Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sweden: Despite media reports, minister did not resign over Israel-Nazi comparison

Since last week, Minister of Housing Mehmet Kaplan has been in the center of a political storm after it was revealed that he has met with Turkish extremists.

On Sunday, the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper revealed that he has also compared Israel to Nazis in 2009.

The next day, Kaplan tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

Various news-sites reported that Kaplan resigned for 'criticizing Israel'.

For example, Reuter's headline: "Sweden’s housing minister resigns over Israel comments"

AFP's headline: "Swedish minister quits after comparing Israel to Nazi Germany"

Dutch site De Teleraaf headlined its article: "Criticism of Israel costs Swedish minister his position"

Similar headlines can be found on Jewish and Israeli sites as well.

Let's start with the fact that comparing Jews or Israel to Nazis is not 'criticizing Israel'.  It's a type of Holocaust denial.

It would be nice if antisemitic statements were cause for resignation in Sweden, but that wasn't the case here and it's extremely doubtful Kaplan would have had to resign if that was the only issue at hand.

In Monday's press conference, Löfven explained that Kaplan's actions in regards to "foreign religious and political organizations" made it untenable for him to continue in his position.

Löfven was obviously not referring to Kaplan's ties to extremist anti-Zionist organizations, as those were public knowledge long before he joined the cabinet.  He was referring to Kaplan's links to Turkish extremist organizations.

In fact, according to Swedish site Expressen, by the time Svenska Dagbladet published it's expose, Löfven had already spoken to Kaplan about the need for his resignation.

Kaplan's comments about Israel had nothing to do with his resignation.

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