My reaction to this article, which reports Foreign Ministry appeals to former Swedish kibbutz volunteers to spread the gospel about Israel: Pathetic. It’s a sorry state of affairs indeed when we have to call out of the woodwork Swedes who volunteered on kibbutzim 40 years ago and ask them to “talk us up”.
Not only is the idea laughable, but the rationale behind it is disgraceful. Whoever in the Foreign Ministry thought this one up is still living on We Invented Drip Irrigation Planet. What does this genius diplomat think? That Swedes don’t read newspapers? Watch the news? That Swedes (along with the rest of the world) wouldn’t be so critical of our policies if they could only hear about these benign income-sharing communities called kibbutzim? If I were a Swede, this cockamamie gimmick would insult my intelligence; I know it insults mine.
Underlying it is the head-in-the-sand premise that all we have to do is improve our PR, and we can keep right on brutally occupying the Palis. This line of thinking is right up there with China thinking it can pull the wool over everyone’s eyes human rights-wise by hosting the Olympics. I, for one, hold us to a higher standard than the Chinese, or the Saudis, or the dozens of other blatant violators of rights.
Instead of grabbing at straws like former kibbutz volunteers, we need to clean up our act, not only vis-à-vis the Palis, but internally. What Shahar Ilan wrote yesterday about the Knesset is downright chilling. This overt racism should be of immediate concern to all democracy-loving Israelis: Only we can save ourselves; no middle-aged Swedes can do it for us.