Thursday, April 27, 2006

The first thing that I read this morning was an item about the Swedish government deciding not to participate in a military exercise in Italy because Israel is one of the participants. If you read the feedback on Ynet you would almost believe that the Swedes are burning Jews at the stake or desecrating synagogues. When you read the article carefully you will see that the decision makes sense. The ( original? ) aim of the drill is to "prepare for future cooperation in international peacekeeping operations". Israel has not yet participated in such operations (*). Because Sweden has an official policy of neutrality it cannot take part in a military exercise that includes a country that has been at war with its neighbors ( and some other countries ) for almost 60 years. From their point of view it makes sense, and the fact that their pilots probably could learn a thing or two from what many consider the best air force in the world does not change that. While the Swedish government's decision certainly seems to be prompted ( also ) by criticism of Israeli policies, cries of anti-Semitism are obviously stupid, inappropriate, counterproductive but hardly unexpected. (*) There is a discussion about whether or not the country should send soldiers to take part in UN missions. Personally I think it should not do so, at least as long as 'the conflict' is going on: I would not want my son and daughter risk their lives in some conflict zone far away as long as we ourselves live in one of the main conflict zones and our soldiers risk their lives for our own security on a 24/7 basis.

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