“We cannot force Israel to do anything”: My talk with Swedish politician highlights EU complicity

– “I understand your frustration.” 

“I’m not frustrated,” I shot back. 

That’s how it went between me and Ann Linde, the international secretary of the Swedish Social Democratic party after almost each question I asked. 

It is very interesting that a “leftist” who offers “full support for Fatah” and who strongly believes that the EU must not boycott Israel, would “understand my frustration.”

In May, I had the honor of being admitted to participate in the Young Leaders Visitors Program (YLVP) in Sweden. YLVP is a forum held annually by the Swedish Institute wherein Arab youth from the Middle East and North Africa meet to work together on areas of social change in their respective countries.

On Wednesday, I and four other participants of a larger group of 27, had a meeting with leftist youth at the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League (SSU) in Stockholm.

It is important to note here that the collective position of these youth on the Palestinian issue differs dramatically from that of Ann Linde. Linde neither belongs to SSU nor represents it.

Three hours after insightful presentations by the youth, Linde walked into the room and began to describe the different relations the Socialist International (SI), the worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labour parties, has with the Middle East North Africa region. 

Solidarity with Palestinians or with Fatah?

As she went on, she stressed the fact that the SI “fully supports Fatah” because Fatah “fully supports” them. She also described the party’s involvement with the EU. The debate erupted exactly here.

“What you’re saying is very interesting; it seems to me that your party plays a huge role in the EU. I was wondering why the Palestinian people see no results on the ground despite the EU’s relentless support for the two-state solution. When will Israel be held accountable for its crimes?” I inquired. 

That’s when she answered, “I understand your frustration,” looking directly into my eyes and I insisted “I’m not frustrated.”

“The money that goes from the EU to Palestine is huge. Israel does not get any money” she said.  

“But the EU has just upgraded its trade relations with Israel. That too is money,” I replied. And off course the EU’s extensive economic, political and military ties and favorable treatment toward Israel are well-documented.

–“I understand your frustration”

– “I’m not frustrated.”

“No that is frustration. Palestinians would not have what they have without the money of the EU. Many projects in Palestine are funded by the EU,” Linde said.

Opposing or supporting boycott?

At this stage I was enjoying the discussion. Linde was kind enough to explicitly describe the condescending views the EU and its politicians have of the Palestinian cause. But the conversation did not stop here. 

“The money you give goes to the Palestinian Authority and its neoliberal policies. Just a week ago, Palestinians in the West Bank protested rising prices, the PA is bankrupt and lives on grants,” I commented. 

One here never sees the line between what I said and Linde’s totally irrelevant answer: “I went to Palestine. They [Israel] evacuate villages and destroy many EU projects.”

“The EU can do a lot to stop this and force Israel to accept the two-state solution,” I suggested.

“We cannot force Israel to do anything,” Linde replied.

“Why not? You can put pressure on Israel instead of upgrading trade relations. You can boycott Israel.”

Here I was expecting another “I understand your frustration” but it seems to me that she was too angry to remember the introductory line. 

“We don’t want to boycott Israel. Israel is a state that has the same rights as other states. No boycott Israel,” she said in quite an aggressive and confrontational tone but she retreated a moment later: “But we are considering a boycott of Israeli settlements.”

In a response to a follow up email, Linde amended her position:

We don’t want to boycott Israel. Israel is a state that has the same rights as other states. But they do not have the right to occupy. We are proposing labelling of products from settlements on occupied territories. This can lead to boycott of settlements products by consumers.

Say no to double standards

Some people tried to convince me that Linde’s personal views differ from those she uttered and that she said what she said because had to. I don’t accept this. A principled and courageous person does not have a double personality and stands up for justice and humanity regardless of the time and place in question. Ann Linde chose to exclude herself from this category.

Linde was also able recognize Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who described Qana massacre in 1996 as an “unfortunate mistake” as a “leftist” whose party deserves to be cooperated with. As if there is a difference between the policies of Netanyahu’s Likud and Barak’s Independence Party when it comes to the issue of Palestine and the Palestinian people.

My discussion with Ann Linde highlighted the double standards and hypocrisy of politicians who shamelessly claim to be peace supporters while offering excuses and apologies for the status quo.

However, it is always in the hands of the people to make the world a better place. 




Dear Rana,
If you are interested you are most welcome to join the Palestine Solidarity group in Stockholm on it's BDS-actions! We meet once a week to hand out flyers about BDS and inform people about the BDS-movement and consumer boycott of israeli goods!
We'll meet in LILJEHOLMEN, ouside the supermarket "Coop" at 17.15 on tuesday
see more here:https://www.facebook.com/event...
pics from last week: https://www.facebook.com/media...
Susanne Lundgren


Good job exposing the hypocricy. We have the same problem here In Denmark, they say they support the palestinians yet their actions or In-actions tell otherwise.


I have to agree with the others--you did a great job exposing EU hypocrisy and complicity with respect to the failed Zionist project! You are showing what the world is beginning to fathom about the EU, in particular.

But what more did we expect? Since WWII, the second global catastrophe of the 20th century, the EU has been a moral abyss of unimaginable proportions, a continent so dissolved morally and spiritually it has to masquerade around as something somehow still alive and kicking.

They love to "kick" others.

I don't know what Fatah or any other organization in the world would want or need from the EU Socialist Dinosaur League, a mere vestige of Western Europe's colonial past, a party that has the audacity to continue calling itself "socialist." French Pres. Hollande is the perfect example of the moral and intellectual collapse of Europe. After two world wars, costing nearly 100 million lives, what more should we expect of EU leaders?

But Ms. Linde was right, at least in spirit, when she claimed, "Palestinians would not have what they have without the money of the EU." The Palestinians, along with every soul in the Middle East, would not be where they are without the Western European push in 1948 to crown the West's "epic achievements" of the preceding decade (existential wars, official racism, military conquest, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc.) with the creation of a predator state on their doorsteps, just to keep watch on their behalf. Israel, they must have thought, comes as a "blessing."

That chapter is about to close, of course. I wonder where the EU and its lovely Socialists will be fifty years from now.


The fundamental question you have to ask yourself is: why should these politicians choose the side of Palestine and not of Israel?

The Zionists are doing massive public relation work. They have big advertising agencies working for them. They use their media resource to portray Palestinians as terrorists and Jews as innocent people who have unjustly suffered and who can get you very far of you side with them. They also use their lobbies to finance politicians. This is especially true in the US with lobbies like the Aipac and Jstreet. They also monitor the news and make sure that any journalists who is critical of Israel doesn't get another job.

On the other hand the P&R work on Palestinian side consists mainly of posting horrible pictures no one wants to see on sites like fb.

I tried to get in touch with a few Palestinians in order to plan some kind of a P&R operation that would be more appealing to Europeans. I got half an answer so far.

So, whose side should politicians choose, the one that get them elected or the one that will make them loose the next election? Don't expect them to be fare. Their moral is whatever get them the office and without an office they would be useless any way.

If you want politician to take the future of Palestine into account, there is a lot of work to be done, many people will have to work together on a coherent P&R strategy. Posting horrible picture on fc won't do the job!


Very interesting comment. Although there are interesting groups and tactics amongst supporters of Palestinian independence and human rights, the Palestinians have a tiny voice compared to the money and time invested in Israeli and Zionist lobbying, propaganda, professional advertising methods and simply the amount of dis- and misinformation spawned in the net, and much of the sympathy for their plight is dampened by the inevitable accusations of antisemitism. The Israel lobby is powerful and ruthless. I am also glad you mention jstreet in the same sentence as AIPAC, because although they are different, jStreet is all for Israel, as long as it doesn't damage the standing of Jews in America.
But exposure is coming and at present the "Breaking the Silence" exhibition and guided tours by Israeli ex-soldiers in Berlin at the Social Democrat headquarters is getting coverage from TV and some of the most important newspapers. German citizens are clearly very shocked. It is co-sponsored by MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishop's Organisation for Development Cooperation.
This is an example of bringing the truth to people in a very effective way. When Israelis speak, people listen. When Palestinians speak, people don't take their words seriously.


I'm afraid, the same. If you come to human rights in general, you wont't have any difficulty to find them cooperate, but, coming to Israel, double standards are common. How can Ms. Linde ignore that boycott can be a quite efficiant means to force "a state like any other" to behave like a state like any other? It was successful, in the case of Apartheid-South Africa! How can a social-democrat support the opressor, instead of fighting for freedom of the opressed? This dishonesty is disgusting and, finally will do nothing than to distroy their legitimicy in the eyes of their voters. Voters! They, I suppose, only can change them in order to change their collaboration with the
israeli opressor. She should think about this, Ms. Linde...and too may others...


Israel, regrettably for the millions of fine people who live there but who naturally believe the propaganda of their governments, is not a state like many others.
Firstly, it came into being after the creation of the UN Charter in 1945, the foundation of modern International Law. Pro-Israel propagandists will say that Israel is based on UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 1947. Read it and it is obvious that Israel resembles absolutely nothing in this Resolution. In summary, the International "Community" and in particular the Security Council did not enforce this Resolution, though fully aware that the Jewish Agency, a minority but better-armed and better-equipped religious-political group, wished to take over as much of Mandate Palestine as possible, expelling and/or subordinating the native Muslim and Christian population of centuries-long standing, still a majority at that time in spite of the massive immigration of Jews enabled by the UK as Mandatory Power after World War I.

Secondly, the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which it gave rise in November 1948 demand, repeat demand, for all our sakes that the wrong done to the Muslim and Christian population who were murdered, expelled, terrified into leaving or who fled out of fear of the hostilities is recognised and atoned for by everyone responsible for this wrong. Further, they and their descendants must be immediately reinstated in their homeland and have the right of naming their country (so far withheld from them), of taking their normal part in the political life of their country and in governing their country. This is not wishful thinking: it is a logically necessary condition for "Israel" to become anything like a democratic country. UDHR Articles 9,13,15 and 21 entail that no Israeli government and no decision or action of any Israeli government has been legitimate. By doing nothing to respect the UDHR Articles mentioned, the EU fails each and every one of us.


Sorry for an error of date. The UDHR was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly on December 10 1948, by Resolution 217 A (III), not in November of that year.


As a man who live in Israel, I support the Palestinian call for Boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS), it seem like the people whom you talk to trying to create a symmetry, and you can not promote human right will ask for symmetry.

i don't think is any place for a double standers.
It really simple, are you supporting human right, and against apartheid, or you are a Zionist, how also support racism apartheid and ethnic cleazing..