Speech at the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast in Stockholm on the 5th of April in 2024.

JPB Björn Söder’s speech at the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast in Stockholm on the 5th of April in 2024.

Distinguished members of the Knesset,

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for the opportunity to be here today and participating in this important event to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the prosperity of Israel.

It is important that we stand united with Israel. Especially in these difficult times. The terror that struck Israel on October 7 last year was the worst massacre in one single day since the Holocaust. There should be no discussion whatsoever of Israel’s right to defend herself against the powers of evil. Unfortunately, around the world we have instead seen how the ugly face of Anti-Semitism has once again shown itself. So also, in the streets and squares in Sweden.

For many years, the Swedish government with the Social Democrats and the Green Party has pursued an unfair and deeply offensive policy towards Israel. A biased policy that repeatedly favoured the Palestinian side. Leading social democrats and green party members have repeatedly met with Palestinian representatives who are considered by several international bodies to be among the worst terrorists of our time with the blood of innocent Israelis on their conscience.

Last year a member of the parliament from the Social democrats participated in a conference connected with Hamas and he was for several months intensely defended by his own party leader. But when it got too stormy, he finally had to leave the party but still sits in parliament as an independent. We should also not forget how the same party leader participated actively in spreading fake news in social medias about the hospital “bombing” in Gaza where Israel falsely was accused.

The youth organisation of the Social democrats has during many years been revealed time to time having severe problems with anti-Semitism.  Quite recently, it was also revealed how the Left party here in Sweden used aid funds to finance Palestinian terrorist organizations. And for many years Sweden has funded Palestinian organisations which are closely connected to both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

But this unjust policy has also been pursued by some other right parties in Sweden. So we face lots of challenges. And we need to make changes.

For me, my personal engagement for Israel started for over 20 years ago when I raised the issue within my own party of having a clear stand for Israel. At that time the Sweden Democrats was a small party and we didn’t have any foreign policy so speak about. And there were people in the party that believed that we should focus on Sweden and the problems we were dealing with here rather than starting to have opinions about other countries.

I meant, on the contrary, in a serious party that had the ambition to enter the parliament, we would have to have opinions in foreign policy as well.

That the party should take a stand for Israel, I thought, was not only right based on the fact that Israel is the only democracy in its region, but it is also morally right to stand up for Israel.

And I’m proud that the party finally listened to my voice and started to formulating its foreign policy with a given support for Israel and since that we have been a strong voice for Israel in Swedish politics.

Unfortunately, it isn’t only some of the political parties here in Sweden which have an anti-Israel agenda. We can see how the Church of Sweden during years have been in the frontline of this aversion towards Israel.

Between 2005 and 2009 I was a member of the General Synod of the Church of Sweden. My first speech in the Synod was about the Church of Sweden’s involvement in the Middle East. The Church of Sweden has increasingly been taken over by left-wing forces that have a very one-sided view of the conflict, where Israel is constantly portrayed as the bad guys and the Palestinians as the eternally good ones. I could neither then nor now buy that picture. In addition, they engaged in pure historical revisionism when they do not reproduce the historical events in an accurate way or take into account the violence that is constantly directed at Israel.

It was kind of a bizarre situation, standing there and having these debates with the bishops of the Church. However, the Church of Sweden is unfortunately still held hostage by the left-wings.

In the parliament, we have had a clear position for Israel and when the Norwegian organization “With Israel for peace” did a survey two years ago about which Swedish party writes the most supportive Israel motions, it was the Sweden Democrats who had the most claims in support of Israel.

The Sweden Democrats’ aspiration is to contribute to the re-establishment of strong friendly relations between Sweden and Israel. Friendly and constructive relations between democracies should be a matter of course, not least in areas such as trade, politics, culture and science. Good relations between Sweden and Israel are a matter for both countries.

The outside world must respect Israel’s obvious right to self-defense and recognize that the vulnerability of the Jewish people is a factor that must never be diminished. Israel is surrounded by dictatorships and is constantly under attack by terrorist organizations that pose a permanent threat and whose stated goal is to wipe out Israel and its people.

Now today, our support for Israel is absolutely crucial and we need to ask ourselves every day what we can do more to support Israel. We are very clear and we have said that as a first step we immediately want to ensure that no Swedish aid in any way could be used against Israel. We also believe that Sweden should withdraw the recognition of Palestine as a state as soon as possible. This was a very big mistake when it was implemented by the former Social democratic government just over ten years ago.

But having said this, support for Israel needs to be long-term and we have made several proposals that involve support for Israel. It is about recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and moving the Swedish embassy there, and it is about developing cooperation regarding research, business and trade.

The Sweden Democrats will always stand up for Israel and we will continue and develop our support especially in this difficult time.

Let us all continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the prosperity of Israel.

God bless you!

Thank you!

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