Swedish government magazine slammed for anti-Semitism

Pro-Israel NGO watchdog files official complaint over libelous accusations and anti-Semitic imagery.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

NGO Monitor sent an official complaint Monday to Sweden’s press ombudsman as well as the country’s foreign minister and ambassador to Israel over a series of articles in a government publication that included “virulently antisemitic imagery” and  “false and libelous information” about the organization. NGO Monitor reports on the activities and funding of local and international anti-Israel non-governmental organizations.

According to NGO Monitor, a non-partisan organization, the online magazine OmVärlden published 12 articles at once last week that made false accusations against it, including that its publications contain “lies and half-truths” and that it is “part of a comprehensive network of nationalist settlers, foreign nationalist groups and right[-wing] politicians,” in addition to implying that NGO Monitor was somehow involved in death threats against a lawyer in The Hague.

The watchdog also expressed alarm at OmVärlden‘s portrayal of the supposed links between the organization and various important Israeli and American personages such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Israel Hayom paper, US National Security Adviser John Bolton, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. The article referred to Jewish and Israeli individuals as
“spiders in the network.”

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NGO Monitor called OmVärlden‘s approach “reminiscent of dark anti-Semitic accusations” and conspiracy theories such as those promulgated by the anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

OmVärlden is owned by the branch of the government responsible for international development aid called SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), prompting NGO Monitor to demand an answer to whether government officials had anything to do with the articles.

It also called for the articles to be removed immediately and an apology issued by the magazine’s editor and authors. In addition, it said that “an open and independent investigation” should be instituted to determine “how this incident occurred, including examination of all documents related to the publication of these articles and the actors involved.”

In a statement on its website regarding the issue, NGO Monitor pointed out the timing of the articles’ appearance – nine days before Swedish elections and following a series of articles critical of Swedish aid.

Sweden’s government, it says, directly funds numerous Israeli, Palestinian, and international NGO’s involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as outsourcing aid to Swedish church groups and aid organizations, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year all together. Many of them are involved in anti-peace activities such as incitement, BDS and lawfare against the Jewish state.