Starting in 2004, the Department for Zionist Activities of the World Zionist Organization has given the annual Herzl Awards to “outstanding young men and women in recognition of their exceptional efforts on behalf of Israel and the Zionist cause”. One of the prize-winners for 2006 is Swedish 26-y-o Ted Ekeroth, who was rewarded for his activities in Fidim, the Society for Israel and Democracy in the Middle East.
After giving the award to Ekeroth, the WZO realised that their net had caught a somewhat unusual breed of young political activist. Ekeroth turned out to be a core member of Sverigedemokraterna, a controversial political party on the brownish edge of the right wing. Sverigedemokraterna are nationalists and anti-immigration populists. Looking at the Fidim home page, it turns out that the organisation has a strong anti-Muslim bent. Unlike Muslims, Jews aren’t a problem for the Swedish anti-immigration crowd as few of them migrate here these days. Yet the WZO aren’t very enthusiastic about Ekeroth anymore.
Ekeroth himself made a pretty incisive comment on the whole affair. “Zionists are Jewish nationalists. As such they have to respect Swedish nationalism as well.” Indeed. The extreme right wing is equally charming regardless of creed and ethnicity.
Update 19 July: A blog run by a member of Sverigedemokraterna is gloating that this blog entry is helping to spread news causing “an embarassment to Anglo-Saxon Jewry”. You just couldn’t make this stuff up!
Update 24 July: Sverigedemokraterna’s district chairman for Stockholm, Johan Rinderheim, writes me to say that the gloating blog is in fact run by an ex-member of the party who left in 2003. He then goes on to say that as the party has never made anti-Israeli propaganda, he feels it does not deserve to be called “brownish”. Well, dear Johan, I suppose it’s heartening to see that there is one foreign nation that Sverigedemokraterna aren’t overtly hostile against. You’ve got something good going on there, worth further development!