January 15, 2016 is a day Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström likely won’t forget for a good long while. It was the day she came under attack by media in both Sweden and Israel.
I have written about Wallström several times previously (see here, here, and here), and for good reason: she is one of the few public officials on the world stage today with the courage to speak the truth about Israel.
In November Wallström infuriated “the only democracy in the Middle East” by suggesting that the plight of Palestinians could be helping to fuel the pestilential takfiri ideology currently wreaking havoc in the in the region, even going so far as to speculate that it might–perhaps–possibly–have even been a factor in the Paris terror attacks. Angry statements denouncing her were issued at the time by various Israeli officials.
Apparently unperturbed by this uproar, Wallström went on, a few weeks later in December, to declare that Israel may be carrying out what essentially amounts to extrajudicial executions of Palestinians, and in doing so she once again managed to ignite the choler of Israeli officialdom–with Tzipi Hotovely, of the Foreign Ministry, adding her own howls to the general chorus.
Wallström, in Hotovely’s view, was guilty of “defamation of Israel,” and her statements about the extrajudicial executions “are distancing Sweden from the ranks of enlightened nations.”
Then earlier this month Wallström set off another Zionist tempest by again invoking the extrajudicial executions, but this time, in remarks before the Swedish Parliament, accompanying her observations on the matter with a call for an international investigation.
“It is vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability,” said the courageous Ms. Wallström on January 12.
Three days later, on January 15, the media firestorm began, with media outlets in both Sweden and Israel airing allegations of Wallström’s involvement in public corruption. Most of the outlets seem to give the hat tip for the “scoop” to Aftonbladet, and you can go here and here to access two articles on the foreign minister it published on that day.
But curiously, Dagens Nyheter quickly jumped into the fray with stories of its own–three of them altogether–all published on January 15, with additional, followup stories published since.
Dagens Nyheter and Aftonbladet are two of the largest newspapers in Sweden. Aftonbladet is owned by the Schibsted Media Group, whose shareholders include almost a who’s-who of American financial firms, including J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Dagens Nyheter is owned by the Bonnier Group, a privately-held media conglomerate controlled by the Jewish Bonnier family of Sweden.
That both concerns would publish exposés on Wallström on the same day certainly raises eyebrows, but curiously the Jerusalem Post, almost as if on cue, came out with a story on the Swedish foreign minister as well–also on January 15.
Under the headline “Swedish FM Wallstrom, Israel’s pariah, reportedly linked to corruption scandal,” the Post’s story is basically a rehash of what the Swedish media were reporting the same day, yet the article describes Wallström as “public enemy no. 1 in Israel” and includes the information, given almost gleefully one might think, that she “appears to be entangled in a brewing corruption scandal at home.”
So what is the great crime Wallström is supposed to be guilty of? To put it succinctly: renting an apartment.
I know, I know, it sounds pretty heinous, but key to keep in mind is that there is a severe housing shortage in Stockholm. Some people have to wait in line, literally for years, just to rent an apartment, and there is widespread suspicion that public figures, both inside and outside of the government, have used their influence to “jump the queue.”
One owner of rental property in Stockholm is the labor union Kommunal, also referred to as “Municipal” in some of the reports, and the charges are that the union, in exchange for political favors, has rented out apartments at below-market value to members of the ruling Social Democratic party.
If true, it would be tantamount to bribery, and would also violate a law stating that landlords are to make their rental properties available to all citizens equally on a first come-first served basis. “Jumping the queue,” thus, constitutes a violation of the law.
One of the few Swedish media outlets that publishes in English is The Local. In an article on January 15, the website gives Wallström’s response to the charges:
“Yes, I rent an apartment from Kommunal and when we spoke about it I got confirmation from the highest level that they followed all the rules and procedures in assigning apartments, and that I was not going to jump ahead of anyone on the waiting list,” she said.
“They lied to me about this… I am angry and disappointed,” she added.
In an article published three days later, The Local reported that Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was standing behind his embattled foreign minister:
“I have been given information by Margot Wallström about how it happened and she has given it to media as well. I have no reason to believe anything other than that it is correct,” he said.
But one day later, The Local reported that an official “corruption probe” had been opened against Wallstrom:
Sweden’s national anti-corruption unit has announced it will launch a preliminary investigation following claims that the country’s foreign minister Margot Wallström was helped by a trade union to jump Stockholm’s queue for rent-controlled housing, while the city battles a record housing shortage.
On January 24, five days after Löfven’s comments, The Local reported on a new poll, commissioned by two Swedish media outlets, showing the Social Democratic party’s popularity plummeting to a “record low.”
In my last article on Wallström, published on January 13, the day after her remarks in the parliament, I wrote the following: “I don’t know how Walström’s comments are playing out with the Swedish public, but they certainly are winning her lots of admirers here in America.”
And I think that’s a true statement. In her comments on Israel, Wallström has demonstrated more courage in her little finger than all 535 members of Congress put together have shown in their entire bodies. That’s something Americans can’t help but admire. And this is the lady now under attack?–in an orchestrated campaign that began just three days after her call for an investigation of Israel?
We have to remember that whatever rental impropriety the Swedish foreign minster may have committed, whether deliberately or inadvertently, it probably pales in comparison to financial crimes or irregularities some of Schibsted Media Group’s stockholders are likely to have had a hand in–either in the hedge fund or subprime mortgage scandals or other shenanigans.
As for Wallström, regardless of any findings the “corruption probe” launched against her may come up with, I think she will emerge from all of this with her integrity intact and with many admirers still. And not just in America. Wallström, it seems, also has admirers in Israel, of all places–or at least one admirer at any rate.
“Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, one of the few ministers with a conscience left in the world, demanded that these killings be investigated,” wrote Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy on January 17. “There is no demand more moral and just than this. It should have come from our own justice minister.”
An investigation into the extrajudicial killings in Occupied Palestine should be pursued–absolutely, unequivocally and without any delay. Whether it ever will or not, is of course another question.
But a different yet somewhat related issue needs to be contemplated as well–by all concerned over the endless wars and the morass of depravity the West is sinking into at present–and that is the extent to which Zionist media outlets are willing to use character assassination as a weapon against public officials who openly criticize Israel.
Richard Edmondson is an author, novelist, poet, and journalist whose writings often focus on Middle East issues, the Zionist lobby, and religion. His latest novel is The Memoirs of Saint John: When the Sandstone Crumbles, a story about an archaeological team doing a dig in Syria and set amidst the current conflict in the country.
In 2014 Richard attended an International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Religious Extremism, held in Damascus. The book is part two in the Memoirs of Saint John series.
Two other books by Richard are Rising Up: Class Warfare in America from the Streets to the Airwaves, relating his experiences founding and operating an unlicensed or “pirate” FM radio station in San Francisco in the 1990s, as well as a volume of poetry entitled American Bus Stop: Essay and Poems on Hope and Homelessness.
Richard is cognizant of the words of the early Christian writer Tertullian, who in the second century-basically prognosticating the fall of the Roman Empire-wrote: “We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition.”
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