks you about this during Hanukkah? Do you tell the child these rabbis have their reading of the torah wrong, and are dangerously misguided?

on the other subject broached above, whilst we are at it, it wasn't only europeans, japanese and americans willing to work with the nazis, for let us have a look at how lehi (otherwise known as the Stern group) where only too willing to fight on the nazis side and attempt to oust the british from palestine in the war. The little terrorist runt yitzak shamir and his cohorts were only too willing to form an alliance with those monsters. One cannot really imagine how incredibly naive, or stupid, they must have been. Really, to have been a part of a nazi plan to form the 'perfect' concentration camp in israel?

I would be genuinely interested to hear your opinions on these two points.
03:22 December 24, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
I'll be posting my polite rejoinder to you through my blog and hope that it gets through as I do not see my remarks contravening the Local's guideslines in any way :
08:49 December 24, 2011 by Lavaux
Why shouldn't the Nazi flag be in the film? After all, the film presents a very socialist theme, and the Nazis were socialists ... just with a few German variations. Indeed, the film's theme could easily be adapted to a German socialist context by substituting rich Jews for rich Stockholmers. Young Karl-Bertil's assessment of who deserved Christmas presents was obviously superior to fate's, particularly because his was founded in the moral bedrock of compassion and social justice. Right?
09:34 December 24, 2011 by viennacalling
to not acknowledge this flag shows that a society is in total denial of a party in history, this flag represented the National Arbieten (workers) Party

the so called winners of wars write history the way they choose

if you research the true history from the early 1920's most people would be draw another conclusion

Merry Cristmas my Friends !
12:07 December 24, 2011 by guliver

I do not understand how from a pure Swedish question which deals with the Nazi flag and education of Swedish children,the film is Swedish and deals about Sweden during the 2WW,you come over in distance of 3000km and in time of 70 years, to the Israeli Palestinian conflict,there is no connection between what the article deals and what you writes.

I live in Israel and I do not know Rabbies who ask for killing innocents,there are criminals in both sides and the law deal with them ,weather they are Arabs or Jews
13:51 December 24, 2011 by Frank Arbach
The Nazi flag IS appropriate to Sweden.

Swedish people seem (from my observation) to believe they must always 'come first', and think nothing of barging you out the way in the street (something that chimes in with the Nazi idea of trampling over anyone who gets in your way?). Add to that, Swedes seem to believe in their superiority over other nationalities.

On top of that, the IKEA founder was revealed to have a Nazi past - and further, Sweden supported Nazi Germany in WWII by allowing passage via its rail network, to the Wehrmacht, who later conquered their neighbours, Norway. The British were refused this.
14:10 December 24, 2011 by shard

the whole point of this thread is that people should learn from history, the light and dark of it, so that hopefully we don't make the same mistakes going forward.

Whilst some here create much fuss over what I believe a reasonable person would perceive as inconsequential, there are real re-occurrences of the darker side of history going on. In israel you have the anschluss of the palestinian lands, pogroms against a people living in poverty in state-imposed ghettoes, and the bethlehem wall, amongst other things.

Sadly, there is also a resurgence of the far right (and let's not kid ourselves, they never went away, just perhaps into hiding), and their despicable goals are being aided by at best ambivalence towards the state of israel, but more and more antipathy, as a result of these practices. This is a sad indictment of the policies of the israeli governments of the last 45 years, that much of the 'goodwill' that came out of the appalling acts of violence and mass murder from the holocaust has been squandered for what? Land grabbing? It is difficult to deny that israel is not seen as the good guy in the israeli-palestine conflict, and unfortunately I think it will take many years to regain that respect, even if a solution to the conflict is reached.

and on the subject of learning and education, it seems your lack of knowledge about the rabbis who are attempting to justify the killing of innocent children is proof positive of my point. Please check the bbc link in comment #22 above. The rabbis Lior and Yousef were detained for questioning by police over their endorsement of the book (written by other rabbis) that promotes that disgraceful tenet amongst others.

Simply because you do not know of these rabbis does not mean they do not exist or have been reported on.

Do not delude yourself that I may be blind to the criminals from the other side too, for example those that call for the destruction of israel.


Whilst I find the lack of common manners you mention in your post concerning swedes also annoying (it would be nice if people would lower themselves to thank you for holding a door open for them, for example) I think it's a bit of a stretch to compare them to the third reich for such. As for you claiming that swedes believe themselves to be superior to others, you could say the same of practically every other nation. But we all know which nation is better than all the others, don't we? That's right, mine ;)

as I've mentioned above, there are many people who have links to the nazi past - you should be careful the light you shine from your torch doesn't illuminate some uncomfortable truths. (It doesn't excuse them, by the way, just saying). I am with you on Sweden's role, or lack of it, in the war however. It's something I teach my children about, or at least the oldest one.
15:01 December 24, 2011 by guliver

During the holocaust there was a nation called Germany which decided that the Jews must be eliminated from the world,it had nothing to do if these Jews were religious ,atheist,converted to Christianity,they should have been eliminated because of their race.

The Israeli Palestinian conflict is about two different people who whish to realizze their national aspiration on the same land.That conflict exsist for the last 130 years.while on 29.11.47 the UN with resolution 181 decided on the partition of Palestine in 2 states:aJewish one and an arab Palestinian one ,the arabs rejected that decision for 64 years,attacking us in 1948,1967,1973 in order to eliminate us.

Between 1948 and 1967 the west bank was in Arabs hand,why have not they build the Palestinian state then? because the issue was not Palestinian state but eliminate Israel.

Now coming back to our days:do they accept our right to exsist ? listen to Haled Mashal:"we accept the 2 states solution just as temporary solution,the end of the proccess will be a Palestinian state between the sea and the river"Hania says the same,Abu Mazen says:"we accept Israel but they have to let 6 millions Palestinians to come back to Israel" so he is talking about demographic destruction of Israel,then we shell have 3 Palestinian states:Jordan where 95 percent of the population is Palestinian,Palestine where 100 percent of the population are Palestinian,and Israel which will transfer by that immigration to the third Palestinian land.


I do not think that the actual government do the right policy personly I believe these territories must be held as card for every true peace and yes true peace should include withdrown of settlments and army from the west bank.

As to these Rabbies I do not know them ,I do not agree with what they say or do they are dangerous to our democracy and the police must arrest them and bring them to trial,I personly think it was mistake to settle the occupied territories but as one who was a child in 67 war and still remember the bombs which were shot on my house exactly from that territories I support a complete controll of our army in these lands untill a 2 states solution can be reached.
16:10 December 24, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
See where this discussion started - a Nazi flag flip-flapping in Swedish air each Christmas Eve has now resulted in critiques of contemporary Israel. And not only that, whoever was sitting in The Local's control tower last night, he or she or the machine which decides which postings get through and which ones "contravene the guidelines" let Shard's last two paragraphs through (#30 23:47 December 23, 2011 by shard ) but not my right to reply with this my innocuous and politely worded reply to some of his extreme views:


The distortions in his last paragraphs have not been addressed - and so some people are allowed to get away with murder whilst he who would speak up is silenced in the name of this and that

"contravenes the guidelines"

So why bother? There are discussions being managed elsewhere, and it's not as if e.g. Persson and Schibbye's fate will be decided in this space.....
17:43 December 24, 2011 by swedejane
Well, Sweden was a Nazi sympathizer...if not a behind the scenes ally. Embrace it.
23:15 December 24, 2011 by Harry®
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

The war is over the Nazi's lost and forget the cultural cringe by Grinch's. The cartoon is also now History. No need to change a thing.
00:50 December 25, 2011 by SuperTulle
Oh lets by all means forget it ever happened and then deny it as hard as we can! That'd be the right thing to do right?

If we are going to remember the atrocities committed by the nazis, we need to be reminded sometimes.

Never forget.
09:40 December 25, 2011 by Lavaux

Remind me why the Nazis are classified as the "far right". To the best of my knowledge, the Nazis and today's left are distinguishable primarily by the former's exclusion of certain categories of people from the state's protection and largess. Otherwise, the totalitarian state's role as society's perfecter seems to be the central tenet of both the left and the Nazis.

As for Israel, I can't imagine how a lucid person could fault the Israelis for attempting to protect themselves from the Palestinian Arabs' persistent attempts to murder them. If the murders are justified, then so is vengeance. If the murders are unjustified, then reprisals short of murder are justified. Lefties have never been able to adequately explain why Arab barbarism is justifiable but Israeli barbarism in response is not. Maybe you can?
17:36 December 25, 2011 by Kimmage
It should be left alone. It is historically correct and besides are we to erase all the Nazi flags from the 'Indiana Jones' movies too?

We are making the Nazi flag a more powerful symbol to subversives if we use censorship. As we are telling them that it is still current and potent, instead of letting them know we have resigned such things to history.
18:11 December 25, 2011 by motti
Shard, you really are a bigot with your idiotic moronic and malicious accusations against Israel. It is all in your head, without facts. Why don't you comment about real murders perpetrated by moslems against Jews in Israe and abroad, against Christian minorities in Islamic lands and of course, today, there is substantial scope for truthful comments about moslems slaughtering other Moslems.

Your call. Let us see what you can answer. Let's try Egypt and Syria for starters.

I look forward to your reply
22:08 December 25, 2011 by Ninsu
To answer the question on WHY the flag is in there: I think that Tage Danielsson, being himself an adamant defender of human rights, anti-Nazi and a humanitarian, made a strong point of pointing out the rich upper class of Sweden at that time. The string of flags (a very typical christmas tree decoration at the time and well into the 80:s) is put around the neck of Karl-Bertil by one of the rich men he has robbed of their gifts, and his father later puts it on his car.

Thus I do not agree with the commentators who write here that "Sweden was pro Nazism" but I do agree that many of the industrial magnates made good profit by supporting the Reich, just as the world works today.
23:46 December 25, 2011 by shard
@ guliver

You raise interesting points in your summary of the palestine israel conflict, in particular the remark as to why a 'proper' palestinian state was not more firmly established in the years from 48~67. My personal opinion, and it is clearly only that, is that the region has been an external locus of discord that has served larger powers' needs for the last 60-odd years. The middle-eastern dictatorships, and military governments needed their peoples to hate an external enemy - the jews - and so allowed palestine/israel to the focus of that hatred.

Israel serves the same purpose for the americans now, who are happy to continue to support repressive regimes they can easily manipulate, rather than true democracies. If the peoples of the middle east continue to hate israel, they will not think to turn their anger and hatred inwards, or more towards the US, for instance. (the events of the last year in some arab countries has changed this a little, however for all the talk of an 'arab spring', what has really changed?)

And the problem with democracy, for instance, is what happens when the population vote for the 'wrong' people, as is the very big worry with egypt now?

Haled Mashal is a fool, as is anyone who denies Israel's right to exist alongside him. As for the quote for Abu Mazen, well, some reparations will be required. Surely this is no different than that post-WWII? Is a stolen home any more or less valuable than a stolen painting? But, if there ever were a solution, it would not be the state of israel that would pay one cent to the dispossessed palestinians, it will be the US and EU that will inevitably have to find the funds for that. Or maybe I'm just a cynic.


I empathise with you on the issue of the sometimes seemingly arbitrary 'contravening of guidelines' that seems to take place at the local. I thought the wording of your retort was not impolite, but I ran into the same problem as you in an earlier post - we both tried to post a youtube link, and for some reason, that is not allowed. I got round it by changing it to a bit.ly link, you might want to consider that for your arsenal on another occasion.

Another problem; after I wrote my reply to you, I realised I had not answered your question directly, so I wrote yet another post to pay you that courtesy. However, it seems one cannot post consecutive messages in a thread, and so it would not go through - another point to remember (say what you have to say in one post, and don't leave it for another, especially if one is posting in the wee hours, and may have to wait a few hours for someone else to post before getting the chance again).
23:49 December 25, 2011 by shard
sorry, had to create another id to get around a 3000 character rule...

@CH (cont)

By the by, I have no confusion about the blood libel, I *know* it is a libel (though interestingly I have been watching a short documentary series on jerusalem by the bbc recently, and it seems one of the kings Judah (Manasseh I think it was) of around 700 BCE and his priests took over control of Jerusalem and Judea from the israelites, and he turned back towards the polytheistic (canaanite?) origins of the pre-abrahamic israelites, and re-instigated the sacrifice of children. Could that be from where the lie came from? I noted as soon as soon as he died, the israelites stopped the abhorrent practice immediately as they were as much disgusted by it as we might be, and re-instituted Judaism.)

Your comment about getting "away with murder" is somewhat disingenious however, and you show the same willingness to forget or ignore historical fact that you accuse others of. My comments about Yitzak Shamir are not made up, he was a terrorist, recognised as such, and that he and his Lehi comrades attempted to form an alliance with the nazis is historical fact.

It is a point of philosophical debate as to which was in fact the lesser of the two perceived 'evils' - the nazis they were trying to ally with, to the british in control of palestine at the time. Nevertheless the attempt was made, and indeed they continued to fight the british during the war (unlike -I believe- menachem begin's group, who called a ceasefire for the duration).

with regard to the two rabbis I mentioned and you refuse to address perhaps due to its uncomfortable subject, again this is a point of *fact* and *truth*.

Should you not wish to believe the BBC's reporting of the events, or indeed the other global publications, feel free to go to the jerusalem post or haaretz. Since I'm feeling benevolent, I'll even provide you with the links. Now, do you deny the existence of these monsters? Do you decry the rabbis endorsement of the Torat Hamelekh (King's Torah)?



Back to the point in hand, I commend your honesty in your confession of never having noticed the little flag though. I spent a short while trying to identify all the other flags on the bunting, but gave up.

If you would still like my reply to your earlier question, please let me know, and I'll happily post it on your blog page. Or here, your choice.

I still await your opinions.
23:50 December 25, 2011 by shard

"never forget" is exactly right, and this thread/discussion has been useful to that end. I'm sure many casual readers (if the poor sods are still following this) will perhaps not be aware of some of the darker truths it has revealed about that part of history. I don't believe swedes and sweden should be allowed to forget their decision not to join the struggle, and that indeed there were nazi sympathisers and/or collaborators here, as there were in EVERY nation at that time. In my native country, we had them too, much to my shame, though I take solace in the fact that my grandfathers and uncles fought the nazis, along with the vast majority of our population. But we should not be allowed to forget the sympathisers were actually there.


oh dear, the followers of breivik have been out in force recently, haven't they?

"Remind me why the Nazis are classified as the "far right""

you sound almost like a nazi apologist! Shame on you, boy.

The next two sentences that start "To the best of my knowledge…" nicely sum up the extent of your knowledge, or lack of it.

As for your next paragraph, let's change it a little and see how it sounds:

"As for the Reich, I can't imagine how a lucid person could fault the Germans for attempting to protect themselves from the Jewish Resistance's persistent attempts to murder them. If the murders are justified, then so is vengeance. If the murders are unjustified, then reprisals short of murder are justified."

you're quite a nasty little right-wing bigot, aren't you? If you were a little more informed, you might even be dangerous.

"Lefties (ho, ho, ho) have never been able to adequately explain why Arab barbarism is justifiable but Israeli barbarism in response is not."

barbarism by anyone is not justifiable, dear boy.

It is interesting to note that many great influential 'lefties' have been jews, too.
23:51 December 25, 2011 by shard

oh lordy, another breivik disciple!

"Shard, you really are a bigot with your idiotic moronic and malicious accusations against Israel. It is all in your head, without facts."

no, no, dear boy, they are facts, please see the links above. Or, if you would actually like to educate yourself, there is this great resource called 'the internet' you could start with. And having found the evidence, what do *you* have to say about it? Or will you quietly let it sleep too?

"Why don't you comment about real murders perpetrated by moslems against Jews in Israe and abroad, against Christian minorities in Islamic lands and of course, today, there is substantial scope for truthful comments about moslems slaughtering other Moslems."

I will gladly oblige you with a comment. Any murder is abhorrent. And it doesn't matter to me whether this crazy person believes their imaginary friend in the sky told them to do it or thinks it's ok, or that person with a different imaginary friend in the sky told them to do it or thinks it's ok. All nutters. Or even an atheist with no imaginary friends in the sky. he/she is still a murderer.

"Your call. Let us see what you can answer. Let's try Egypt and Syria for starters."

I think I addressed this a little above. Dodgy political has-beens grasping or clinging on for power using any means they can.

If they can't rule by respect of the state, they rule by fear of it.

"I look forward to your reply"

no, I don't think you do, but well done for stringing a sentence together, however rascist the content.


Spot on. He could have been saying the same about many of the oligarchs in various countries pre 1939, and I believe you are bang on about the world today.


Well, it's been an interesting thread - I have had to watch the first episode of Jerusalem again to make sure I got the name of the king right, and I've spent some time at jpost and haaretz reading more about modern day israel. Isn't that what a point of discussion is all about, trying to educate oneself and see a different point of view, and maybe even an uncomfortable truth?

Hope you had a merry crimbo, and (are having) a happy hanukkah.

Except for you followers of breivik, you can kiss my shiny white hiney. On second thoughts, you probably like that sort of thing.
02:27 December 26, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg

How ingenious those interpolations were. They served their purpose: I got you continuously, not in drips & drops or bits & pieces.

I'm also impressed by the courtesy of your demeanour and what I see as your fairness in discussion, especially since we are not at war with each other or at war with any of the various truths.....

Even as Syria boils (check some of the MEMRI TV footage which is the kind of ammunition that "Motti" the pro-Israeli would like to let loose on you), I am politely reminded of the kind of exchanges recorded in this historic document, leading to that historic conclusion.


As the saying goes, "One man's terrorist is another man's liberation fighter."Just as when you mention Yitzhak Shamir, for me "the tiger,"although some of his Arab enemies would prefer to call him "the tiger terrier") you oddly remind me of Syria & Assad Senior's former Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara at the Madrid Conference in 1991 actually holding up a Shamir WANTED poster - Wanted for alleged terrorist activities towards the (as the Germans would say) " the Britishers" - raising the question that won't go away : Why did the Arabs not join forces with the Jews in terminating what they & Saddam Hussein would later on refer to as "British Imperialism" in that part of the world - the Holy Land ?

"Torat HaMelech" generated the reactions that you must have come across if you clicked on "The King's Torah" in my blog post to you. Killing is reprehensible in the Hebrew Faith - but killing can sometimes be a necessity in some situations of self defence.....or pre-emptive self defence - and true, Judaism says that should you have sure knowledge that a terrorist is on his/ her/ their way to translate your life unto the hereafter - you should annihilate him or her or them.

Yes, just for the record - and it could be useful as a model answer, I should appreciate your sensitive reply to my earlier question, "OK, so in the middle of the Merry Christmas a child asks mum & dad, "What flag is that?"
08:33 December 26, 2011 by guliver

As to the question why the Palestinians did not build the Palestinians state between 1948 and 1967 in the west bank and Gazza the answer is simple:they did not agree to the establishment of the Jewish state and tried to cancel it by military acts.

Do the super power have interests in the middle east? surely,for Ameica are important the next points:1.military bases for the 6 fleet,the protection of the oil producing lands{Quatar,Saudia,Bahrain,Quiat, ecc} ,the passage to the Indian ocean through the Suess canal ecc, if Israel ,Eygpt,the golf countries,Jordan ,Yemen are all supported by America because its interests-of course,

Do America has interests to create wars in the middle east? not at all they need stability in that region because of their interests in the oil fields,

Does Europe has the same energy needs as America? of course America and Europe are the international super power but together with China and Japan,

Do all these industrializzed countries need the oil-yes, otherwise they were not there,have you heard about massive American or European support to Africa?

Let's say America will leave the middle east ,are we waitting to vaacum phenomen?no why? because Russia is still interesting in the middle east,do not forget that Russia support Syria and Eygpt for 40 years.

So when we shell have a peace?it depend on the democratic evolution of the arab people in the middle east and that has to do with put away the extreme Islam and getting close to the western democracies, it is still unknown because in Eygpt the religious extermists prevale,in Lybia we still do not know what happen ,in Tunis it is encouraging ,in Marocco were done small steps,in Jordan the King controll the land with majority of Palestinians with his Beduinen troops,in Lebanon there is instability between the Christian and the moslems and now Hizzbala a pro Iran is the strong party there.

Yes shard the situation in the middle east is fragile because the countries around have not matured yet to a true democracy.
13:56 December 26, 2011 by motti
@shard, to call me a nazi is just what I expect from someone who is unable to really answer questions.

No, I do not accept the BBC reporting as factual. Even the mighty conservative party, ukip and others complain of their left wing socialist bias. as far as the news media is concerned. arab oil revenues pay for an awful lot of advertising and their reporters, face being killed, assaulted, deported and raped if they make truthful reports know and is against their governmental policy. Women reporters have been raped for just being women.

I am fully aware of Lehi and the Irgun. Shamir and Begin were at war with the British colonial pre Arab military and political presence. Neither went out to attack and slaughter Arabs indiscriminately. The defended their rights to be there and attacked British military targets, such as the King David Hotel, which was the HQ for the Military. Unlike the British bombing of the Palestine Post and the Jewish Agency which killed many of the Jewish target, the Irgun pphoned the French consulate , the Palestine Post and the British HQ advising the Brits to leave as the HQ was timed to be explode. The woman who phoned is named as Geula Cohen, whom I have met. Your own alleged experience appears to fall very short of real knowledge.

Note, I have not accused you of being a Nazi. If course, you may well be a left wing Socialist whose hatred of Israel matches that of theNazis hatred of the Jews.. And let's face it, there is no difference between the two.

I suggest that don't just look at the internet, too many morons post without real knowledge. Try reading real historical facts. By the way Cornelius and Guliver have answerd truthfully and with genuine feelings, that is something you might learn. Well done guyts, you might get through to these people one day. Oh yes, more churches in Nigeria being attacked by the peace locing Moslems.

Happy Hanukka and a merry Christmas
14:56 December 26, 2011 by ericksoneric
It is probably still too soon to be truly objective, perhaps in another generation.
01:00 December 27, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
"Betrayal always follows a successful revolution." (Robert Fisk)

In the West (don't know about the East) there is an overarching sense of optimism about the Arab Spring.

We've got to be realistic: Since Islam is the cultural ground of being in all the countries undergoing the political transformation called "the Arab Spring" it's unrealistic to expect that these countries including Tunisia which is the most Europeanised of the lot, will metamorphose into a Western type of democracy, overnight.

I was in Egypt for a couple of months, immediately after the Persian Gulf War till just before the Madrid Conference kicked off, kept the company of diverse Egyptians, Salafists, Islamists, theatre people, students, teachers, got the impression that nobody was anxious to repeat the1973 war which utterly ruined Egypt's economy; but emotionally Muslim or Copt, none of them is going to join the IDF, in fact an Egyptian psychiatrist, secular, Westernised, knew all about Franz Fanon etc, took me into his confidence when the discussion turned to Israel (inevitably) and foaming at the mouth he told me "Aki, I would like to eat Shamir's liver!" It's like it's in the blood - and " blood's thicker than mud"

That was in Alexandria and during the days of Pharaoh Humpty-Dumpty's police state. It was a lot worse in Cairo. More serious at Cairo University where Barack Obama kick-started the Arab Spring with his June 4 oration, the only exception being the American University in Cairo where I asked one of the ladies who was dolled up as if she was going to a Hollywood ball if they had done the noon prayer and she told me that they didn't pray at the American University and those who wanted to pray should go to the mosque - on the other side of the road...


Today, the Islamic parties have garnered 65% of the vote. Egypt may have it's own load of troubles crying for attention,but when they hear the name" Israel" they are all one, it's as if the Yahud is their main problem in life.....

We are hopeful that Islamic Democracy will be the basis of Freedom, respect for Human Rights, and fulfilling the needs of all the nations of the Arab Spring. But it's doubtful that the religion of Islam which in my opinion is the basis of their aggression, will go way any time soon.....

The situation is very serious:

08:12 December 27, 2011 by Rick Methven

"No, I do not accept the BBC reporting as factual. Even the mighty conservative party, ukip and others complain of their left wing socialist bias."

The BBC or any other media outlet that does NOT twist the facts to suit the wishes of the powerful usually right wing parties are always attacked for 'left wing' bias. Only the honest trustworthy reporting of the 'facts' by that paragon of virtue News International are acceptable. In your ideal world only the 'facts' acceptable to you are permitted to be published, which is exactly the same policy of the Third Reich. The support of censorship makes very strange bedfellows it seems!
12:22 December 27, 2011 by rise
@ ericksoneric

"It is probably still too soon to be truly objective, perhaps in another generation."

Enough said, and to further elaborate is pointless. ;)
14:52 December 27, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Rick Methven ,

Give us a break, please. Yes, there can be much virtue in BBC propaganda

Everybody knows that the BBC is the best there is and we wouldn't survive in the media jungle without her. Everybody also knows that the BBC is less than omniscient or able to be omnipresent.

In philosophy , in politics - as in religion too, there are problems about verification and meaning, to the extent that some people do not accept some of the propositions in the Gospels as being what you would call "factual" - which does not mean that they cannot go ahead and publish, even rubbish. (Didn't the Duke of Wellington famously say, " Publish and be damned!"?

It's not only the BBC that falls short of omniscience and omnipresence, and that why there's CAMERA "devoted to monitoring and challenging perceived anti-Israeli news coverage. Statement of purpose, reports, criticism, outreach, press releases, links etc"


Nor is it fair to equate such efforts with the odious policies of the Third Reich.

Criticism of the BBC and other media about what is sometimes seen as bias is commonplace and I could give you many examples and not only about Israel.

Type "BBC's biased reporting about Israel " in your Google search engine and you might just jump out of your skin when you see what turns up.

Here, I've done it for you:

19:48 December 27, 2011 by bira
Revisionist history is dangerous regardless if it is trying to hide and forget something that occurred or changing the truth about what occurred. The agenda of such revisionists is at best simply questioned, but forgetting your history is bound to make us repeat it at some point. Better to remember the unpleasing truths about our past so that we do not repeat those mistakes than to change or erase them and pretend it didn't happen.
01:17 December 28, 2011 by shard

apologies for the delay - have to spend a little time with the nippers after all.

Here's what I wrote the other day but couldn't post - before I figured out a workaround the following day for a different problem.

'I forgot to answer your question directly.

I would tell my child as you so melodramatically put it 'under the christmas tree' exactly as I do now, when we watch our favourite flying scene clips of 'the battle of britain' or 'the dambusters' - the boy loves planes, what can I say - that there was once this abominable group of people called 'the nasties' (he is four, give him a break, and me a break for wanting to drive home the qualities of this group without cluttering his little mind) who had to be stopped. And whilst fighting is never the course of action one would wish to pursue, sometimes we have to do it regardless.

I tell him that we fought them, and many of his british family died, not only to stop a menace from taking over europe and killing vast numbers of people, but also that we might live in freedom of thought, speech, and expression. And that he should be proud 'we' fought them, and to never forget that.

still interested on hearing your thoughts though'

Thank you for the link to the Al-Muraja'at series of letters. At first I groaned when I saw the long, but *long*, table of contents, and assumed you had given me a poisoned chalice with which to satisfy (drown?) my thirst, but after reading the first few missives I see your point, and have bookmarked it to come back to.

Thanks too for your gracious comments. We are indeed not at war with one another, and since wielding the keyboard does not a warrior make, it is just as well.

Your point is well made about one man's terrorist being another's freedom fighter, though I imagine we will never agree as to which camp shamir belongs. I can sympathise if not empathise with armed struggle against an occupying power no matter if that power is ones own nation, but there are ways and means. Military targets are justified, one might argue, and pitched battles certainly allowed, but the rolling of barrel bombs into crowded bus shelters, or the assassination of UN sanctioned peace brokers (to name but a couple of acts) falls firmly into the category of terrorism in my book, whether such actions took place in pre 1948 israel by the Stern gang, or in modern day israel by arabs.

01:22 December 28, 2011 by shard
I take your points on self defence, and they are natural to make, however justification of pre-emptive self-defence is at best dodgy. An innocent is an innocent, pure and simple. Once one starts to hypothesise on the innocent's potential as a future aggressor then I'm afraid the lid to the box has been opened. Taking the same premise, should then these promulgators of such books be exterminated on their premise that they pose a real risk to multiple lives in the future?

Their words justify, for example, the act of genocide, and are chillingly resonant of those used by Goebbels, that most evil twister of words and clouder of minds.

I echo your later points on being realistic about the results, short or long term, of the 'arab spring'. I think I raised the issue of people being careful what they wished for with regard to democracy, and egypt is indeed looking dodgy. That is not to say that islam and democracy are mutually exclusive as I do not need I'm sure to tell you of the examples of such unions in the world at present - and they are no better or worse than the majority of their christian, jewish or secular counterparts.

It took the bulk of the so-called christian west 1900 years to get to somewhere close to true democracy (are we really living in democracies? Perhaps a topic for another thread…) so on that basis the majority of islamic nations have 600 years before "we" can point the finger. Hope it doesn't take that long.

But a religiously oriented government is not a good thing. For all their faults, the founding fathers of the united states at least had it right when they tried to set in stone the separation of church and state, whilst allowing individuals freedom to follow their faith. At that time the 'leader' of my own nation was still revered as a quasi-deity, and indeed had -and still has- the audacious concept of god being at their command!

Sadly it seems that in the last half century the US is reverting to more and more closer linking of religion and the state. It's almost a pre-requisite that any candidate for office now proclaim louder than the rest how much a man or woman of god they are, and how much more so than the next person for sure. You'll have no doubt suspected by now my leanings in this regard, and I hold all such people firmly in suspicion. Would you be happy with a man or woman with absolute power at a state level firmly believing in and praying to the Soup Dragon, for instance?

So whilst I'm no supporter of a Jewish State, I have no problem with israel, a State of Jews. Jews, Christians, Muslim, Hindu, Jedi - it doesn't matter to me. Just as long as their beliefs aren't the driving force behind their decision-making that affects real life, and real people.

01:24 December 28, 2011 by shard
the camera link was interesting and I spent some time looking around there. there were some fine articles, and they should be naturally lauded for correction of factual inaccuracies. I haven't spent enough time there yet though to see how far "challenging perceived anti-Israeli news coverage" goes.

Does that mean they challenge all articles that not pro-israel, or the inaccurate ones which are anti? If it's the former, then I side with Rick and see that as an act of censorship, but if it's purely a cause for correcting misinformation, then surely that is a good thing for the truth.

On the other hand, they are not the only organisation at work, and even here at the lowly local, one can often see the organised presence of pro-israeli propaganda felt. That these people who clearly neither live in Sweden nor probably ever have, yet like to post on the Swedish local site to spout blatantly racist and bigoted comments seems not to give them pause for ironic thought. I often reflect on whether the poor souls who suffered at the hands of the third reich would really wanted to have had this done in their name.

I couldn't disagree with you more on this Eidelberg chap though, the man is the antithesis of the sort that should be forming governments or opinions of people. Indeed the fifth article bemoans democracy in israel and would have it replaced with religious fanatics.

The site in general is more than a little discomforting too. I'm reading another op-ed, this time a poisonous little piece about Christopher Hitchens' death. whilst I thought the guy was an arrogant and often impolite ego-maniac, he was not the anti-semite of the article. But again, perhaps a topic for another thread.


Whilst I agree with you on the thrust of your reply, I'm afraid I'm more cynical on a few of the points.

"Do America has interests to create wars in the middle east? not at all they need stability in that region because of their interests in the oil fields,"

It seems the americans have learned well from their british predecessors - it is not *stability* they require, but the *status quo*, and if that status quo comes about as a result of continued internecine conflict, then so be it. As mentioned above, one way to ensure a cessation of stability (in this example of being subservient to US 'requests') is to encourage democracy over a wide area. Is far more difficult to influence/buy off/bribe entire governments than it is to cut deals with a military dictator.

I concur with your comments about european needs and the inference about their influence too, as was shown by the french and italian deals swiftly cut with libya once that -now departed- lunatic was allowed back into the international fold.

But look out, european and american support in many african countries is being dwarfed by chinese money.

01:25 December 28, 2011 by shard
The US will not 'leave' the middle east, not and until the energy deposits there are no longer existent or required, and until cold-fusion becomes a reality, or the us is no longer able to maintain its hegemony. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

@Birra. Couldn't agree more. And back to the article that started this thread, I would rather run the risk of a few right wing nutters misusing the issue of the flag glimpsed in the cartoon, than have it cleansed from Sweden's history, so that these sorts of questions are not asked about its past.

By coincidence, I happened to be watching yesterday a 3 part series about james herriot, the vet, from the bbc. The last episode dealt with the rising support in the 1930's of Oswald Mosley the founder of the British Union of Fascists, and ardent supporter of hitler. The chump was an english peer, and like many of them, leaned very much in that direction. King Edward VIII and his later american wife Wallace Simpson were well known to be sympathetic to fascism before and during WWII. It could be argued that perhaps the privileged in society saw it as a potential to return to the dark ages of a few hundred years earlier and the reinstitution of an oligarchy instead of that nuisance 'democracy' and the upstart concept that the proletariat could actually have some say in what might be good for them.

it pleased me greatly to see this on prime-time tv - the british people should not be allowed to forget we weren't all listening to churchill's speeches and trying to bash the bosch back then, but that there were powerful dark forces at work on the home islands too, and echoes of that can be heard today.

@Motti. There are adults in the room. Do be a good boy, and hush.
01:44 December 28, 2011 by Thomas VH
@shard, who wrote:

It seems the americans have learned well from their british predecessors - it is not *stability* they require, but the *status quo*

You have that 100% backwards -- in the American mind, preservation of the status quo equals death. America is a driving force in change -- it is the key change agent in the world today.

America is widely condemned for being responsible for and giving birth to the much hated spread of "globalization", i.e., the unstoppable spread of American culture. The spread of American culture carries with it many core Western principles, like democracy, freedom of speech, human rights and more. That is a core principle of the American government and foreign policy, not preservation of the status quo.
02:32 December 28, 2011 by shard

whilst I would not disagree that in the minds of the american *people* that is the case, the real power behind the american policy does not hold that so.

History in central and south america alone tells us this is not the case, from american support of agents wishing to topple democratic socialist governments, to outright propping up of right wing and military dictatorships - even running institutions such as 'the school of the americas'.

The us skirts international law (and is not alone in this) with bland euphemisms such as extraordinary rendition, and collateral damage.

There are many fine aspects of american culture, but it ain't all kansas, dorothy.

As for democracy, freedom of speech and human rights, let's talk about occupy wall street, or gitmo, or a situation where in a two-horse race, such as the us elections, the chap with the fewer number of votes nationwide is still able to hold power. (It's not much better in my country either, by the way so don't hold it up to thee bright light of inspection.
05:05 December 28, 2011 by Adlivanken

If the custom back then was to have string of flags of nearby countries then the German flag had a swastika.

In hotels and train stations in Europe (I live in Manhattan) the custom for the workers is to have pins with flags to show what languages they speak. Back then, German speaking hotel clerks probably had swastika pins.
06:05 December 28, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Thanks Shard!

Since I lack the genius to do the 3000 penny opera in between continuations,

I'm afraid that I'll have to reply through my blog which does not tolerate restrictions or inhibitions
10:22 December 28, 2011 by Rick Methven

So the BBC reporting and that of other media outlets is only unbiased if it supports the official Israeli line?

Have you warned them that the big Mossad brother is watching them at camera.org.

I have read the BBC article on what has been happening in Beit Shemesh and it follows exactly the same story in Haaretz.

I often wonder about a country that has to go to such extreme lengths to attack and suppress any hint of criticism of its policy or actions
13:06 December 28, 2011 by guliver

Every thing which goes here to good or to bad you can read in the news papers, generaly all the papers bring the truth immediatly even if it is something bad for Israel,the same is to say about the internet sites,there are news paper like Haaretz in which the article and the opinion are close to the left wing of the map.

The Mossad is not busy with what happen in Israel but out side the country ,like CIA in America, The Shin Bet is the secret service who acts inside the country but if you are not citizen who spy against your country and bring secret information out you will not have a chance to meet them.

In Israel there are many problems and some small groups like religious or right extermists, generally young people who take the law in their hands and when caught by the police are charged and pay for what they have done,any way they are not the majority of the population who are good citizen and keep the law Jews and Arabs as well.

If you come to the Knesset you can visit its meeting and then you can hear many parties like the labor,Kadima,Meretz which members speak openly and attack Netanyhoo and it goes over all social,heath, Palestinian,Religious ,Iran.

then you can hear the arab members of the Balad Knesset who talk against the right for Israel to exsist?did you believe it? a member of the Parlamiant of Israel talks against the exsistence of his own country....but this is the democracy and now the right parties are in power ,there is also poverty in Israel and many social problems,but the election occure every 4 years and who does not satesfy us we know how to change him, it happened in the past and will also in the future.
21:58 December 28, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg

this is to you:


Mr. Methven

There is to much racist, malicious, anti-Semitic "criticism" out there. Such criticism has to be engaged.

Even as you allege that Israel goes to "extreme lengths to attack and suppress any hint of criticism of its policy or actions" - you are aware that there is freedom of thought, freedom of speech and a free press in Israel, aren't you?

Here are three historic examples which I'm sure would amuse you and most surely go down well with your favourite bottle of wine. It's from page 215 of Robert St. John's "Ben-Gurion":

"To a Jerusalem reporter who asked for an interview he sent this written reply:

"I do not give interviews to journalists (a) because I am a journalist myself and whatever I say to the public I do so in my own way, and ( b) the first reason is sufficient.

" Once an Israel paper printed an exposé of a cabinet member whom it accused of selling his apartment to he government at a profit. Ben-Gurion called it an " aesthetic error" and denounced the paper for " besmirching men in public office"

His favourite answer to an Israel reporter who asks him a question is:

" I write for the press myself" Then he quickly added , Not for financial reasons, but to be sure I am quoted correctly."
16:55 December 29, 2011 by motti
Shard, the BBC has been known for its anti Israel bias for many years now. One man who was taking legeal action against the BBC sadly passed away. His widow is now taking up the case and hopefully, will show just how biased this tax funded organisation is. The BBC carried out it's own investigation and surprise surprise found it acted within the confined of its expectations. I believe quite shortly, the BBC will have to succumb to a proper investigation.

How ridiculous to state I expect it to be pro Israel. I expect it as a state run organisation funeded by the tax payers as a n annual tax to be truthful, honest and ethical in all its reporting procedures. It clearly fails to do so, It is not just anti Israel, it's own comments regarding other countries that do not run a striictly left wing policy is always suspect. As has been shown above. There are many organisations on the web that show the truth. such as CAMERA, honest reporting, MEMRI etc. Before you criticise, why not view them and explain exactly where they are right wing biased.. If you can.
20:42 December 29, 2011 by guliver
"not *stability* they require, but the *status quo*, and if that status quo comes about as a result of continued internecine conflict, then so be it. ...."

Shard-Status Quvo is what goes here for 64 years ,it has a special name "cease fire" or no peace no war,but every 10 years this staus quvo breaks and we got a war, specialy against this status quo try Obama and the European leaders to move the parties to the peace proccess knowing this status quvo is not going to keep for a long time,ye Shad the wars in the middle east danger the American and Europeans interests the war damage the oil produce and make the oil prices high because the production drops.
20:46 December 29, 2011 by johan rebel
The amazing thing is that zillions of Swedes watch this boring cartoon year after year. Once should be more than enough. It is a typical 70s looney left cartoon intended to indoctrinate children. The swastika flag was consciously included to tar the affluent with the Nazi brush in the minds of small children.
00:05 December 30, 2011 by Thomas VH

You wrote:

whilst I would not disagree that in the minds of the american *people* that is the case, the real power behind the american policy does not hold that so.

Actually, I speak from personal experience -- it doesn't work that way. I used to work in the White House, so I know very well about the supposed "real power" behind American policy. The real power is the American people and in our electoral system based on the Constitution of the USA.

All power and position in American Government is temporary -- that's the key to the system. The rest of the world (Putin included) could learn from that. If those in power abuse their position, they are not reelected.

shared also wrote:

History in central and south america alone tells us this is not the case....

That argument is outdated from a time when the hemispheres were divided by a Cold War policy. South and Central America have undergone a dramatic democratic revolution since the end of the Cold War -- and much of that was encouraged by the USA.

shard wrote:

The us skirts international law (and is not alone in this) with bland euphemisms such as extraordinary rendition, and collateral damage.

I don't understand your point. Is this just an attempt to justify anti-Americanism? The so-called "Extraordinary Rendition" programs were, by their very definition, "EXTRAORDINARY". Nor do they represent normal in American policy. This is an extraordinary time, the country is at war.

shard also wrote:

There are many fine aspects of american culture, but it ain't all kansas, dorothy....

No, it is not all Kansas. But the fine aspects of American culture are not limited to Kansas either.

shard wrote:

As for democracy, freedom of speech and human rights, let's talk about occupy wall street, or gitmo, or a situation where in a two-horse race, such as the us elections, the chap with the fewer number of votes nationwide is still able to hold power....

You've just proven my point.

1. Occupy Wall Street is legal in America and a legitimate form of political expression. Many nations have copied America's example, including Sweden with "Occupy Stockholm"?

2. Gitmo -- yes, a Prisoner of War camp for important Al-Qaeda figures. Even Obama decided in the end to leave it open.

3. Regarding the "two horse" race, the New York Times and Washington Post, over a year later, finally concurred that George Bush was elected fairly. Look it up.

The US system works, when suspected wrongdoing is alleged it is publicly discussed and reviewed.
08:40 December 30, 2011 by Jeff Taube
If people are really concerned about seeing a Swastika in a Swedish film from the 70's perhaps they should examine Sweden's part in WWll which seems to me a sort of juggling act.

One thing I always find interesting about WWll are all the people and companies that made huge profits off the war such as De Beers, for example. In Sweden, one company grounded their empire by selling scrap metal to the Nazi war machine to be made into tanks and bullets. Today they own shipping lines, apartment buildings, etc., not to mention their mother company: Stena Metal.
11:47 December 30, 2011 by motti
Welcome Thomas, a voice of reasoned arguement. I doubt very much that what you posted will change shard's mind at all. Hate and ignorance go hand in hand.

Many Europeans and of course their Arab friends hate all that Israel and the USA stand for and can only look upon both countries with suspicion and make endless, nosensical malicious accusations which have no bearing whatsoever. Have you seen much condemnation of Syria, threeats of boycotts, demonstrations in Europe, Where is the Red Cross, Save the Children, Oxfam, the unions etc? No they prefer to concentrate on Israel and the USA.

I and others inform these people to start reading historical evidence and not revisionist history. Too many people today believe Hitler was good and edmire his policies, along with Mao, Stalin, Lenin etc.

Jeff, many Norwegians profiteered also from theNazis, Den norske Creditbank, Fred Olsen, Storebrand etc, as did many others including Ford USA prior to 1941.
13:40 December 30, 2011 by Tall swede
Stop this "sweden is a nazi country because they were neutral". Do you remember US support to soviet? They killed millions too. Do you remember finland being allied with germany? Do you remember Churchill considering joining hitler against stalin that they considered a bigger threat? Do you remember all those years with Uk begging US to join the war, but they didnt? Remember US didnt declare war on hitler, hitler declared war on US. You sat by for years doing nada. Remember your own concentration camps for people of japanese heritage?

And for not joining the war when germany was falling, that would be a breach of our neutrality too. And i bet you would complain IF sweden joined (boohoo, look at the blood thirsty swedes taking their chance to attack!), and then you would have to share the plunder...
21:41 January 2, 2012 by shard
@ Thomas

"Actually, I speak from personal experience..."

even if, and that's a very big IF, we take you at your word, and IF you were something more than a mail-boy or intern, you would know that the real power lies not in the white house. But don't take my word for it, listen to your former presidents leaving addresses. As an erstwhile white house insider *ahem* you'll not need me to remind you which.

As for claiming the real power is with the people, that's just plain naïve. Did the people wish to bail out the bankers? Did the people vote to send more young men to their deaths in Afghanistan? And for what?

Did the people choose to defy 2 of their country's own laws and sell arms to iran (the avowed enemy), and then funnel the proceeds to the murderous contra bandits? Simultaneously meeting with Saddam Hussein as well as funding the mujahideen and one Mr. Bin Laden?

I could go on and on, but I'm boring myself.

But you know about all these things don't you?

"That argument is outdated..."

second world war, korean war, vietnam war, cold war, gulf war 1&2 and now, best of all, that war that can never attain a ceasefire, the so-called war on terror. Are you really this naïve?

"Nor do they represent normal in American policy"

phew, that's ok. It's alright to skirt the geneva convention when you feel like it then, and summarily abduct and torture people, blurring the line between yourself and the enemy, as long as it isn't "normal American policy". And when does "normal American policy" resume?

"No, it is not all Kansas..."

are you even american? I can't believe you didn't get the cultural reference.

"Occupy Wall Street is legal in America..."

so why are dubious tactics being used to quell it? Insanitary? In new york? Hahaha, too funny.

"Gitmo -- yes, a Prisoner of War camp"

ah, didn't you read the e-mail? They aren't prisoners of war, you witless fool. They are 'battlefield detainees" a made-up term they use to attempt to justify the abrogating of the geneva convention, and the treatment and due process of prisoners of war.

"Regarding the "two horse" race..."

I did not say he was not elected according to the rules. Read what I wrote again. It was in English.

When I first read your post, I thought what nonsense this chap was in the whitehouse (unless you were pushing broom, of course). But now I wonder if you aren't the sort of gullible, witless, spoon-fed shill who would fit into that machine quite nicely. So which are you?

and by the way, regarding "anti-americanism",I have been to the US on many occasions, and have several long time (20+ years) close american friends. The people I have met there have been on the whole very nice, friendly types.

I have no need to "justify anti-americanism". Your governments do all that for me, should I actually want to entertain it. Many of your compatriots feel the same way too.

Happy new year!
20:30 January 3, 2012 by white_man
In the spirit of Christmas, Jews and Nazis should get along in peace and mutual respect.
04:03 July 17, 2012 by valswan
Not if your goal is to encourage people to 'Visit Sweden'
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

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Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

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The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

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