Archive for February 25, 2009

Left Party Leader Rejects Antisemitism — in Theory

Some time ago I wrote about how Lars Ohly, the leader of the Left Party in Sweden, claimed that an antisemitic blog was one of his favorites. Today Svenska Dagbladet publishes a short statement by Ohly, where he states that “antisemitism must be combated wherever it is found”.

He also points out that he has participated in memorial ceremonies on Kristallnacht and on Holocaust Memorial Day on several occasions.

Fair enough. 

But what about that particular blog? Why doesn’t Mr Ohly see it fit to comment on the matter at hand? If he hadn’t declared his support for this one particular blog in the first place, he wouldn’t have had to make this statement. He wants to sound categorical and clear, and he does reject antisemitism — in theory.

When it comes to an actual concrete example of anti-Jewish sentiments expressed by members of his party, he still chooses to avoid the issue.

UPDATE: In an interview in Expo (February 26 2009), Mr. Ohly clarifies that there is indeed antisemitic content on the blog in question, and that if he had known about it, he would never have listed it as one of his favorite blogs. He also says that Party representatives have spoken to the man behind the blog, and asked him to remove the antisemitic content. At the same time, Mr. Ohly doesn’t want to characterize the man responsible for the blog as an antisemite, and points out that most of the offensive content isn’t written by him.


February 25, 2009 at 15:25 2 comments

High Time for High Culture

Back from my long weekend in Paris, I notice that the opera tickets I ordered some time ago have arrived.

Maybe it’s because of the centennial celebrations, but the Tel Aviv Opera has a very strong season this year. I’ve already been to la Traviata in the park, and in April I plan to see Carmen. I’d also like to squeeze Aida, put on by the good people from la Scala in Milan, but we’ll see how much opera one man can take in a year.

On the envelope with the tickets, someone has deemed it fit to put a little image of a clock, together with the text: “Your time is important! At our opera house the performances begin on time”. This is probably a pertinent reminder, since Israelis are notoriously bad at keeping times. I don’t think I’ve attended a single social gathering, meeting or religious service that has begun on time in this country.

Needless to say, this can drive a Swede insane.

Before you start writing talkbacks about how Israelis really aren’t any worse than people in general (maybe Swedes excepted), let me just say to you: yes you are. And I can prove it.

A few years ago, I visited Budapest with a friend and we decided to take a guided tour of the parliament building. On the sign where the tour would begin, it said — in a number of languages — that the visitors should wait at that spot ten minutes before the tour was scheduled to start. The text was identical in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian. Only one language differed. There it said that visitors should wait at the spot 15 minutes before the scheduled start.

And what language was that? Hebrew, of course.

February 25, 2009 at 15:09 4 comments


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